Antigua & Barbuda, the twin-island nation of 365 beaches, has celebrated its Expo 2020 Dubai national day.
The event featured a flag-raising ceremony at Al Wasl Plaza, a colourful cultural performance and a topically varied business conference.
Henry Charles Fernandez, minister of tourism and investment of Antigua & Barbuda, accompanied by Gilbert Boustany, commissioner general of Antigua & Barbuda at Expo 2020, were welcomed by Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, United Arab Emirates minister of state for foreign trade.
Proudly celebrating the country’s Ruby Anniversary (40 years) of political independence, Fernandez said it was an honour to be sharing the momentous occasion with each and every person at Expo 2020, with the occasion made even more meaningful in Dubai, a nation built on the principles of inclusion.
Fernandez said: “Dubai’s transformation to a highly efficient metropolis, created with such elegance and intricacy, highlights the sophistication of the visionary leadership of Dubai, and by extension, the United Arab Emirates.
“To have the capacity to host such a global event on the fringe of one of the worst pandemics in modern history is verification of the resilience and progressive leadership the UAE is fortunate to have.
“Expo 2020 Dubai signals a global call for partnerships and support.
“This unparalleled Expo has given small island developing states – [such as] Antigua & Barbuda – the opportunity for business and trade on a global scale.
“This Expo will allow for extensive partnerships to be forged and for the renewal of diplomatic friendships as we navigate our way out of the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Antigua & Barbuda’s national day celebrations included ‘Wadadli’, a 20-minute cultural presentation that explores the country music, dance and heritage.
The performance highlighted the origins of Antigua and Barbuda’s Afro-European percussive steel band rhythms, the sounds of the 20th-century musical phenomenon, the steelpan, the melodies and poetry of the country’s greatest calypsonians and soca artistes, as well as their vibrant movements.