Barbados will be participating in the world’s largest cultural event, Expo 2020 Dubai, which takes place from October 1 of this year to March 31, 2022. Expo Dubai was originally slated to be held for six months from October 1, 2020; however, due to the global pandemic, the event was postponed until one year later.
World Expos are normally held every five years. This will be the first time that a World Expo is hosted in the Middle East. Virtually every country on the globe and up to 25 million people from around the globe are expected to attend, say organisers.
During an online ceremony on Thursday to officially announce Barbados’ participation, Invest Barbados officials expressed high hopes for the benefits the Dubai showcase could provide the island.
Invest Barbados’ Chief Executive Officer Kaye-Anne Brathwaite said Barbados’ preparation to participate in the expo was two years in the making, with assistance from several agencies and government ministries for Barbados to exhibit its heritage, culture and business opportunities.
She said: “Participating in this global cultural event also presents opportunities for Barbados to build partnerships while strengthening our relationships with several countries. Expo 2020 Dubai not only allows Barbados to engage with the United Arab Emirates, but provides us with a dynamic platform from which to connect with the rest of the world, both at the macro and micro levels, in one location, while showcasing who we are, where we want to be and our journey towards that destination. Our story will be told and our future plans highlighted.”
Expo 2020 Dubai’s theme is Connecting Minds, Creating the Future. The theme of Barbados’ pavilion is Innovation and Transformation: From Sugar Cane to Blockchain.
Each participating nation will have a national day; Barbados’ will be on January 13.
Brathwaite explained: “It is our desire to showcase the many sides of Barbados by promoting the talented individuals that call our nation home, the quality of life on the island, as well our well-regulated business environment and our welcoming investment climate.
“Additionally, we are excited to promote our culture from the culinary arts to music and sports. We are equally delighted to highlight our sporting history through the traditional game of cricket, and the novel sport of road tennis, which is gaining increasing interest internationally.”
The newly appointed ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, Gabriel Abed said the exposition is a great opportunity for Barbados to showcase itself, pointing to the number of people expected to visit the six-month expo.
He said it is also an opportunity for Barbadians “to see what is possible around the world and specifically in this part of the world and to think big”.
Bridgetown’s involvement in the exposition would allow for greater exposure of the island’s culture, people, innovation, sports and investment opportunities and to strengthen bilateral relationships, said the Barbadian envoy.
“I am particularly looking forward to Barbados’ national day in January and the business seminars that would be hosted thereafter, both in Dubai and Abu Dhabi,” Ambassador Abed added. “I am also enthused to see our communication and marketing plan roll out in what is a new market for Barbados. The data from the already launched digital marketing campaign is encouraging and speaks to increased awareness of who we are, and what we have to offer to the world.
“From Dubai, know that I have already signalled my intent to embark upon digital diplomacy. As such, let me intimate that it is our intent to launch our digital embassy during the course of this Expo – an example of Barbados again, leading the way.”