The European Union, as official participant at EXPO 2020 Dubai, celebrated its official Honour Day at EXPO2020 on 23 October 2021.
The full-day programme was packed with EU-dedicated events, workshops and performances, celebrating European unity, diversity, and solidarity. EU Honour Day kicked off at the Slovenian Pavilion, in the presence of HE Margaritis Schinas, Vice President of the Commission and continued in various locations around the EXPO site, as well as in the pavilions of the 27 EU Member States. During the entire day, the EXPO 2020 visitors were invited to take a trip around the EU and discover the diversity of the EU in the 27 pavilions of the EU Member States.
Organised jointly by various European Institutions and the EU Member States, the EU Honour Day highlighted the EU’s cultural diplomacy efforts, which not only reflects the EU’s diversity and harmony but also highlights EU policies and the importance of multilateralism and global sustainable partnerships.
The official ceremony of the EU Honour Day was inaugurated by HE Margaritis Schinas, Vice President of the Commission for Promoting our European Way of Life at Al Wasl Plaza, in the presence of HE Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director General, Expo 2020 Dubai; Najeeb Mohammed Al-Ali, Executive Director, Commissioner General Office of Expo 2020 Dubai, as well as HE Andrea Matteo Fontana, EU Ambassador to the UAE and Commissioner-General of the European Union at Expo 2020 and a number of Ambassadors and Commissioner-Generals of the EU Member States and Emirati officials.
VP Schinas stated in his speech during the official ceremony: “Today in Dubai EXPO, we are honouring the European Union, which I have the privilege to represent on this special occasion. This day is the ideal context to celebrate the friendship between the United Arab Emirates and the European Union, and reaffirming our commitment on the values that unite us.”
VP Schinas also participated in the fifth EU-GCC Business Forum, which was designed for EU and GCC governments and private sector actors to familiarise themselves with the EU and GCC’s post-Covid-19 economic recovery policies, and to identify business and trade opportunities both for European and GCC private operators in the post pandemic recovery period.
As the highlight and grand finale of EU Honour Day, the EU organised at the Dubai Millennium Amphitheatre the EU Honour Day Gala. This gala included performances that combined music, dance and technology, highlighting European unity, solidarity, multilingualism and cultural diversity. Participating artists embodied different cultures, languages and arts, including music and dance school students, reflecting the EU’s focus on empowering youth.
Several other notable events and highlights of the day included: The opening of a joint exhibition between the EU and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) titled ‘A Partnership of Respect’, through the eyes of journalist and photographer Elisabetta Lattanzio Illy, UNIDO Goodwill Ambassador.
The ‘Opera Corner’ displayed the best of European Opera at various locations and timings throughout the EXPO site, and a ‘Musical Aperitif’ was organised at the Belgian pavilion with Floris and the Flames. A panel discussion titled ‘Global Harmonies’ discussed music, arts, and solidarity at the Terra Auditorium. The Portuguese pavilion organised a musical appetizer with Luisa Amaro, the Bulgarian pavilion organised a ‘Musical Intermezzo with the Wladigeroff Brothers, whereas Lithuanian pavilion held an ‘Electronic Opera Fantasy’ by the Vilnius City Opera, the Czech pavilion held a ‘Chamber Musical High Tea’, and the Romanian pavilion hosted a live classical music session titled “United through classical music’.
The Swedish pavilion hosted a discussion titled: ‘Space Technologies for Anticipatory Humanitarian Action, Moving from climate crisis response to risk management’, whereas the Luxembourg pavilion organised a ‘Luxembourg and the EU’ exhibition.
The Spanish pavilion organised an interactive and dynamic workshop with men residing in the UAE on “Men in Feminism and co-responsibility titled ‘Men in Feminism’, the Slovenian pavilion organised an ‘EU Ginger Cookie’ Masterclass, meanwhile the French pavilion held a joint exhibition with the EU and United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) titled ‘Space for our Planet’. The Polish pavilion organised ‘Sounds and flavours’, which introduced visitors to Polish and European music and food. Outside of Expo, the EU’s ‘More than Food’ campaign organised food tasting for visitors at City Center Mirdif.
If you missed the EU Honour Day activities, you can still join us at EXPO2020 Dubai by visiting each of the EU Member States pavilions, where several events, exhibitions, food, and music awaits until March 31.
EU Honour Day Gala
Luisa Amaro: Portuguese guitar (PT)
Tinkara Kovač: singer (SI)
Valentina Volpe Anfreazza: mezzo-soprano (IT)
Matteo Bevilacqua: piano (IT)
Vilnius City opera (LT)
Ensemble Focus (AT): choir
The Wladigeroff Brothers (BG)
Floris and the Flames (BE)
Liceo Coreutico di Milano (IT)
Liceo Coreutico di Milano (IT)
Organisation and Coordination