A word from the Ambassador
Australian Ambassador H.E. Pablo Kang
In light of the awful terrorist attacks in Paris, I would like to remind all Australians in the UAE to register with Smartraveller at http://smartraveller.gov.au/. This tool allows the Embassy to effectively assist Australians here, and their families back home, in the unlikely event of a crisis. The Minister for Foreign Affairs has recently launched the new Smartraveller advertising campaign, which coincided with a refreshed Smartraveller website, new android app, an updated iPhone app, and simplified registration system.
I have just been in Australia, taking part in the third annual Austrade Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Connect Seminar series with colleagues from the region, including our Ambassadors in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. ‘The Roadshow’, as we refer to it, aims to promote the Gulf and Morocco as destinations for trade and investment for Australian companies, and thereby raise the awareness of the commercial potential of the region in general. This year we were able to cover Sydney, Queensland (Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast), Perth, Adelaide and Melbourne. The main format of the series were seminars conducted with Australian exporters, plus some side meetings with state governments, fund managers, business umbrella groups, local government mayors and exporters. There was a noticeable amount of interest in potential opportunities for Australian businesses with Iran, should Iran demonstrate their compliance with the recently concluded Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (‘the nuclear deal’) and the economic sanctions (including Australia’s own autonomous sanctions) be lifted as a result.
During this time, there were a number of Ministerial visits and transits that the Embassy assisted. The Hon Greg Hunt MP, Minister for the Environment, visited Dubai on 3-5 November for the 27th Meeting of the Parties to the Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer ('the Montreal Protocol'). Australia’s engagement at a ministerial level in the conference was received well by the UAE, who take a leading role in progressing the Montreal Protocol. The Hon Ken Baston MLC, Western Australian Minister for Agriculture and Food; Fisheries also visited the UAE, in order to promote WA agribusiness exports to the Gulf. He spoke at AusBG’s Food Security Forum on 1 November, in conjunction with Dr Thani Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Director of Energy and Climate Change at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Looking forward on the visits front, December will see a visit by a delegation from the Trade Sub-Committee of the Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade, as part of their ongoing inquiry into Australia’s trade and investment relationships with the Middle East.
At the start of October, the Embassy assisted with Fashion Advocate's International Leadership Tour to the UAE from 6 - 13 October, which brought eight young, Indigenous women from remote Western Australian communities to the UAE. The Leadership Tour aimed to empower participants by building self-esteem and confidence, developing entrepreneurial skills and broadening their horizons, through the medium of art and fashion entrepreneurship. I hosted a fashion and art show for the group on 7 October, which showcased high quality Aboriginal designs and artworks to a mixed Emirati/expatriate audience. The tour participants modelled pieces from Kaninda Designs by Lilla Gagliano, Ae'lkemi by Perth-based designer Alvin Fernandez, and Cygnet Bay Pearls, along a catwalk set-up at the Residence. Indigenous artworks and artefacts from the Pilbara region were displayed for sale within the residence and a presentation on these was given by one of the group's mentors. The Embassy was also able to set up meetings for the group with Emirati and local fashion designers, from which a number of potential collaborations have emerged. "Fashion diplomacy" in action!
Here’s looking forward to a busy period in the lead-up to Christmas! On a final note, I would like to thank both ABCD and AusBG for generously hosting farewells for Rebecca and I. Four years has gone very quickly and it has been a pleasure to work constructively with our business community in the UAE to promote Team Australia. I would also like to wish my successor, Arthur Spyrou, and his wife Britt, all the best when they take up their assignment in early January.