Friday, November 13, 2015

Shared Future

ABU DHABI -- The Rt. Hon. Donald Wilson, Lord Lieutenant and Lord Provost of the City of Edinburgh, the Scottish equivalent of a Mayor, today said that the UAE and Scotland have much in common in their aspirations for the future and that there are many opportunities to be explored in the form of new joint projects, arts and culture.
In an interview with Emirates News Agency, WAM, the Lord Provost, who is currently in Abu Dhabi as part of his 4-day trade and culture visit to the country, said, "I feel a wonderful affinity with Abu Dhabi and the people that I meet here. I feel that we are very similar in that we think the same things are important, and we both value our stability and our culture and that is something worth celebrating."
The connection between Abu Dhabi and Scotland's capital is now stronger than ever, especially after the UAE’s national carrier, Etihad Airways, added Edinburgh, its first Scottish destination and third departure point from the UK alongside London Heathrow and Manchester, to its direct flights last June.
The link between the UAE and Scotland, as two leading nations in their respective regions, has attracted high-caliber companies to both countries. Edinburgh has the second largest financial sector in Britain outside London, says the Lord Provost, and "is a well-beaten tourist destination," that has much to offer Emirati tourists, students, and businesses.
"Edinburgh is a unique destination, its architecture and its culture is completely different from any other place in the UK, so if you want that experience, then visiting Edinburgh is an absolute must," said the Lord Provost.
One purpose of the Lord Provost’s visit is the opening of the 5th edition of the Abu Dhabi Science Festival, ADSF, which is being held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
ADSF, the largest annual science festival in the region, originated in Edinburgh and is put together by the Edinburgh International Science Festival. Since its inception, ADSF has attracted nearly half a million visitors.
"Edinburgh International Science Festival was the first science festival in the world. In Abu Dhabi, it has been on a larger scale and very successful," said the Lord Provost.
Today, Mr. Wilson visited the Etihad Airways Innovation Centre and the walk-through reconstruction of the new A380 and B787 aircraft cabins.
The Etihad Airways Innovation Centre is one of many projects throughout the UAE that have been positively influenced by the involvement of leading international construction and property consultancy, Thomas and Adamson, who are headquartered in Edinburgh.
"We have some fantastic Scottish talent working in Abu Dhabi helping build the visions of this rapidly growing and dynamic country and Thomas and Adamson is a perfect example of this. The organization’s partner-working with Etihad and various Government entities underlines the importance of ties between the two countries," he said, adding, "In addition, the leaps and bounds being made throughout the country in terms of arts and culture over recent years has been just as impressive as the construction and development, and is a topic close to my heart."
There are ongoing talks to bring one of the biggest cultural shows on earth, The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, to the region, and specifically to Abu Dhabi, said the Lord Provost.
The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is a spectacular annual performance by British Armed Forces, Commonwealth and International military bands which displays teams on the esplanade of Edinburgh Castle as part of the Edinburgh Festival, and attracts an annual television audience of over 100 million.
The show, in which the UAE has participated many times, will open in the Etihad Stadium in Melbourne, Australia, in February 2016 for the first time.
The Lord Provost said that the show is a unique experience and although called a military tattoo, it’s basis is not military but a great cultural expression, a musical and dance experience. It is about countries showing pride in an international way and working together. "Unless you see it, is difficult to describe," he said.

"We are taking it to Australia and New Zealand next year and we hope to bring it to the UAE soon. It is a great thing for Edinburgh and Scotland to export in terms of cultural knowledge," he concluded.

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