The much-coveted awards attributed by the Bureau International des Expositions-BIE has been announced in Korea on the eve of the closing ceremony of the Yeosu International Expo. For the first time since Seychelles is participating in world expos and international expos, its pavilion has received one of the prestigious awards: the Silver Award for Creative Display, in the “joint pavilions” category that included half of the 100 countries participating in Yeosu (Gold went to Gabon and Bronze to Papua New Guinea). Countries having received Silver Awards in other pavilion categories included France, Russia, Singapore, Lithuania, and United Arab Emirates.
Ambassador Le Gall, also Commissioner for Seychelles, was handed the trophy by Mr. Soon-Kee Park, a top executive in Yeosu’s Organizing Committee. In his remarks, Mr. Le Gall said it is a rare distinction for a small island country such as Seychelles to have been selected by the 9-member jury of the BIE, one of the oldest international organizations with 161 member states. It reflects Seychelles’ total commitment to the ocean-focused cause advocated by the Yeosu Expo, which is in full harmony with the blue economy concept Seychelles government is using proactively in its development policy, in partnership with the Indian Ocean Commission and a number of NGOs, in particular Nature Seychelles.
Mr. Le Gall added that the presence of President James Michel – who was accompanied by Minister Rolph Payet – at the opening ceremony on May 12, and the participation of Minister Jean-Paul Adam in Seychelles’ Special Day on June 18, have given Seychelles a lot of visibility during the 3-month long exhibition, during which an average of 15,000 people visited Seychelles’ pavilion every day, and up to 20,000 during the last 3 weeks.
Finally, Seychelles’ envoy said that the country’s successful participation in both Shanghai 2010 and Yeosu 2012 complements the increasing diplomatic role Seychelles is playing on the international scene and adds to its eligibility to be given new responsibilities, especially at the UN level.
Stating that it is more than 2 years of hard work that has been rewarded (Seychelles was also an elected member of Yeosu’s Expo Steering Committee) Mr. Le Gall expressed his deep appreciation to the former SG of IOC, Ambassador Callixte d’Offay, to the CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board, Mrs. Elsia Grandcourt; to the CEO of Nature Seychelles, Dr. Nirmal Jivan Shah; and to Seychelles Honorary Consul General in Korea, Mr. Dong Chang Jeong, for their support.
Special thanks were addressed by Mr. Le Gall to the Pavilion Director, Mr. Li Huanhuan, for his remarkable dedication to the promotion of Seychelles in Yeosu since April and to the 2 Seychellois Tourism Board staff who worked as pavilion assistants, Jean-Luc Lai Lam and Mavreen Pouponneau, who spent several weeks at the expo site.
It is to be noted that international expos and world expos are, with the Olympics and FIFA World Cup, the most important global events.