The Maldives Coral Institute (MCI) will host a ‘Coral Festival 2023’ in Addu, Hithadhoo from 28-30 April, bringing together scientists, NGOs, politicians, environmentalists, and members of the public to celebrate the Maldives’ coral reefs and marine ecosystems.
The Festival, held over three days, will feature prominent Maldivian and international scientists and marine experts for discussions and workshops about corals and how best to protect them in the era of climate change. The festival will also include music, culture, art and Southern food, as well as shops, interactive stalls, and games and activities for children.
The Festival will be held at the Maldives National University campus in Hithadhoo, and entrance is free.
Speaking about the Festival, MCI vice-chairperson Aya Naseem said: “We cannot hope to protect our coral reef ecosystems unless we understand and appreciate them. This is what this festival is all about, promoting a love for and an understanding of corals.”
Aya said that while the Festival will include scientific-themed workshops, the majority of festival events are aimed at the general public and children so that everybody can participate.
The first two days of the Festival will take place at the MNU campus, with the third and final day dedicated to excursions, including a chance to dive with manta rays, visit and snorkel off Addu’s UNESCO nature park, and visit Hulhumeedhoo and its nature park.
Held just a few months before the 2023 presidential election, the Coral Festival will also provide an opportunity for members of the public to hear from different politicians about their plans for environmental protection. Leaders from all the major political parties have been invited to the Festival.
MCI last held a coral festival in early 2020, just before the pandemic. The 2020 festival took place in Kaafu, Thulusdhoo, and brought together the local community, scientists, NGOs, environmental activists, ocean experts, schoolchildren and university students, industry representatives, artists, and the country’s top politicians, including President Ibrahim Solih, President Nasheed, cabinet ministers, and senior President’s Office officials.
The Coral Festival 2023 is being held in conjunction with Maldives National University. Sponsors include National Democratic Institute, Waitt Institute, Noo Raajje, Soneva, Atmosphere Hotels and Resorts, Equator Village, Pebbles, and Maldivian airlines.