Experience Southeast Asia in Dubai

First Asean Festival promises to give a platform for different cultures to connect

Dubai: Five communities representing the Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean) will host the first Asean Festival in Dubai as a platform for different cultures to connect through food, fun and games, workshops and live performances this weekend.


Asean has 10 member countries — Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. It is regional association that promotes economic, political, and security cooperation among its members.

Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand with business councils in the UAE joined hands in 2016 to form the Asean Business Councils Alliance (ABCA).

“The ABCA hopes to bridge our culture and connect our people with the Emiratis and other expat communities in Dubai. We want the Asean Festival to be an inclusive experience for all, fostering friendship and understanding,” Bobbie Carella, chairperson of the Philippine Business Council – Dubai and the Northern Emirates (PBC-DNE), told Gulf News.

“We want this festival to be a platform for our people to demonstrate their talents and skills. And finally, we want this event to exhibit to the different communities in UAE that there is unity in diversity among us Asean,” she added.

Carella said attendees can expect to delight their senses with Asean-themed street foods and various fun-filled and engaging activities for all ages — caricature drawing, sneaker art, Heguru workshop, live performances, films, and more this weekend.

“It’s going to be festive, it’s going to be celebratory, it’s going to be thrilling. With the breathtaking view of the Dubai skyline, experience the Asean way — taste it, see it, hear it, feel it. There is something for everybody. Join us this Friday and Saturday — everybody’s welcome,” Carella said.

Asean festival

WHERE: The Rise, Dubai Creek Harbour

When: February 9 and 10; 12pm to 8pm

What to expect: Asean-themed street foods, arts and crafts, kids’ zone, fashion shows, live music, karaoke, film and more

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