Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum at the Switzerland Pavilion in Expo 2020 Dubai. He also met Guy Parmelin, the President of the Swiss Confederation. Image Credit: WAM

Dubai: Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, today visited the Switzerland Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai and met Guy Parmelin, the President of the Swiss Confederation.

Switzerland also celebrated its National Day today at Expo 2020 Dubai with a series of cultural activities, in the presence of the president of the Swiss Confederation, and Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence and Commissioner-General of Expo 2020 Dubai.

Shaping the future

Speaking during the tour, Sheikh Maktoum said Expo 2020 Dubai offers the 192 participating countries an opportunity to present their innovation, creativity and ideas for shaping the future. At the same time, Expo 2020 Dubai is an opportunity for the countries to showcase their traditions and culture.

Sheikh Maktoum said the presence of more than 200 nationalities living in harmony in Dubai reflects the key role that coexistence, collaboration and innovation play in enhancing prosperity.

During his visit, Sheikh Maktoum was introduced to the Switzerland Pavilion’s curated visual journey that informs visitors about the nation’s history, culture, ecology, natural beauty, innovation, cuisine and arts. Under the theme ‘Reflections’, the pavilion features iconic cubic architecture, a giant interactive mirrored facade and a ‘Swiss crystal cave’. Based on the concept of a journey, visitors can experience surprising facets of Switzerland by walking through the Pavilion.

Enjoy magnificent landscapes

Visitors can go on a hike on a magic carpet to feel the thrill of excitement as Switzerland’s breathtaking nature comes into view. Visitors can also enjoy magnificent landscapes and discover opportunities offered by the country, in addition to tasting Swiss chocolate specialities.

The president of the Swiss Confederation visited the Swiss, UAE and Leadership Pavilions and had bilateral meetings with UAE representatives, including Abdulla Bin Touq Al Marri, UAE Minister of Economy. The presidential visit ended with a meeting with the pavilion’s partners.

Array of dignitaries

Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashemy, Minister of State for International Cooperation, and Director-General of Expo 2020 Bureau, along with Najeeb Mohammed Al Ali; Executive Directors of the Commissioner-General’s Office of Expo 2020 Dubai, Marwan Obaid Al Muhairy, Sarah Mohammed Falaknaz and Mira Sultan Al Suwaidi, Federal National Council members, and Abdulla bin Shaheen, Senior Vice-President, Commissioner-General’s Office, also attended the Swiss National day celebrations.

Sheikh Nahyan welcomed the Swiss delegation to the flag-raising ceremony at Al Wasl Plaza’s Stage of Nations and praised the strong relations between the UAE and Switzerland.

Switzerland celebrated its National Day at Expo 2020 Dubai today. Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan welcomed the Swiss delegation to the flag-raising ceremony at Al Wasl Plaza’s Stage of Nations and praised the strong relations between the UAE and Switzerland. Image Credit: WAM

‘A major feat’

During his speech, the Swiss president said: “On the National Day of Switzerland at Expo 2020 Dubai, we stand together in Al Wasl Plaza, the heart of this impressive site, to honour and celebrate the first world exhibition in the Middle East and North Africa. Pulling off such a major event, which gathers people from all over the world, and lasts for six months, would be a major feat at any moment in time. But, doing so in a period of uncertainty, such as the last 18 months, is an incredible accomplishment. I wholeheartedly congratulate the UAE for making Expo 2020 Dubai a reality and thank the organisers for their sustained cooperation and kind support.”

‘First country to confirm its participation’

Sheikh Nahyan said: “It pleases me to mention that Switzerland was the first country to confirm its participation at Expo 2020 Dubai, back in April 2016, and the first to reveal its pavilion to the world. With a long history of participation, it is no surprise that Switzerland has won several awards for its pavilion’s architecture, exhibits and theme interpretation.”

He added: “The UAE’s relations with Switzerland date back to the early 1970s, during the time of the UAE’s late founder, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Since then, our relations have flourished with cooperation across various fields. With an actively engaged Swiss Business Hub, the UAE is home to around 200 Swiss companies and Switzerland continues to be one of the most important trading partners of the UAE.”

Innovative projects

The line-up of events featured Swiss artist Saype who unveiled his project ‘Beyond Walls’ at Al Forsan Park, a gigantic piece of land art, and the ‘Cirque au Sommet’ an exclusive performance at Al Wasl Plaza and the Swiss Pavilion.

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Visitors can enjoy a slice of the traditional Switzerland known for its magical landscapes and mountains through the exceptional ‘Sea of Fog’ experience before discovering its innovative projects and global achievements in technology, education, sustainability, etc.

In collaboration with Swissnex and in line with the Expo 2020 Dubai’s thematic weeks, the Swiss pavilion is organising until March 2022 a series of talks, conferences, workshops and exhibitions around topics such as Urban and Rural Development, Tolerance and Inclusivity, Technology, Health and Wellness, among others.

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