t=”_blank”>Yeosu World Expo.
When first told that the Maldives’ National Day ceremonies would be held today at the Expo Hall, only a few token phrases that I vaguely remembered from middle school geography came to mind—archipelago, tropical, islands. Apart from these buzz words, I was a little ashamed to admit that I wasn’t completely sure where exactly in the world the Maldives were located.
As I found out soon enough during the ceremony at the Expo Hall, the Republic of Maldives is an island nation off the southwestern coast of India. It is a chain of twenty-six atolls, whose pristine beaches, vibrant coral reefs, quaint pier-side bungalows, and sapphire-blue waters make the entire country look like one giant screensaver. The national day ceremonies consisted of a line-up of traditional Maldivian performances, courtesy of half a dozen colorfully dressed dancers twirling with colorful pottery and traditional Maldivian drums.
But despite all the flashy costumes and the lighthearted lilting music, what struck me the most about the national day ceremony were the Maldives Foreign Ambassador’s opening comments about his tiny, but breathtaking, nation. As one of the countries most susceptible to rising sea levels brought on by climate change, the Maldives are facing a slew of environmental challenges. The Ambassador’s discussion of these problems was made all the more poignant by his desperation to protect and preserve his country’s gorgeous landscapes and equally beautiful culture. The longer the world waits to address climate change aggressively, the more likely it is that the Maldives, the country of screensavers, will in fact be visible only in screensavers.
This entry reflects the author’s personal judgments and does not represent the views of the United States Government or the Department of State.