The 2022 Commonwealth Games Queen’s Baton Relay arrived in Dubai on Wednesday and was taken to the University of Birmingham at the International Academic City.

Following this, the Queen’s Baton was carried in the Roads and Transport Authority’s (RTA) electric car signifying the UAE’s commitment to sustainable transport in the future.

Having launched at Buckingham Palace in October 2021, the Baton is now on an epic journey visiting 72 Commonwealth nations and territories in 294 days ahead of the Games’ opening ceremony in Birmingham on 28 July 2022.

Speaking to one of the official baton-bearers in Dubai and the Chancellor of the University of Birmingham, Lord Karan Bilimoria, opined, “The UAE is the only non-Commonwealth country that the baton is visiting. It was at the University of Birmingham campus in Dubai before it goes to the Dubai Expo 2020 tomorrow (Thursday) and then we will have the UK Day at Expo and the Baton will also visit other Commonwealth countries at the mega fair. So, it’s real serendipity that everything has come together –these aspects of Birmingham University, Dubai, the Commonwealth Games, the Baton relay, the UK day tomorrow – all came together today. So, it’s been a very special day for us.”

On its journey, the Baton is collecting data samples to invite conversations around global air quality as the Queen’s Baton is fitted with atmospheric sensors that analyses environmental conditions wherever it has travelled.

Shedding light on how the University of Birmingham has been instrumental in the design of this baton, Lord Bilimoria further says, “This baton has been made with materials of aluminum, copper, brass and of course platinum because this is her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum jubilee – 70th anniversary on the throne. The baton is very hi-tech. It is fitted with atmospheric sensors that analyses environmental conditions wherever it is in the world.”

He adds, “This data will be evaluated by one of the University of Birmingham’s world experts in pollution and atmosphere, Professor Francis Pope. It also measures the heartbeat of whoever is holding the baton and has a camera fitted on it too. So, it has all the AI elements to it.”

He highlighted the data collected on the Baton’s journey will contribute to ongoing global environmental research projects.

Reiterating on how today’s event been a joint effort by the teams of the University of Birmingham in the UK and Dubai, and the emirate’s education regulator, the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA),

Lord Bilimoria avers, “Dr Abdulla Al Karam Chairman of the Board of Directors and Director General of the KHDA was here this morning. Several members of the Birmingham team including the Provost was here, one of the deputy vice chancellors was here. We got the leaders of the Birmingham city council, the chief executive of the Birmingham city council was here, the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s envoy for the Middle East Lord Edward Lister was here at this event. The Consular General from the embassy of the UK was also present. We also saw the presence of the President of the Commonwealth Games, Dame Louise Martin. It was a very important moment for the emirate, for Birmingham, for the UK and the Commonwealth Games.”

Explaining his experience on being a baton-bearer, Lord Bilimoria underlined, “I was one of the official baton bearers at the University and this was a real honour for me.” He added, “I had two of our undergraduate (Indian) students doing this as well. They accompanied me as we carried the baton into the university building. When we carried the baton in, we were alongside a camel named Lucky. When we left the building, the baton was driven away in an electric vehicle by the RTA. So, sustainability has been a key driver of innovation here.”

Source: Nandimi Sircar