Dubai: Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director General, Expo 2020 Dubai, today (17 October) received a Sunflower Lanyard for the significant role she has played promoting accessibility at Expo 2020 and in the region.
Her Excellency was presented with a Sunflower Lanyard by Steven Mifsud, Expo 2020’s Director of Accessibility (for Direct Access), who has been the driving force behind the programming, curation and training operations that ensure the site is inclusive and accessible to all visitors.
Mifsud explained that the Sunflower Lanyards, also known as ‘Hidden Impairment Lanyards’, are a globally recognised symbol of a hidden impairment, which can be worn by anyone who might require extra help.
Steven Mifsud said: “In my role as Director of Accessibility, one of my first immediate tasks was to try and ensure that people of determination feel welcome to come here to Expo. And one of the most powerful ways to do that is by showing the region and the world that we promote and endorse the Sunflower Lanyards. Social media, the media, only goes so far, but when you have a figurehead, such as Her Excellency, it speaks volumes.”
Mifsud said that not only has Expo 2020 ensured its site has sufficient ramps and elevators to accommodate those that require them, it is also making those with hidden impairments feel welcome through the use of the Sunflower Lanyards. The success of the lanyards at Expo, he hoped, will promote their use elsewhere in Dubai and around the world.
Mifsud added: “We are hoping from this, and by having Her Excellency wear a Sunflower Lanyard, other areas in the region – such as Dubai Mall, Dubai airport, Ferrari World – all these places that tourists go to will recognise the Sunflower Lanyard. By having Dubai recognise the Sunflower Lanyard, we are … promoting tourism. The growth plan for Dubai is to focus on tourism, and many people of determination are off-peak travellers, which is why it is exactly the right thing to do.”