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Switzerland, first to officially signal its intent to participate in Expo 2020

His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Expo 2020 Dubai Higher Committee and Chairman of Dubai Airports and Emirates Airline met with Her Excellency Maya Tissafi, Switzerland’s Ambassador to the UAE, on Monday, as the country became the first to officially signal its intent to participate in Expo 2020.

HH Sheikh Ahmed said: “Expo 2020 Dubai will be an international focal point where people and countries will come together to celebrate human ingenuity, and our shared ability to build a better future. We are delighted that the Swiss government has committed to participate, over four years ahead of the start of the Expo. The decision is an important reflection of the international role played by the UAE, and the significance of Expo 2020.”

The Swiss Federal Council agreed to take part in Expo 2020 at a meeting held last week. That meeting also agreed a budget for the Swiss Pavilion – which will be built on the Expo site – of AED 57 million.  The Federal Council explained its decision in an official statement. Given the economic and political significance of the host country and the geopolitical weight of the Gulf region, the Federal Council decided that Switzerland would participate in Expo 2020 in Dubai. Switzerland’s presence will be a unique opportunity to present the country and its research capacity and innovation in the fields of renewable energies, mobility and the environment to a wider public.

HE Tissafi, the Ambassador, was joined by His Excellency Wolfgang Amadeus Brülhart, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Department at the Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Switzerland is a founding member of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), which has had the responsibility for organising World Expos since 1928. The country has participated in the majority of those held to date. Its participation in world fairs is an important element of Switzerland’s international communications efforts. At the Milan World Expo, held last year, 2.1 million people visited the Swiss Pavilion alone.

Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation, and Director General of Expo 2020 Dubai said “I am delighted to welcome Switzerland as the first national participant. We look forward to Switzerland’s participation in Expo 2020, as a partner in bringing people together from across the globe, to share their ideas and together create a common ambition for the next fifty years of human progress. We are working to deliver a World Expo that inspires millions of people around the world, and marks the progress that UAE has made in its first 50 years. We aspire to build a legacy that provides a firm foundation for the next stage of the UAE’s progress and development.”

HE Maya Tissafi, the Swiss Ambassador, shared her enthusiasm for Expo 2020 Dubai, and delight at being the first country to sign up as participants. “Switzerland and the UAE are both countries that thrive on connecting others, through travel and trade. Participating in Expo 2020 Dubai is also of great interest to Swiss companies and the tourism sector given the region’s economic potential.” She went on to add, “because of this, we are excited to be the first country to agree to take part in Expo 2020. We share Expo’s belief in connecting minds in order to create the future, and look forward to working closely with the organisers to contribute to a spectacular event that leaves a meaningful and long-lasting legacy both here in the UAE and at home in Switzerland.

Last week Expo 2020 hosted officials from the BIE on a technical visit to inspect the progress being made in preparation for the event, and the plans being put in place for its legacy.

Between October 2020 and April 2021, Expo 2020 Dubai will welcome  more than 180 nations and an international audience of 25 million visitors to witness the very latest in thinking and technology, people from around the world will be able to share an experience that has one aim: to contribute to building a better future.

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