The ceremony featured actor Rami Malek reciting a rousing poem by Amanda Gorman as well as performances composed by Thomas Roussel.
It’s impossible to truly describe the scale of the Al Wasl Plaza and Dome at Expo 2020 Dubai. From the outside, it’s among other impressive structures that over 200 countries constructed for the expo that comes to a close at the end of March 2022. But stepping inside reveals a towering, warm; even romantic space. It is at once being indoor and out, with a rich interior illuminated by extensive ceiling animations making full use of the mesmerizing and sculptural dome and a Wizard of Oz-like tiered garden. The spectacular ceiling even included a digital work by artist eL Seed, who also worked on the Women’s Pavilion exterior. The feeling inside the dome was warm: “Come inside, see how much good there is”.
And indeed, as the ceremony began, crowds filled the outer edges of the space as host and former Cartier Women’s Initiative fellow Liz Forkin Bohannon began to welcome guests, from dignitaries and friends of the Cartier Maison to this years’ Impact Award winners, who enjoyed their own awards ceremony earlier in the week. Onlookers and guests alike were inspired by a series of instrumental and vocal pieces composed by French artist Thomas Roussel.
Those in attendance or viewing online witnessed live and virtual remarks by European Central Bank head Christine Lagarde, Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director General of the Expo, Cyrille Vigneron, President and CEO of Cartier International, Sophie Dioreau, CEO of Cartier Middle East and Africa, and many others. The evening was punctuated by flourishes of dancing, orchestral works, and singing by a variety of talented artists.
Particularly striking was the recitation by award-winning actor and women’s ally Rami Malek (Mr. Robot, Bohemian Rhapsody), who offered a poem from poet laureate Amanda Gorman, recognizing how his gender has obstructed the progress of women, and how he wishes to participate in a ‘new day’ that is more open, more receptive, and even more patient. View the entire poem recitation here.
Now in its 108th year, the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day was “Break the Bias”, and through an inclusive platform including talks, forums, performances, a full-scale pavilion, and much more, Expo 2020 Dubai and Cartier brought together representatives from governments, corporations, and change-makers from around the world to help drive gender equality and women’s empowerment and end silent discrimination. Cartier’s effort’s have always been in lock-step with global initiatives such as International Women’s Day and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, which Cartier’s Women Initiative Awards are aligned with.
None of this was in vain for Cartier or Expo 2020 Dubai. Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director General, Expo 2020 Dubai, said at the closing ceremony of the forum, “Our three-day celebrations to mark this year’s International Women’s Day are a testament to the vision shared with our partners at Cartier, that when women thrive, humanity thrives – as embodied across the exhibition and programming at the Women’s Pavilion here at Expo 2020 Dubai. The conversations had and the perceptions changed – across these past three days and every day of our Expo so far – are a result of our ongoing commitment to further gender equality and women’s empowerment, celebrating female talent and catalyzing urgently-needed change that goes beyond quotas and capacity-building measures.”
Those in attendance of the ceremony included film director Nadine Labaki (Capernaum), actress and producer Juliet Gayet, and Dhaffer L’Abidine, as well as actors Hend Sabry and Edgar Ramirez – a HeforShe Ambassador.