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Pakistan Pavilion’s spectacular run at the Expo 2020 ended on a high note with it being awarded second place for ‘exhibition design’ by the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), the international agency behind the global fair.

The BIE Awards ceremony was held on Wednesday evening. Split into five different categories according to the size and type of pavilion, the Official Participant Awards recognised three aspects of pavilions: architecture and landscape (for self-built pavilions only), exhibition design, and theme interpretation.

A total of 51 gold, silver and bronze awards were handed out during the ceremony, which took place in Jubilee Park on the Expo 2020 Dubai site.

Pakistan Pavilion received the silver award for Exhibition Design in the Self-built pavilions - Category A (larger than 2,500 metres-square), Japan won gold and Spain bagged bronze.

The awards evaluated the interior design of the Pavilion, the exhibits and their relation to the 2020 Expo theme, ‘Connecting Minds, Connecting the Future.’

Speaking to Business Recorder, Noorjehan Bilgrami, the pavilion's principal curator, said, “I am overwhelmed with gratitude to be awarded the prestigious silver award in the Large & XL Pavilions Interior Design Category. Credit goes to my brilliant and dedicated team of craft-persons, film makers, artists, musicians, and scholars who contributed creatively to the spectacular inner journey of ‘Pakistan: The Hidden Treasure’.

“I am humbled by the enormity of the award and delighted about the recognition Pakistan has received at a global level! The spirit of creative teamwork has made it possible.”

Rizwan Tariq, Pavilion Director, said; “This is a great moment for us all. Six months flew by and what we have created here is history. The world has seen the real Pakistan through this platform. I dedicate this award to the entire team who has worked tirelessly for making this a success.”

The recipients of the Official Participant Awards were decided by an international jury composed of nine experts in a range of relevant fields. The jury visited each international pavilion during the course of two sessions in January and March of this year.

Held on the eve of the closing of the Expo, the Awards Ceremony also included attribution of BIE medals, celebrating all those who have made major contributions to the success of this World Expo.

Expressing his sentiments, Umar Riaz, a film maker involved in the pavilion, said, “Principal curator, Noorjehan Bilgrami and her team poured their hearts and souls into this project for years. My congratulations to them and my forever gratitude to Bilgrami for letting me play a little role via the Shish Mahal corridor.”

Noor Ahmed, who was a part of the curatorial team, told Business Recorder, “This award is testament to Pakistan’s diverse history, culture and potential. I'm so humbled to have played a part in curating our Pavilion and telling this story about my country on the world's stage - a story about Pakistan, narrated by Pakistanis.”

Earlier in the week, the pavilion was also honoured with the ‘Best Expo 2020 Exterior Design Pavilion’ at the 5th edition of the Burj CEO Awards, dubbed as the Oscars of the business world. The celebrated artist behind the extraordinary façade design, Rashid Rana, was awarded Sitara-i-Imtiaz on March 23.

In a tweet, Abdul Razak Dawood, advisor to the PM for Commerce and Investment, wrote, “We would like to thank our creative team, especially Noorjehan Bilgrami for Interior and Rashid Rana for Exterior, for their creativity in showing the actual Pakistan to a broader audience. Last but not least our team at the Ministry of Commerce, TDAP, our Embassy in UAE and Ambassador Afzal Mahmood without their dedication, it wouldn’t have been possible to put on such a great show. Pakistan Zindabad!”

Expo 2020 ended with a glitzy line up of events across the sprawling event venue, with the spectacular official ceremony held at the Al Wasl Dome.