The rhythms of Latin America come to Dubai as Panama celebrates its Expo 2020 National Day

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Dubai: The Republic of Panama celebrated its Expo 2020 National Day today, with an action-packed programme of cultural events. Several music stars from the country took part, with Panama becoming the first Latin American country to celebrate its National Day at the first World Expo in the Arab world.

Najeeb Mohammed Al Ali, Executive Director, Commissioner General Office, Expo 2020 Dubai welcomed a delegation from Panama led by HE Ramón E Martínez de la Guardia, Minister of Commerce and Industries of Panama.

After a flag-raising ceremony in Al Wasl Plaza, followed by a dazzling cultural display, the delegation moved to the Panama Pavilion for its official inauguration, marked with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, before Panama’s National Day Parade unleashed a colourful celebration replete with folkloric dances, music and more.

Latin Grammy-winning rock band Los Rabanes, Latin American Idol winner Margarita Henríquez and jazz vocalist Idania Dowman then took to Al Wasl Stage for a rousing showcase of Panamanian music. The three acts will return to Expo on Thursday (21 October) for a special performance on the Jubilee Stage from 2230-0030.

Dubai Millennium Amphitheatre also hosted the folkloric ballet group, Panamá Danzas Hoy. At the same time, HE Ramón E Martínez de la Guardia and HE Erika Mouynes, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Panama, took part in Visions and Journeys, part of an intimate series of inspirational talks tackling gender stereotypes, and presenting ideas for a gender-equal future, at the Women’s Pavilion.

Panama also held a Country Business Briefing at Expo’s Business Connect Centre.

Najeeb Mohammed Al Ali said: “We know the Panama Canal as one of the wonders of the modern world, a unique marvel – a man-made waterway connecting the Pacific and Atlantic oceans that has put Panama on a key route for international maritime trade. As a regional trade and logistics hub, Panama is an ideal gateway for UAE companies to access the new growth opportunities that are emerging across Latin America. Through Expo 2020 Dubai, we hope to build on existing partnerships between our two countries.

“At Expo 2020, Panama has invited us to explore its history, culture, art, and gastronomy along with the many competitive advantages that it has to offer as a gateway to Latin America and the Caribbean.”

HE Ramón E Martínez de la Guardia said: “Expo 2020 Dubai is truly a historic event, not only because it’s the first World Expo to be held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia, and the first to be hosted by an Arab nation, but because it represents an obligatory appointment to unite the world under a shared purpose of promoting sustainable development, despite the difficult times that we have all experienced with the COVID 19 pandemic.”

Panama, being a point of convergence and progress, is glad to be present and looks forward to the next six months of this Expo.

The Panama Canal has long been a catalyst of change, and the Panama Pavilion, located in Jubilee, gives visitors a chance to travel virtually through this important and strategic waterway. Under the theme ‘Sustainable Mobility for the Future’, the pavilion highlights how the canal has contributed to the country’s strategic importance, and to its growth as a regional finance and trading hub.

Panama is also known for its natural beauty: from teeming aquatic wildlife to cloud forests and mist-shrouded coffee plantations, and is home to five UNESCO World Heritage Sites. At the pavilion, visitors can immerse themselves in the country’s best tourism spots through a virtual-reality experience.

National and Honour Days at Expo 2020 are moments to celebrate each of Expo’s 200-plus International Participants, shining a light on their culture and achievements, and showcasing their pavilions and programming. Each features a flag-raising ceremony at the Stage of Nations in Al Wasl Plaza, followed by speeches and cultural performances.

Running until 31 March 2022, Expo 2020 Dubai has invited visitors from across the planet to join the making of a new world in a six-month celebration of human creativity, innovation, progress and culture.