It was an extraordinary evening and a pious experience as the UAE flag fluttered in the Vatican when the 300-plus delegates here in Rome to attend the HH Sheikh Mansoor Festival’s World Arabian Horse Racing Conference (WAHRC) visited the Vatican Galleries as special guests on Wednesday evening.
It was the message of love and peace that the Arabian horse racing fraternity carried, led by Dr. Hissa Abdulla Al Otaiba, Ambassador of State to Spain and Non Resident envoy to the Vatican, HE Saqr Nasser Al Raisi, UAE Ambassador to Italy, HE Sulaiman Al Mazroui, UAE Ambassador to Belgium, Dr. Abdulla Elreyes, Director General of the National Archives, Saudi Prince Abdul Rahman Al-Sudairy and Ms Lara Sawaya, Executive Director of the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival, Chairperson of Int’l Federation of Horse Racing Academies (IFHRA) and Chairperson of Ladies & Apprentice Racing Committees in the International Federation of Arabian Horse Racing Authorities (IFAHR) among others.
The HH Sheikh Mansoor Festival delegation was received by the Chief of Protocol at the Vatican, Jose Avelino Bittencourt and Michael Crotty, Official of Secretary of State at the Vatican.
HE Dr. Hissa and Ms Sawaya along with the other UAE envoys presented the Vatican a painting ‘Mercy’ – the painting is a work of art written in Arabic calligraphy and inspired by the Dome of the magnificent Sheikh Zayed Mosque and indicates that all religions are united by the mercy of God Almighty.
HE Dr Al Otaiba highlighted the pursuit of world peace by the UAE leadership. “It’s a big honor for me to greet you from the holy city, the Vatican, on the occasion of His Highness Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival’s WAHRC.
“It is a pleasure to be the first Non Resident Ambassador of my country to the Vatican since 2010. Our President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan – May God protect him – and the UAE leadership promote tolerance as a key factor and a meeting point between the peoples and governments that are working together to achieve peace and prosperity.”
“There is no doubt that sport is a universal language enjoyed by the whole world and the United Arab Emirates is proud of its global role in sport in general and Arabian horses in particular. Arabian horses are the legacy of our fathers and grandfathers and carry the meaning of honor and pride, strength, loyalty and tolerance which are also the qualities enjoyed by the people of the UAE.”
Dr. Abdulla Elreyes stated that the UAE population comprises of 10 per cent Emiratis and 90 per cent drawn from over 200 nationalities, all living in peace and harmony.
The delegation, which comprised representatives of over 80 countries spent about four hours at the Vatican galleries. With English, French and Arabic translators facilitated by the Vatican Protocol Department, the delegation toured the galleries which houses historical manuscripts and works of art dating back more than 2,500 years! The visit ended with a gala dinner at the Vatican Galleries itself.
The HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival is sustained by the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority and coordinated by Abu Dhabi Sports Council, with National Feed and Flour Production and Marketing Co. LLC as associate sponsors, IPIC as Strategic Partner, The National Archives as the official partner and Emirates airline as the official carriers, in cooperation with Emirates Racing Authority, IFAHR, Emirates Arabian Horse Society, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, General Authority of Youth and Sports Welfare and sponsored by Al Aweer Stables, Ayadii LLC, Global United Veterinary Services LLC, Bloom, Petromal, Rise General Trading Co. LLC, Hayatna, Wathba Stallions, Abu Dhabi Falconers Club, Emirates Falconers Club, Mohamed Bin Zayed Falconry and Desert Physiognomy School, Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), Al Awani General Enterprises, Kabale, Omeir Travels, Dr Nader Saab Switzerland, Laboratories Fadia Karam Cosmetics, YAS Channel, Racing Post, Paris Turf, Al Wathba Centre, the UAE’s General Women’s Union, The Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, the HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy, Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition 2016, Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, Eastern Mangroves Suites-Abu Dhabi by Jannah, Anantara Eastern Mangroves Spa and Resort.