UK’s Prince William to grace Expo 2020 Dubai

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Staff Reporter, Gulf Today

Queen Elizabeth’s grandson Prince William will visit the UAE in February, with a programme that coincides with the country’s 50th anniversary and the UK National Day being held at Expo 2020 Dubai on Feb.10.

The visit is at the request of the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, and will be part of Prince William’s first official visit to the UAE.

The National Day at Expo will see the UK showcase the extraordinary talent from across the country. Prince William will join these celebrations, which will also feature the Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay, launched by Her Majesty from Buckingham Palace in October 2021, as it parades through the Expo site to visit Commonwealth National Pavilions.

The bond between the UK and the UAE is deep and strong, and Prince William’s visit will highlight and build upon these links, as he has the opportunity to engage with young Emiratis, leaders from government and committed conservationists.

Prince William attaches a particular importance to the natural world, a passion that was shared by the UAE’s founding father, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

During the visit, Prince William will learn more about initiatives that provide protected areas for the unique flora and fauna of the region, and take the opportunity to highlight two Royal Foundation programmes: United for Wildlife and The Earthshot Prize.

United for Wildlife, established by Prince William in 2014, has been working in the region to help facilitate efforts to counter the trade in illegal wildlife, which poses an existential threat to the world’s most iconic species. Countries all over the world, including the UAE, are making a collective effort to tackle this USD 150 billion criminal enterprise, and during his, Prince William visit will learn more about public-private partnerships in the UAE helping to achieve this.

The visit also provides an opportunity to showcase The Earthshot Prize on the world stage at Expo 2020 Dubai.

Expo 2020, along with DP World, its Global Trade Partner, is a Global Alliance Founding Partner of The Earthshot Prize – the huge global environment initiative founded by the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and established by Prince William. Highlighting some of the remarkable innovators from the inaugural 2021 Earthshot Prize will help accelerate and scale their incredible solutions to repair the planet.

Meanwhile, to celebrate the Australian Pavilion’s success on its Expo 2020 Dubai National Day of 29 January 2022, an entertaining program of music, sport and culinary events is lined up for guests and visitors.  

Repeatedly cited in the media as a ‘must see’ pavilion, the most visited pavilion virtually and among Expo’s biggest visitor attractions, the Australian Pavilion will reinforce its achievements by offering an engaging and interactive national day program. The breadth of the nation’s stories, talent and innovation will be on display as it welcomes the world with an exceptional showcase of its unmatched culture and capabilities.

Having hosted over 87 events, hundreds of international business and government delegations, more than 45,000 students, and with more than 60 Australian speakers having participated in Expo events in the first half, the Australian Pavilion ranks among the most successful at Expo 2020 Dubai.

Speaking on Australia’s participation in Expo, Justin McGowan, Australian Commissioner General for Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “This has been an incredibly successful platform for us to demonstrate the wealth of innovation and talent Australia boasts in abundance. With the breadth of talent and choice of events leading up to and on 29 January, we look forward to presenting our many strong qualities again.”  

On Jan.29, 2022, celebrations will highlight the importance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts, culture, linguistics, and diversity. An Indigenous ‘Smoking Ceremony’ will be held in the Dubai desert to promote the protection and well-being of visitors, Baker Boy, Australia’s hottest Indigenous Australian rapper, dancer, and actor will lead a cultural performance in Al Wasl and at the Australian Pavilion. A massive official flag, flown specially from Australia’s Parliament House, will be raised at the Al Wasl stage to officially open festivities.

The Australian Pavilion will feature the best of Australian produce through a dedicated National Day menu. Roo’d, giant kangaroos on amazing bouncing stilts, and pavilion mascots Wattle and Jali, will interact with visitors.  

Over at Aussie Park, Australian Football League (AFL) workshops will be held on the sports field with high-profile AFL star Bachar Houli as well as backyard cricket matches and Aussie family fun games. An Aussie Park barbecue will dish up traditional Aussie ‘tucker’ throughout the day.  

As evening falls, the Al Wasl dome will alight with the spectacular 7-minute projection from the Australian Pavilion Star Dreaming gallery, the centrepiece of its visitor experience. Celebrations will continue into the evening at the pavilion’s forecourt with an exciting line-up of music, dance and entertainment, including multi-award-winning husband and wife country music duo O’Shea, one of Australia’s most exciting musical exports and Australia’s Got Talent superstar Mitch Tambo, who has topped charts around the world with his debut album.

Australian Pavilion Director, Peter Sams, said: “We are constantly developing new ways to improve the visitor experience, so everyone leaves with memories of the Australian Pavilion being at the forefront of Expo 2020 Dubai.”

Speaking about the wider impact of the Australian Pavilion’s program, Mounir Sankary, Australian Deputy Commissioner General for Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “Expo is a chance for Australia to demonstrate industry and trade expertise, particularly through the World Majlis events.

‘Australia’s trade and investment activities have leveraged Expo as a platform to connect Australian industry with international commercial delegations. The event has highlighted Australia’s capabilities across priority sectors such as education, mining and resources, food and agribusiness, advanced manufacturing including space and defence, infrastructure and digital technology among others.”

Discussing the Australian Pavilion’s extensive program, Clare Cooney, Australian Deputy Commissioner for Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “We have been working to plan events throughout Expo that support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The program reflects an Australian culture of creative thinking and commitment to driving innovation for a better, fairer world, which we are proud, as a nation, to demonstrate at every touchpoint of Expo.”

“We look forward to welcoming everyone to join us in celebration, as see this as an opportunity to strengthen connections with other nations and key business, government and consumer audiences at Expo 2020 Dubai and share the best of what Australia has to offer,” concluded McGowan.

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