To mark St David’s Day – the day which celebrates the patron saint of Wales – the Welsh government teamed up with the British Embassy in Dubai and the Welsh National Opera for a celebration of Welsh culture, business and food at a reception last night.
The event, which was hosted by the Welsh Cabinet Secretary, Lesley Griffiths, and Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the UAE, Philip Parham, was attended by over 200 people. The Welsh National Opera – who are performing this month at the Dubai Opera House – performed for guests before a live cooking demonstration with Welsh lamb by world-renowned British chef Gary Rhodes.
In a nod to the thriving business climate in Wales, a pavilion of Welsh companies was on site to talk to guests about their products, and Aston Martin, who will soon be opening a new manufacturing facility in Wales, proudly displayed two of their iconic cars.
Speaking at the event, Welsh Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, said:
St David’s Day presents us with a fantastic opportunity to celebrate our people, our history, our culture and, of course, our high-quality larder of food and drink produce. It also enables us, as a government, to reinforce our commitment to remaining an outward focused and welcoming nation.
Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the UAE said:
St David’s Day is an opportunity for us to celebrate the culture, heritage and achievements of Wales and its people. Welsh people and businesses have had a real impact here in the UAE: from supplying equipment which keeps the Dubai metro moving to manufacturing the wings for all the A380s in the Emirates and Etihad fleets. We wish you all a happy St David’s Day.
Andy Palmer, Aston Martin President and CEO, said:
We are pleased to be supporting the ‘Wales - Business and Culture’ reception which aligns with the impending opening of our new manufacturing facility at St Athan in Wales. We have been working closely with the Welsh government and have recently began construction of ‘Phase I’ of the facility, a real milestone in our 103-year history. We will build our first SUV at St Athan and look forward to continued collaboration with both the Ministry of Defence and the Welsh government in making this project work.