‘Choosing Riyadh to host Expo 2030 would be smart and visionary,’ former French Culture Minister Jack Lang tells Arab News en Francais

Paris: Riyadh would be a “smart and far-sighted choice”; to host the World Expo in 2030, Jacques Lang, president of the Arab World Institute and former French culture minister, told Arab News on the sidelines of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Traveling to Paris this week.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace on Friday to discuss efforts to strengthen Saudi-French ties and cooperation.

“This is an extremely important visit, and I am pleased that His Majesty, the crown prince, is present in Paris,” Lang told Arab News in his 8th-floor office overlooking the Seine in Paris.

“This is a moment of friendship between France and Saudi Arabia, an opportunity for the French President and the most senior official in Saudi Arabia to discuss a whole range of current issues related to international affairs.”

French President Emmanuel Macron receives Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the Elysee Palace in Paris on June 16, 2023. (AP)

Lange, who has long been a vocal supporter of closer cultural ties between France and Saudi Arabia, said staging the global event in the Kingdom’s “extraordinary capital” would be of great symbolic importance to the Arab region and would highlight recent Saudi achievements. Will reveal

“First of all, it is a great country, enormous in its area and population. It is a vibrant country with active and creative youth and actively involved women,” Lange said.

“I would say that the investment projects envisaged by the Saudi authorities are promising for cultural development, promising for industrial and economic development.

“And beyond the present, Arabia has a history, a civilization and powerful moments in the life of the world. I believe that dedicating this World Expo to the most important country of Arabia will have great symbolic and symbolic significance.

“Choosing Riyadh as the location for the upcoming World Expo would be a smart and visionary choice,” he said, calling the Kingdom “a great country of the future.”

Saudi Arabia has officially submitted its comprehensive application to host the World Expo 2030 in Riyadh. The event will take place from October 1, 2030 to March 31, 2031 under the theme “The Era of Change: Together for a Foreseen Tomorrow”.

Last March, members of the Bureau International Day of Exposition’s inquiry mission met with top Saudi ministers and experts to evaluate Riyadh’s candidature for Expo 2030. (supply)

After Dubai 2020 and Osaka 2025, Riyadh has proposed to host the 2030 Expo on a six million square meter site in the north of the city. The crown prince will present the Saudi candidature during a meeting of the Bureau of International Exhibitions (BIE) in Paris early next week.

On Monday, Saudi Arabia is set to hold an official reception in the French capital for 179 countries as part of the Kingdom’s bid to host the Expo. A vote will take place next November to choose the host city for the global event.

A high-ranking Saudi delegation, members of the International Diplomatic Corps based in Paris, ambassadors from UNESCO-recognised countries, representatives of major participating institutions and projects, representatives of BIE member states and senior French officials in government and private sectors Will attend the function.

Along with Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Italy and Ukraine have also applied to host the World Expo. Held since 1851, the Expo is the world’s largest platform to showcase the latest achievements and technologies and celebrate the cultural values ​​that unite humanity.

Saudi Arabia submitted its bid for World Expo 2030 in October last year in a letter sent by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the BIE.

bei in riyadh
Members of the Bureau International des Expositions inquiry mission met with Saudi ministers to discuss the Kingdom’s bid to host the Expo 2030 world fair. (SPA file photo)

According to the Saudi Press Agency, the letter said: “We live in an era of change and we are faced with an unprecedented need for collective action of humanity.”

If Saudi Arabia is chosen to host the event, officials plan to transform Riyadh and the rest of the country into a world-class venue for global culture, connectivity and climate action.

Lang is particularly keen to see Riyadh succeed in its bid as he believes it could open the way for even greater cooperation with France, particularly on cultural and architectural projects.

“If Riyadh is chosen, our Saudi friends, who want, as they know how, to create the most beautiful World Expo, will seek the collaboration of French designers, architects and engineers who are particularly talented And experienced in designing large-scale projects,” he said, citing his work at AlUla, Paris and elsewhere.

Read also:

, Saudi Arabia launches bid to host World Expo 2030 in Riyadh

• Riyadh Expo 2030 Unveils Site for Futuristic, Climate-Friendly Experience

, Riyadh Expo 2030 to bring the world to the Saudi capital

“The Arab World Institute was designed by a young architect I chose, Jean Nouvel. And since then, he has become a star, sought after even by the Crown Princes in AlUla and Riyadh. Other strong and powerful personalities You can contribute your talent, energy and abilities in organizing the World Expo.

During his visit to Paris, the crown prince will also lead the Saudi delegation to the Saudi-French summit on June 19, and the summit for a multinational new global financial pact to be held in Paris on June 23-24.

According to the summit’s website, Macron aims to forge “a new pact between northern and southern countries to tackle the twin challenges of climate change and global inequalities”.

The summit was last announced during the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP27, in the Egyptian Red Sea resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh.

macron at cop27
French President Emmanuel Macron announced the new global financial treaty summit to be held in Paris on November 7, 2022, during the COP27 climate conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. (Photo by Ludovic Marin / AFP / File)

Issues related to security, defense and the clean energy transition were likely high on the agenda during Friday’s meeting between the crown prince and Macron. However, undoubtedly cultural and educational ties were also discussed.

“I think they will also discuss the very active cultural cooperation that exists between our two countries, such as the project to build the largest contemporary art museum in the Arab world in AlUla or even the IMA,” Lang said. For a decade – cultural institution.

“These are some of the projects we are working on closely with the Saudi authorities, and we are pleased to be doing so.”

jack lang at alula
A curator looks on as French Culture Minister Franck Riester (R), Jack Lang (II R) of the Institute of the Arab World and Amr Al-Madani (C), CEO of the Royal Commission for AlUla, explain, “Al-Ula: Wonder of Arabia” visit the exhibition. at the Institut du Monde Arabe (IMA) in Paris on October 7, 2019. (AFP)

Lange praised the “cultural revolution” underway in Saudi Arabia, which has been marked by the opening of performance venues and the promotion of whole new creative industries – unheard of just a few years before the launch of the Kingdom’s social reform Vision 2030 and Economic Diversification Agenda.

Lange said, “We in France, at least I can say that I have a lot of admiration for what is currently being done in Saudi Arabia for me at the IMA.”

“The cultural revolution that is truly underway is visible everywhere in Jeddah, Riyadh and the rest of the country. Museums, cinema, music, all the arts are on the move, and Saudi youth are happy to participate in this great cultural movement.”

The IMA hosted Saudi Cinema Night last May and “a unique and grand exhibition at AlUla[in2019]which was inaugurated by Prince Badr (the Saudi minister of culture),” said Lang.

“It is true that the Arab World Institute and its president, from day one, believed in the sincerity of the plans launched by the Crown Prince.”

The Lang will soon host an Arab Film Festival in Jeddah in association with the Red Sea Film Festival. He says he is proud to have promoted cultural ties between France and Saudi Arabia at a time when others were skeptical about such a partnership.

“Everybody in Europe and everywhere around the world was skeptical,” Lange said.

“And furthermore, on two or three occasions, the Crown Prince, whom I specifically met in AlUla, said to me, ‘Thank you for being the first in the world to believe in the veracity of our projects.’

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