In a dazzling end to a memorable week, the Jubilee Games Closing Ceremony was a kaleidoscope of colour, dance, music, photos, and inspiring words.
His Highness Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum — son of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai — joined the crowd of 12,000 in bidding farewell to the Games.
Dr Mahmoud Eboo, Chairman of the Ismaili Leaders’ International Forum, welcomed Sheikh Mansoor to the ceremony.
“My first and most important responsibility is to convey the Ismaili community’s very warm thanks to the Rulers and Government of the United Arab Emirates for their support,” said Dr Eboo. He specifically expressed gratitude to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Dubai Sports Council and the Dubai World Trade Centre for their support in hosting the Games.
The LIF Chairman also told the crowd that the next Jubilee Games will be held in 2020, and said the process to select a host country is already well underway.
To mark the conclusion of the 2016 Jubilee Games, the fawanees were removed one-by-one and returned to delegates selected to represent each team. Sheikh Mansoor then switched off the main Jubilee Games Fanous.
A series of performances and video memoirs took place throughout the ceremony. The notion of a kaleidoscope was at the heart of the event — a nod to the Peterson Lecture delivered by Mawlana Hazar Imam during his 2008 Golden Jubilee visit to the United States.
At that time he spoke of a “kaleidoscope of different identities” present particularly in the developing world, and “the need to establish connecting bonds across cultures” while preserving a “special sense of self” for each culture.
Eight years later, over 70 artists from Afghanistan, Canada, France, India, Kenya, Pakistan, Tajikistan, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States provided a unique and original interpretation of this concept.
“What blew me away was the depth and breadth of the quality of our performers and the fact they wanted to come and be part of the Jubilee Games,” said Sajida H. Shroff, implementation manager of the Closing Ceremony. The performances featured talented Ismaili women and men who were chosen through a rigorous selection process that started a year ago.
The Al Azhar Garden Pipe Band from Karachi and the Parkour team from Pakistan led the procession of athletes. Mazij AlMusiqaa, a group of musicians put together through the Jamati Talent Identification Process, performed a specially curated piece under the the direction of Salim-Sulaiman.This was followed by a memorable beat boxing performance by Mohamed Haroon, which had thousands of audience members clapping along.
Finally, Salim-Sulaiman — who’ve generously given themselves to the Jubilee Games by performing concerts, leading a workshop on the music industry, and composing the Jubilee Games’ theme song Believe — took the stage and nearly blew the roof off the hall.
While the colours of the dancers’ outfits and the backdrops were breathtaking in their variety, the athletes themselves were dressed the same. They entered the hall together — no longer separated by country.
Their message was clear: they had arrived in Dubai as teams, ready to compete with one another. In the end, they were a unified family standing as one.