Dubai: Lush green fields and clear azure skies as far as the eye can see mark the horizons of Moldova, a landlocked Eastern European country tucked between Ukraine and Romania. Scenic rural sights, however, only make up a part of the Moldovan journey at Expo 2020 Dubai. “The biggest treasure we have is our people,” said Victor Haruta, Moldovan Ambassador to the UAE and Commissioner General of Moldova Pavilion, in an interview with Gulf News.
Situated in the Mobility District, the pavilion works the national motif of ‘Tree of Life’ into its vision, representing the Moldovan branches of innovation, people, art, culture, history and much more.
Moldova: A people-centric nation
“People are the main value of our country. Thus, we set out to celebrate the ordinary people we meet every day on our streets, in our villages, people who love and are proud of their country, people of different generations, because they represent our history, our traditions and our present and future,” added Haruta.
People are the main value of our country. Thus, we set out to celebrate the ordinary people we meet every day on our streets, in our villages, people who love and are proud of their country, people of different generations, because they represent our history, our traditions and our present and future.
The Expo-built pavilion will weave the visitor experience in the form of storytelling, beginning with suspended panels dedicated to the ‘Tree of Life’ while the floor exhibition will tell the story of human potential and posterity, celebrating the people of Moldova.
Moldova fits right into the Expo’s overarching theme of ‘Connecting minds, creating the future’. According to Haruta, the key to a prosperous, peaceful and sustainable future lies with the generations to come.
What the Moldova Pavilion is all about
The single-storey pavilion is sectioned off into four thematic spaces, showcasing Moldovan sights, culinary delights, textile history and attractive investment opportunities to visitors. “We want visitors to discover the hidden beauty of Moldova, enjoy the hospitality of our people and open up to the opportunities of growing in Moldova,” said Haruta.
Here's what each section will showcase:
Discover: The introductory exhibit will display Moldovan places of interest, traditional clothing and folk musical instruments such as the pan flute and the four-stringed cobza. Haruta describes the country as a tourist destination with “an unusual diversity of landscape reservations or scenery and unique geological monuments of European and world value.”
Changing hands from the Romans, Ottomans to Russia then Romania, the Eastern European country is home to 140 cultural heritage sites including cave monasteries, mansions, peasant houses and remains of medieval fortresses.
The Moldovan journey at the world expo brings the lush fields to the visitor through a 360-degree immersive experience using the latest augmented reality (AR) technologies.
Taste: Under the theme of ‘Taste Moldova’, the country will elaborate on its diverse fruit and vegetable produce – the country boasts the largest grape orchard to land ratio in the world. Visitors will also learn of authentic Moldovan honey, fruit jams, Placinta – a flat traditional pastry filled with soft cheese or apples – and taste the fruits through a ‘teleport machine’.
Craft: The Moldovan pavilion will trace the modest beginnings of its textile industry through displays of archaic machinery to modern-day modes of manufacturing in the craft space. For a more hands-on, immersive experience, the pavilion offers craft workshops to visitors.
Invest: The last leg of the journey presents Moldova as the land of opportunities and growth in the sectors of agriculture, industry, automotive and electronics, infrastructure, information and communications technology (ICT) and textiles – ‘Invest in Moldova’ will convey the success stories of foreign investors.
Potential investors at the pavilion will have a direct line to the Investment Agency of Moldova under the Ministry of Economy and Infrastructure, a partner to the pavilion.
We want visitors to discover the hidden beauty of Moldova, enjoy the hospitality of our people and open up to the opportunities of growing in Moldova.
Travel the space with Nelu
Simpals Studio, a Chisinau-based animation firm, will feature Moldova’s first 3D animated film in an exhibition at the pavilion. Meaning ‘wings’ in Romanian, ‘Aripi’ is a story about Nelu the cosmonaut drifting through space in a capsule.
The exhibit will present a virtual reality (VR) version of the animation. “Visitors will be able to not only watch the 2D version, but also try it on a VR machine in the pavilion and see it the way it was intended,” added Haruta.
The award-winning short is directed by Dmitri Voloshin, securing the Best 3D Film award at the 2020 Khem Animation Film Festival in the USA and the Best Animated Film award at the 2020 Kiev International Film Festival.
Festivities, cultural events and business forums
Moldovan firms will receive a boost from sectoral business events operating within the industries of agri-food, textiles and fashion, IT, manufacturing, beauty and cosmetics. Further presentations marking Moldova’s cultural heritage will include performances by artists as well as food tasting events.
The highlight of the programme calendar is the Moldovan National Day, scheduled to be celebrated on March 3, 2022, at Expo 2020 Dubai, where each participating country is invited to promote itself for a day on a ‘national day’ platform. (Moldova’s actual day of independence falls on August 27.) Taking this opportunity, Moldova will spotlight folk dance performances, traditional cuisine, business forums and visits from official delegations.
A rewarding journey for Moldova
Due to the pandemic, delayed supplies of production units hindered preparations for the Moldovan team. Haruta underscored the support Moldova received from the organisers of Expo 2020 Dubai in resuming the workflow.
“It is important to mention the support we received from [the] organisational [team at] Expo 2020 Dubai. In these difficult times they were near us, supporting us and adapting schedules to meet our needs and requests. The safety protocols implemented by the Expo 2020 team and in general by the United Arab Emirates are highly efficient and are [delivering] extraordinary results, so we as a pavilion will keep applying these protocols to provide a safe way for visitors.”
The safety protocols implemented by the Expo 2020 team and in general by the United Arab Emirates are highly efficient and are [delivering] extraordinary results, so we, as a pavilion will keep applying these protocols to provide a safe way for visitors. Expo 2020 Dubai will contribute to achieving Moldova’s economic vision by supporting the growth of tourism, stimulating the development of innovative businesses and enhancing the country's international reputation as a location to do business.
Being the Ambassador of Moldova to the UAE and the Commissioner General of the Moldova Pavilion affords Haruta the unique capacity to shape the country’s participation in Dubai for a global audience.
“Expo 2020 Dubai will contribute to achieving Moldova’s economic vision by supporting the growth of tourism, stimulating the development of innovative businesses and enhancing the country's international reputation as a location to do business.”
In spite of its small land area, Haruta said that the country has many things to share with the whole world, making the upcoming world fair a “great opportunity” for Moldova.
- The writer is an intern with Gulf News.