Remarks by His Excellency Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, President of the Republic of Maldives on the occasion of the National Day of the Maldives at the Dubai Expo 2020

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بســم اللّـه الرّحمـن الرّحيــم

 His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, Cabinet Member and Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence, and Commissioner General of Expo 2020 Dubai.

Excellencies, Honorable Ministers, Corporate Leaders, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen.

Good morning to you all and thank you for joining this joyful gathering to mark the Maldives Honour Day at the Dubai World Expo 2020.

First and foremost, I wish to congratulate the leadership of United Arab Emirates for hosting this wonderfully planned Expo – a feat made especially impressive considering that an expo of such sophistication and magnitude is being held as the world is returning to normal life from the havoc wreaked by the worst pandemic in living memory. That the UAE leadership has brought together over 192 countries for this Expo despite many hurdles, is impressive and testament to their foresight and leadership.

I am pleased to have the UAE leadership join us today on our Honour Day. UAE has always been a significant development partner and a close friend of the Maldives. We have often come together on common positions in the international arena and I hope we will continue to do so. The Maldives looks forward to further strengthening our partnerships with UAE and other nations in the GCC and MENA region.

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Today, as we mark Maldivian Honour Day, we have chosen to celebrate the important role of ‘Dhoni’, our traditional boat, used by our ancestors as a fishing vessel, for trade and transport. 99 percent of the Maldives is ocean, and the Dhoni, over time became part and parcel of our identity, our way of life. A nation of ‘boats’, was what we were called once.

This defining vessel of ours has connected thousands of islands scattered across the Maldives for centuries. I hope that the cultural performance to follow will bring to light, the native characteristics of this masterpiece.

We have attempted to utilize the Maldives Pavilion and the enormous opportunities created by the EXPO to showcase the Maldives, its natural beauty, our heritage and our culture, and highlight the challenges for the Maldives, as a small island state.

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen.

I cannot stress enough, the crucial role expos such as this play to amass agents of change – policy-makers and industry experts; academics and civil society actors. It is through people-to-people contact that lasting development partnerships are formed. As we have done so in many occasions in the past, we have gathered here in Dubai to explore innovative solutions for overlapping challenges common to the world over.

We must aim to unleash the full potential of the expo. Let actions speak louder than words at this global gathering to address the pervasive, wicked problems of our time. From food insecurity to extreme hunger – pollution to habitat loss –cyberterrorism to financial shocks – we need to ramp up our ambitions and pool our resources to lift each other up as we work towards a greener, resilient and sustainable future in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

May the Expo continue to live up to its theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’. I am confident that the Expo will provide an impressive platform for all of us to learn from each other and to work collaboratively, towards creating the future that we all desire.

I take this opportunity to invite you all to the Maldivian Pavilion located in the sustainability district and learn more about our islands and our investment opportunities.

Once again, I wish to thank the UAE Leadership for inviting me and my delegation to the Expo.

I wish everyone a successful and memorable Expo.

Thank you.