By Hermoine Macura-Noble
Special to The Times Kuwait
Thousands of visitors flocked to Kuwait’s pavilion as it opened its doors this month at Expo 2020 under the theme `New Kuwait, New Opportunities for Sustainability.’ The shimmering gold exterior inspired by sand dunes takes visitors on a journey from the past to the present, giving them a glimpse into the future with Kuwait’s strategic plan Vision 2030: New Kuwait.
“For Kuwait, the participation at the Expo 2020 Dubai, apart from the opportunity it presents for us to showcase the country and its uniqueness, is also a celebration of GCC solidarity and the proactive mindset of togetherness that will pave the road for regional sustainable progress for posterity,” said Director of the Kuwait Pavilion, Dr. Bader Al Enzi.
The visitor’s journey starts with a glimpse of the country’s rich history at the crossroads of civilizations. A water tower is the first thing you notice as you enter the pavilion – A tribute to the source of life and a reminder of the water towers found across Kuwait. Located in the Sustainability District at the Expo 2020 Dubai, Kuwait’s pavilion emphasizes the country’s sustainability endeavors, and the water tower acts as the highlight, designed to be the focal point of sustainability, surrounded by a symbolic representation of sand dunes. The journey unfolds smoothly, connecting the myriad facets of the country, endeavoring to present a comprehensive Kuwait to the visitor.
Featuring the largest ever Kuwaiti participation at Expo, Kuwait’s pavilion spans 5,600 square meters of built-up area, offering a view of the country’s history, tradition, contemporary growth and prosperity. One audio-visual production played inside the pavilion unveils the story of Kuwait through the eyes of a young girl, inspiring hope and a reminder of the advancement of women across the country as well.
Along with its thematic cultural programs, the pavilion showcases how Kuwait has enhanced and taken great strides in technological advancements, innovation and development in the past decades. “The pavilion will take you through the milestones of Kuwait’s development from the pre-oil past to the oil-rich modern democratic state under continued wise leadership. One of our core strategic objectives in participating at the Expo is to showcase our development initiatives under the New Kuwait Vision 2035,” said Deputy Director, Mazen Al Ansari.
He added that politically, Kuwait wants to reinforce its reputation for spreading peace and security across the globe, while economically, the country is being presented at the Expo as an ideal destination for foreign investments. The content and philosophy of the pavilion runs on a concept of five senses enveloping the experience of visiting the pavilion.
The pavilion is divided into various sections starting with `The Courtyard,’ where a panoramic film, Safe Haven, inspired by the history of Kuwait, will play. The pavilion also has a `Ramp’, which will replicate the experience of crossing the Sheikh Jaber Causeway in Kuwait to the visitor, which will then lead to `The Spring of Life and the Bridge’ consisting of a canal which will give the feel of water through special effects, highlighting the link between water and sustainability.
There is also a section on `The Environment and Nature’, which will capture the diversity of wildlife; while, a section titled `The Garden’ will exemplify nature as a source of life and reinforce Kuwait’s concern for the environment and sustainability.
Furthermore, the pavilion has a section dedicated to Kuwait as a pioneer in the region in the field of `Culture & Media,’ while a `Digital Gateway’ showcases aspects of Kuwait’s forward march in sciences, environment, economy and industry in line with the New Kuwait Vision 2035. In the section, ‘Globally Connected,’ the pavilion emphasizes Kuwait’s global humanitarian status as a significant foundation to any of its policies.
“In the GCC, we are interconnected by our culture and tribes; however, our traditional dancing is something that stands out and attracts many visitors to our pavilion… The upper floors of the pavilion are a surprise for visitors coming to experience the pavilion for the first time,” adds Al Ansari.
The inauguration of the pavilion was officiated by His Excellency Abd Al-Rahman Badah Al-Mutairi, the Minister of Information and Culture and Minister of State for Youth Affairs, who was representing His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Khalid Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, along with in the presence of other government officials and dignitaries.
Supported by the Kuwait Direct Investment Promotion Authority, the pavilion also aims to attract, and encourage direct investment into the country, both foreign and domestic, to achieve diversification of national revenue sources in Kuwait, create employment opportunities for Kuwaiti nationals and training programs to enhance their capabilities and professional skills and raise awareness on and promote Kuwait as a viable investment location, as well as showcasing potential investment opportunities.
“This is the first time an Expo has been held in an Arab country… The UAE has succeeded in launching the Expo and we want to share and support them in their success as well,” concludes Al Ansari.
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.