Manama. Wednesday, 6 November 2013: His Excellency the British Ambassador, Iain Lindsay OBE and Khalid Al Zayani, Chairman of the Bahrain British Business Forum, today hosted a media conference at the British Embassy in Manama to launch GREAT British Week. Under the Patronage of His Majesty, King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, the GREAT British Week will run from 15th to 22nd January 2014. Hosted in conjunction with the third international Bahrain Air Show, the GREAT British Week is an important part of the build-up to mark the 200th anniversary of bilateral relations between the United Kingdom and Bahrain.
The GREAT British Week is designed to emphasise the friendship and strong bilateral relationship between the United Kingdom and Bahrain, while exhibiting Britain’s tradition of world-class engineering and technology skills. Events planned for the week will showcase the long-standing business links between the two countries with conferences and events being organised within the British and Bahraini communities.
Speaking at Wednesday’s announcement, HE British Ambassador Iain Lindsay said, “This is the first celebration of British business and innovation in Bahrain in a generation and we are very excited at the prospect of putting on and supporting a whole range of events that showcase the wide-ranging, longstanding and close relationship between our two countries. I can think of no better way of highlighting this relationship than by linking the “week” to the Bahrain Air Show. Now in its third year, the show has grown in stature and is attracting an international audience with a strong presence from UK companies, particularly those from the aerospace and technology industries. Leading industrial nations and global economies will be represented at the show and this will perfectly compliment and heighten interest in the GREAT British Week.”
Commenting on the Bahrain Economic Development Board’s (EDB) sponsorship of the Advanced Engineering & Innovation Conference, taking place during GREAT British Week, HE Kamal bin Ahmed, Minister of Transportation and Acting Chief Executive of the EDB said: “We are delighted to be supporting this important event to further highlight the strong relations between our two countries, and the significant contribution made by UK companies in advancing key sectors such as engineering, automotive, aerospace and advanced technologies.
There are already many leading UK companies based in Bahrain, such as McLaren Automotive, Ernst & Young and Standard Chartered, taking advantage of the Kingdom’s skilled local workforce, competitive tax rates and tried and tested regulations. Bahrain is an ideal platform from which international businesses can access the $1.5 trillion Gulf market. We look forward to welcoming more British companies to Bahrain and are committed to doing what we can to help them to establish their regional operations in the Kingdom.”
Three anchor activities comprise the programme of events which is organised by the British Embassy, the BBBF and the British Council. The first of these is the “Knowledge” conference supported by Brunel and Ahlia Universities. The event, which is open to the general public, will highlight the strong and longstanding relationship between Bahraini and British Universities. The Knowledge event will promote the many areas of collaboration including scientific research & development, design, innovation and the growth of post-graduate courses.
The historical link to fast moving technology, especially in Formula One, is the backdrop to the week’s second event, the “Advanced Engineering & Innovation” Conference being held at the Bahrain International Circuit, and staged on the final day of the Air Show. The event, sponsored by the EDB will see over 200 delegates and exhibitors participate with support coming from leading British companies such as Rolls Royce (Aero), BAE Systems and McLaren Automotive. Seminars featuring McLaren Automotive, McLaren Applied Technologies and Rolls Royce will encourage business-to-business and networking opportunities while exhibits from many leading technology companies will underpin the value of the event to the business community. McLaren Automotive will use the BIC event to demonstrate its recently launched ground-breaking supercar, the McLaren P1, and delegates will be given the chance to experience the Formula One track from the seat of the company’s McLaren 12C.
Commenting on the importance of the week to the Bahrain and British business communities, BBBF Chairman Khalid Al Zayani said, “The relationship between Bahrain and Britain goes back many, many years and the strong business links between our two countries are what make the promotion of this week so important. Of particular significance is the chance to demonstrate the friendship and historical ties that have made the Kingdom of Bahrain such an important trading partner with Great Britain over the years. I am delighted to see so many events taking place and in particular the enthusiasm with which they are being organised. I would like to thank His Excellency the Ambassador and his team at the British Embassy, together with the many people who are involved in this event. The Ambassador’s vision in creating such a vibrant platform on which to promote such a special relationship should be highly commended”.
The final event of the GREAT British Week will be a Celebration Dinner. The dinner will showcase other formidable British exports; notably fashion and cooking. Sponsors of this event include a range of great British high street brands operated by Alshaya Trading Co, including Debenhams, Mothercare, River Island, Topshop, Dorothy Perkins, Miss Selfrdige, Evans, Wallis, Coast, Oasis, Warehouse and The Body Shop. A high street fashion show will entertain dinner guests while they are treated to the traditional tastes of Britain.
The week will be brought to its conclusion with a trip through Britain’s celebrated music history with a montage of hit songs from the long list of British bands that have headed the charts around the world and across generations.
Many companies from across the Bahrain-British business community as well as international brands see the GREAT British Week as a robust platform on which to demonstrate the commercial importance of the UK and Bahrain as trading partners and Bahrain as a solid place to do business. The list of sponsors and partners includes the Bahrain Economic Development Board, McLaren Automotive, Rolls Royce (Aro) BAE Systems, Atkins, Euro Motors with all their iconic British brands – Rolls Royce, Mini, Jaguar and Land Rover, URS, Brunel and Ahlia Universities and Ordnance Survey.
In closing, the British Ambassador called on the broader community to become involved in the event. “British companies, their families and individuals have enjoyed a long relationship with the Kingdom and have, over the years, made a significant contribution to the global awareness of Bahrain, not only as a trading nation, but as a friendly and hospitable place to live. GREAT British Week is a fabulous platform on which the two countries can demonstrate their friendship, commercial and solid business activities. The GREAT British Week is not just about promoting business but is a genuine opportunity for the whole community to get involved in celebrating everything British. I am delighted that we are seeing so many British clubs, sporting associations, retailers and families becoming involved. I know of many events that are being organised throughout the period and I am sure this will be a tremendously successful event and one which people will benefit from and talk about for many years to come”.