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All preparations in place for Europe Day in Riyadh
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 07 - 05 - 2013


Mohammed Alshoaiby
Saudi Gazette


RIYADH — The European Union (EU) delegation in Riyadh is preparing for its Europe Day event on Wednesday at the National Museum in King Abdulaziz Historical Center, according to Adam Kulach, EU Ambassador in Riyadh.
The event is part of the internationally recognized celebration of Europe Day on May 9 every year, under the banner of Europe Month, which takes place annually during May.
“It is a day to celebrate European unity, and to stress our joint European identity,” said Kulach.
The European Union celebrates this event under the European Union's official motto: “United in Diversity.”
One of the main highlights of this year's event, said Kulach, will be a photography exhibition of 55 photos selected from several hundred submissions made by students from GCC countries currently residing in Europe, with the theme “Europe seen by Gulf students.”
“We chose this because we believe that the students are the future,” Kulach added.
“Students come to Europe – they are in every member state of the European Union – and later on they will become, in a way, ambassadors of Europe in Saudi Arabia and in the Gulf.”
“It was very interesting to see how they see Europe and what is most beautiful (about it) to them.”
The EU delegation engaged two celebrated GCC artists, Abdulnasir Gharem from Saudi Arabia and Thuraya Albaqsami from Kuwait, to assess the submissions and represent in a panel of judges. The European Union's delegation in the GCC, based in Riyadh, was established in 2004.
“We are still newcomers in the Gulf, but Europe has had a very long presence in the region,” said Kulach.
“Europeans have participated in the development of the Gulf from day one, and we are very proud of that.”
The European Union was an initiative of six countries (France, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Luxembourg) in the wake of World War II, as a diplomatic, social and political bond against future threats.
“It (The European Union) was initially nothing more than pooling heavy industries together,” in an attempt to be more competitive and promote further cooperation, Kulach added.
“We had two major enlargements. One was in 2004 and included 10 countries. Two years later two more countries were included,” culminating in the 27 member states that exist today.
The European Union is set to include Croatia as its 28th member state in July of this year.
The European Union was instrumental in building the Schengen area, where national borders have been eliminated, exercising free travel for EU citizens and Schengen visa holders.
“The main purpose of the European Union, to create internal peace and to enhance development and prosperity, has been largely achieved,” said Kulach.
Europe Day is an example of how the European Union can collaborate with the GCC and celebrate its diversity in this region, he added.
“We cherish, very much, all partnerships and relationships with the Kingdom and other GCC countries.”


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