Portugal celebrates its Expo Dubai 2020 National Day

Photo & Text: Expo Dubai 2020

Dubai, 14 January 2022 – Portugal celebrated its National Day at Expo 2020 on Friday with a special ‘fado’ performance at Al Wasl Plaza, featuring vocalist Teresa Salgueiro and guitarist Marta Pereira da Costa. This specific type of music, using guitars and mandolins, features on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List. Connecting through music, culture, economy and its people was the key message throughout the celebrations, as Portugal showcased its strengths at Expo’s global stage.

Portugal also celebrated the 116th anniversary of Livraria Lello – one of the country’s oldest bookstores – with a special Arabic edition of two emblematic works of Portuguese poetry: Os Lusíadas by Luís de Camões, and Mensagem by Fernando Pessoa.

Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director General, Expo 2020 Dubai, and His Excellency Sultan Al Shamsi, UAE Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation for International Development Affairs, welcomed His Excellency Francisco André, Portugal’s Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation.

HE Al Shamsi said: “Portugal’s pavilion highlights how the diversity and inclusiveness of its people, coupled with their creativity and innovation, has created a thriving ecosystem of great opportunities, and allows Expo 2020’s visitors to experience Portugal’s vision of a prosperous future that is shared by all.

“The UAE truly values the ties we share with Portugal, which go back by hundreds of years. We are also proud to witness our relations thrive across the political, economic and cultural spheres, and aim to further expand joint collaborations and partnerships with Portugal in areas of mutual interest for the benefit of both our nations.”

HE Francisco André said: “I am honoured to be here today at the first modern Expo of the Middle East and to celebrate Portugal’s success in showcasing its culture, economy, business, geography and people. We are proud to show our nation’s diversity, innovation and creativity. We hope to create new connections, staying true to Expo’s slogan of ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’. “The current pandemic will come to an end soon, and the cycle of post-pandemic recovery will demand us to look for better and sustainable solutions, and a greener economy. Portugal is an open economy, and we believe we need diversity in our connections, and we welcome both new and traditional partners.”

Vocalist Teresa Salgueiro, who personifies an emblematic image of Portugal to the world, then took the stage, accompanied by guitarists that included Marta Pereira da Costa, the country’s only female professional guitar player, for a soulful fado performance.

The Portugal Pavilion, meanwhile, welcomed urban sketcher Tomás Reis, who is creating a sketchbook with unique illustrations of the National Day, as well as other visitor experiences, while the day concluded at the Jubilee Stage, with the music and multimedia show ‘Al Qantara’ (which means ‘bridge’ in Arabic), featuring Portuguese guitar players António Chainho and Marta Pereira da Costa, along with traditional percussion group Retimbrar.

Speaking at the Portugal Pavilion after the ceremony, HE Francisco André said: “We have important economic ties with the UAE, and there are over 50 Portuguese companies based here. Expo has given us an amazing opportunity, and we are opening doors for an exciting business future ahead.”

National and Honour Days at Expo 2020 Dubai are moments to celebrate each of our 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 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.

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