By Hermoine Macura-Noble
Special to The Times Kuwait

On the first weekend of its opening, Expo 2020 Dubai is offering a diverse programme including a live call from the International Space Station with astronaut Thomas Pesquet; opening events from the pavilions of Viet Nam, Malaysia and El Salvador; a climate change discussion among youth; and an array of activities including a beatbox performance and cricketing sessions with young sports stars.

Also today, France’s Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian will lead the official delegation for the country’s National Day celebrations. The delegation includes Franck Riester, Minister Delegate for Foreign Trade and Economic Attractiveness.

A flag-raising ceremony at Al Wasl Plaza will be followed by an aerial demonstration from the Patrouille de France aerobatics unit, exhibiting the savoir-faire and excellence of the French Air Force. Thomas Pesquet, astronaut and Ambassador of the France Pavilion, will also conduct a 15-minute live call from the International Space Station.

The National Day celebrations being held at the France Pavilion and around the Expo 2020 site lead the way for the 192 countries participating in the six-month event where each country will be celebrated. The Viet Nam pavilion also opened marking a strong interest from the East in the GCC region when it comes to investment and tourism.

“With the theme “Distilling the Past, Shaping the Future,” Viet Nam values the meaning of “connection” that connects the past and the present, traditional culture and modern technology, in order to create harmony and motivation for the future development.

Viet Nam appreciates exchange and cooperation among cultures and nations. Promoting the application of modern technology to continue the development of traditional culture, harmoniously combining tradition and modernity is one of the core values of Viet Nam Pavilion,” explains His Excellency Ta Quang Dong, Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Viet Nam.

Visitors to the Viet Nam pavilion will be delighted to discover that the country is a typical example of the connection between tradition and the present. Featuring around 54 ethnic groups and the connection of international trade, current day Viet Nam reveals a mix of these identites and how they have impacted its own.

“Expo helps us to tell the story of our people and country with potential and opportunities for future development. Viet Nam’s participation in Expo is an act of realizing the policy of proactive international integration, while actively contributing to the cause of peace, national independence, democracy and social progress in the world,” States Ta Quang Dong.

Viet Nam’s unique pavilion façade features 800 traditional conical hats attached with colorful lights that will illuminate at night. The pavilion is quite high tech and also features a virtual experience on Viet Nam’s most popular tourism spots and the amazing discovery of Vietnamese cutting-edged technologies including the world’s first 3D printing carbon fibre object as well as sustainable innovations like the biobased material created from shell seafood waste and mushrooms. There are even waterproof sneakers made from recycled coffee.

“In 2019, Viet Nam Tourism received a series of awards from the World Travel Awards such as World’s leading heritage destination; Leading Golf Destination in the World and Asia and Asia’s top destination….Tourism has become one of the major sectors within the economy of Viet Nam in recent years, with a direct GDO contribution of over 9% in 2019,” explains Ta Quang Dong.

Everyday, the Viet Nam Pavilion will offer 3 shows of music and water-puppet performances. The Pavilion is also the only Asian representative to participate in the Virtual tour project led by OIF. The most important highlight will of course be Viet Nam’s National Day on Dec 30 which will be marked with an array of activities including a celebration ceremony, Vietnamese film week and a brocade fashion show.

“Viet Nam is a politically stable, safe and dynamic country in economic development, with open investment attraction policies, a young, abundant, industrious, creative labor force…Viet Nam is truly a destination of investment and trade cooperation,” concludes Ta Quang Dong.

By Hermoine Macura-Noble
The first Australian English speaking News Anchor in the Middle East. She is also the Author of Faces of the Middle East and Founder of US-based 501c3 charity – The House of Rest which helps to ease the suffering of victims of war. For more from our Contributing Editor, you can follow her on Instagram, here.

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