An unrivalled place of inspiration and creativity

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Reem Al Hashimy, Darragh O’Brien, Najeeb Mohammed Al-Ali outside the Ireland Pavilion during the Ireland National Day celebrations at Expo 2020 Dubai.

Ireland marked its Expo 2020 Dubai National Day on Thursday (17 March), featuring cultural performances throughout the day as part of the country’s St Patrick’s Day celebrations.

Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister for International Cooperation and Director General, Expo 2020 Dubai, and Najeeb Mohammed Al-Ali, Executive Director, Expo 2020 Dubai Commissioner General Office, welcomed Darragh O’Brien, Ireland’s Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage.

Najeeb Mohammed Al-Ali said: “With a design inspired by the Newgrange Monument, the Ireland Pavilion delivers 5,000 years of Irish heritage, literature and know-how to Expo 2020 Dubai, and invites visitors to explore the country as an unrivalled place of inspiration and creativity.”

“The UAE is proud of our prospering relations with Ireland, and believe that Ireland has much to offer to us and to the world as a regional leader in SME (small- and medium-sized enterprises) innovation and knowledge diffusion, as well as a significant hub for technology and investment. We are confident that we will be able to build on our existing connections, and look forward to mutually beneficial collaborations between our two countries.”

O’Brien said: “It is a special honour for me to extend Ireland’s congratulations on your ‘Year of the 50th’, which draws to a close just as we in Ireland are preparing for the centenary of our state. We have admired the enormous strides forward which the UAE has achieved over that half century, with the emergence of Dubai as a major international hub offering connectivity on a truly global scale.

“Ireland has further developed our already great connections with Dubai and the United Arab Emirates. These have flourished both through exciting programmes at our pavilion and most importantly through great collaborations with our Expo partners, which helped to deliver such memorable events as Riverdance at Expo and the Expo World Choir.”

The speeches were followed by a culture performance that opened with Amhrán Mhuínse, a sean-nós song performed Síle Denvir who hails from Galway in the west of Ireland and plays the harp, Ireland’s national symbol, which is also inscribed on UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage. Cormac Begley was next on stage, performing a set of traditional tunes from south-west Kerry. To close, the Friel Sisters and Cathal Ó Curráin from Donegal performed a set of Irish traditional jigs and reels that featured Uilleann piping.

Throughout the rest of the day, celebrations will include a musical performance in Al Wasl, curated by the National Concert Hall and led by world-renowned fiddler Martin Hayes. This will be preceded by a march led by Irish Defence Forces Pipers, and site-wide events including storytelling, sports activities and a Guinness World Record attempt for the most nationalities taking part in a fitness class.

Located in Jubilee, the Ireland Pavilion shows the country as a place full of inspiration, ingenuity, imagination and innovation. The country’s long, deeply rooted heritage flows through the pavilion, and can be followed in the 360-degree projected exhibition of Ireland’s story.

National and Honour Days at Expo 2020 Dubai are moments to celebrate each of Expo’s 200-plus International Participants, shining a light on their culture and achievements and showcasing their pavilions and programming.

Ireland’s Expo 2020 national day falls on St Patrick’s day, first organised by Irish activists to promote the Irish language and the cultural identity of the Irish people. St Patrick’s Day has been an occasion for sharing the country’s rich culture with the world ever since.

Running until March 31, 2022, Expo 2020 invites visitors from across the planet to join the making of a new world in a six-month celebration of human creativity, innovation, progress and culture.

Water Week to spotlight conservation: Water will underpin Expo 2020 Dubai’s final Theme Week, uniting public and private sector change-makers from March 20-26 to explore how to better preserve and protect a finite, precious and threatened natural resource that sustains all life on Earth.

Covering more than two-thirds of the planet’s surface, water is an essential developmental pillar, its conservation critical to building a safe, clean and healthy future for people and planet, as enshrined in the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Today, one in four people (two billion) worldwide also lack safe drinking water, half (3.6 billion) lack safe sanitation and 2.3 billion go without basic handwashing facilities at home.

With this in mind, Water Week – a collaboration between Expo 2020 Dubai; the UAE Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure; and the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment – will comprise a series of purposeful and action-orientated events to explore water in all its facets, including the global community’s collective responsibility to better manage and preserve it in the face of climate change, plastic pollution, over-fishing, and other threats.

Expert discussions include the Water Business Forum at Dubai Exhibition Centre (DEC) and flagship event at the Nexus for People and Planet in Expo 2020 Dubai’s Opportunity District. Both will take place on World Water Day (22 March), an annual celebration highlighting the importance of fresh water and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.

Speakers across the Week will also include Suhail Bin Muhammad Faraj Faris Al Mazrouei, UAE Minister of Energy and Infrastructure; Mariam Bint Mohammed Almheiri, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment; Erki Savisaar, Minister of the Environment, Estonia; Dr Zaini Ujang, Secretary General, Ministry of Environment and Water, Malaysia; and Rajendra Singh, environmentalist, water conservationist and Chairman of Tarun Bharat Sangh.

Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director General, Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “Water is a prerequisite for all life on earth, but we simply do not value it enough. Access to safe drinking water, sanitation and the effective management of our planet’s oceans and freshwater resources is a matter of justice, fairness and equity. By exploring the role of water and how to better value and preserve it for future generations, Water Week honours this essential resource that underpins all our efforts to address the opportunities and most critical challenges facing both people and planet.”

Suhail Bin Muhammad Faraj Faris Al Mazrouei said: “The issue of preserving and sustaining water resources, in conjunction with population increase and keeping pace with the development witnessed by the world, represents a great challenge that requires upholding the principles of international cooperation and concerted efforts to confront challenges in the field of water, with the scarcity of water resources one of the biggest challenges facing our Arab region. The UAE Government firmly believes that Water Security is a prerequisite for sustainable development efforts and a stimulus for the country’s efforts towards achieving its aspirations for the next fifty years.”

Mariam Bint Mohammed Almheiri said: “We say water is life because water is indeed the base of all life forms on planet Earth. As we move towards a global population of 10 billion in 2050, current ecosystems face immense pressure to meet the growing demand for this life-sustaining resource without putting further strain on our environment. In line with the UAE Water Security Strategy 2036, the UAE Government follows an integrated approach to address water scarcity at home and abroad. Expo’s Water Week fits perfectly into our efforts, as it will raise public awareness of water conservation and spur the conversation among stakeholders to drive sustainable water management.”

Water-focused projects supported under Expo Live, Expo 2020 Dubai’s global innovation and partnership programme, and the Global Best Practice Programme – spotlighting tangible solutions to the SDGs for greater global impact – will also feature across Water Week.

From a Pakistan-based project helping water-stressed rural communities barter livestock for solar energy, to the world’s largest fog-collection installation in Morocco and a foot-operated hand wash solution to stop the spread of COVID-19, these Expo 2020 Dubai-backed projects are transforming lives in the communities they operate.

Full details and timings for Water Week, including ways to tune into events remotely via Virtual Expo, are available here.

Water Week is the last of 10 Theme Weeks that have taken place throughout the six months of Expo 2020 Dubai, forming part of the Programme for People and Planet.

Since Oct.1, 2021, the Programme has provided a platform for leaders and change makers – from government, private sector and civil society around the world – to exchange new and inspiring perspectives. In doing so, it has generated meaningful conversations and collaborations that will positively impact lives long after Expo 2020 Dubai closes its doors on March 31, 2022.

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