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Minister Coveney announces Ireland’s Expo 2020 plans

Minister Simon Coveney, T.D, today launched Ireland’s programme for Expo 2020 Dubai, which will see an array of Irish cultural performances and business activities over 6 months at the post-pandemic international gathering.

Announcing Ireland’s Expo plans, Minister Coveney said:

“Expo advances our economic interests and contributes to important debates about the future of our shared planet.  It strengthens our voice and our reputation in the world at a time when Ireland is a member of the UN Security Council.

We are bringing a whole-of-Government approach to Expo 2020 in Dubai.  My Department is working with partners across Government, State Agencies, business, arts and culture, academia and the creative industries to ensure a high-impact Irish presence in Dubai. Expo will provide a platform in raising awareness of Ireland as a place to live, study and work, and a destination to visit as well as highlighting a great country in which, and with which, to do business. 

Expo provides a great opportunity to discuss and debate the major global issues of our day, from climate and sustainability to diversity and education.”

Ireland’s programme has been developed around the theme of human creativity, which speaks to our history and culture, but also addresses important current issues in the age of artificial intelligence and robotics. Ireland’s Expo theme will allow us promote our future competitiveness and will be explored through debates and discussion forums and via a cultural programme built around music, design, literature, creative writing and film.


Notes to Editors

Expo 2020 bring the world together in a grand and common project to find solutions to a fundamental challenge facing humanity. This challenge is addressed via the Expo’s theme, which acts as a springboard for what participants will showcase and what intellectual and cultural events will be organised.’ The Dubai hosts have secured the participation of almost all of the member-states of the United Nations. 

Ireland’s participation in Expo 2020 Dubai advances Irish economic interests and contributes to important debates about the future of our shared planet. This will be the first truly global, post-pandemic international gathering and is an important platform for promoting Ireland’s post-Covid recovery.

This is an All-of-Government approach led by the Department of Foreign Affairs. This Team Ireland approach will see Government and State Agencies working closely with Irish business, cultural and community sectors to strengthen Ireland’s international reputation and reach. 

The primary purpose of the Ireland Pavilion at Expo, designed by OPW architects, is to provide an environment in which pavilion staff and visitors can engage on a personal level with exhibitions, displays, workshops, businesses, and performances.


Business and Enterprise Programme

There will be a strong focus across the six months of Expo on business and enterprise, including:

  • Enterprise Ireland will resume (post-Covid) trade missions to the region, including to WETEX (Water, Energy, Environment Technology Exhibition, Dubai Airshow, and Arab Health - aligning with Expo - bringing Irish companies to the fore creating continual business opportunities throughout Expo.
  • IDA Ireland will present Ireland’s FDI story and proposition in the Ireland pavilion and will have focused communications campaign in the region to coincide with Expo. 
  • Ireland as a location to study, undertake research, and innovate will be highlighted through seminars, networking events and keynote addresses, led by the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science (DFHERIS).
  • Bord Bia will showcase the very best of Irish food and drink, including events that will gather top chefs, hotel & restaurant owners, and sectoral influencers. 
  • Tourism focused events and communications initiatives will feature throughout Expo, with a comprehensive programme with Tourism Ireland & Failte Ireland.
  • Irish business will feature in all of the 10 thematic business forums of Expo, and opportunities to engage with international companies during relevant business events within and aligned with Expo, including Arab Health, will be maximised.
  • Ireland’s ‘We are the Makers’ exhibition will show world leading examples of Irish science, innovation and creativity.  the Design and Craft Council of Ireland is the principal design partner, showcasing outstanding examples of Irish design.
  • The Dubai Irish Business Network (IBN), working with Ireland’s Embassy in UAE, and State Agencies will hold a series of business events throughout Expo, with a focus on opportunities in the region.
  • Ireland’s presence will amplify the importance of technology in the Irish economic success story, and the value proposition of Ireland and Irish companies.


Creative Programme

A music programme has been developed in partnership with the National Concert Hall.

Literature Ireland has undertaken a translation of Seamus Heaney’s ‘100 Poems’ into Arabic to mark Ireland’s participation in Expo Dubai.

Literature Ireland is also translating a selection of other well-known Irish poems into Arabic, which will be available to visitors to the pavilion to raise awareness of Ireland’s long and rich literary tradition. 

Fighting Words was set up by Roddy Doyle and Sean Love to help children and young people, and adults who did not have the opportunity as children, to discover and harness the power of their own imaginations and creative writing skills. Fighting Words will bring a programme of story-writing workshops to Dubai.

The emergence of Irish Architecture onto the world stage will be highlighted by a pavilion exhibition - The Architecture of Creative Learning - showing the globally acclaimed work of leading Irish architecture on education projects from primary to third level.

Screen Ireland has provided a portfolio of Irish films, including animation, for screening at Expo. 


Riverdance - reimagined for Expo

A special Riverdance production, “Riverdance at Expo” with 25 live performances on the main stage in Jubilee park - the largest performance venue at  Expo Dubai - and a programme of 52 masterclasses and pop-up musical and dance performances.

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