On Tuesday, March 29, 2022, U.S. Ambassador to Israel Thomas R. Nides will travel to the United Arab Emirates with UAE Ambassador to Israel Mohamed Al-Khaja, Bahraini Ambassador to Israel Khaled al-Jalahma, Israel’s Minister of Culture Yehiel Tropper. Bahraini Minister of Sports and Youth Ayman Tawfiq Muayyad, Moroccan Minister of Culture, Youth, and Communications Mohamed Bensaid, UAE Minister of Culture and Youth Noura al-Kaabi, and UAE Minister of State for Youth Shamma bint Suhail al-Mazrui will also join the VIP delegation.
These high-level officials will participate in the inaugural “Abraham Accords Festival and Games,” a day-long event planned and hosted by the government of the UAE, bringing together national soccer legends and top chefs from all of the Abraham Accords countries. The event will take place at the Expo 2020 Dubai on March 29, with the goal of deepening cultural cooperation and people-to-people ties between Abraham Accords countries.
The delegation will visit the respective national pavilions of the United States, Israel, UAE, Bahrain and Morocco at the Expo and will partake in cultural activities that honor the talents and traditions of each nation:
– Abraham Accords Games: An exhibition soccer match with top players from each country, with an “Abraham Accords Classics Team” playing against a “World Classics Team.”
The participating players on the Abraham Accords Classics Team will include Salaheddine Bassir, Noureddine Naybet, and Mustapha Hadji of Morocco; Bakheet Saad, Basheer Saeed, Humaid Fakher of the UAE; Maor Buzaglo, Tal Ben Haim and Salim Tuama from Israel; and Talal Yousif Mohamed, Faouzi Mubarak Aaish, and Mahmood Abdul Rahman Mohamed from Bahrain.
The “World Classics Team” will include Brazilian legends Kaká and Julio Cesar, Spain’s Carles Puyol and Míchel Salgado, Argentina’s Javier Saviola, Nigeria’s Jay-Jay Okocha, France’s Robert Pires, Bacary Sagna and Claude Makélélé, & Holland’s Clarence Seedorf.
· Cultural Dinner: The group will then enjoy a festive dinner prepared by top chefs from Israel, Bahrain, Morocco and the UAE, including Moroccan chef Mohammed Baya, Israeli chef Avivit Priel, Emirati chef Khaled Al Saadi, and Bahraini chefs Yusuf Zainal and Salah Zainal.
· Cultural Cooperation Declaration: The dinner will be followed by a signing ceremony for the Culture and Sport for Peace Joint Declaration between the Abraham Accords countries, which will set the stage for future collaborations.
Since the United States successfully brokered the Abraham Accords bilateral peace agreements between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain, and helped Israel and Morocco re-establish ties, there has been a blossoming of tourism, trade and cooperation between these nations. The agreements continue to be transformational in the region as a means of bolstering trade and economic ties and connecting people.
Per UAE Ambassador Mohamed Al-Khaja: “This event is part of a broader effort – whereby ongoing sports, food and cultural events serve as cement to form strong people-to-people ties between the signees of the Abraham Accords. Strong peace is based on strong relationships between the citizens of the Abraham Accords countries. We want to see the people get together to play, eat, form partnerships, friendships and have fun together.”
During the announcement of the visit, Ambassador Nides said: “As these benefits continue to grow, so do the bonds between people. The Abraham Accords Festival and Games at the Expo is an opportunity to forge long-lasting connections between athletes, restauranteurs, and other doers and makers who have created such vibrant societies in the UAE, Israel, Morocco and Bahrain. This is what peace looks like.”