By Duncan Mackay

Princess_Haya_at_FEI_inauguration_Lausanne_May_6_2011May 8 - A new headquarters for the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) has been opened in the Olympic capital of Lausanne by Princess Haya.

Almost 200 guests attended the ceremony at HM King Hussein I Building, which has been named after the FEI President's late father HM King Hussein I of Jordan.

The Infanta Doña Pilar de Borbón, the former President of the FEI between 1994 and 2006, attended the inauguration alongside HRH Princess Lalla Amina, the chair of the Royal Moroccan Federation for Equestrian Sports and member of the international Advisory Council of Special Olympics.

They were joined by International Olympic Committee (IOC) members, representatives from other International Federations and the federal and local Swiss authorities.

The inauguration of the new headquarters was timed to coincide with today's FEI Extraordinary General Assembly, so that attending National Federation representatives could also join in the celebrations.

The FEI's new headquarters, which were gifted to the Federation by Princess Haya in 2007 following a personal fundraising effort, are located close to the IOC and other international sports federations.

It has been written into the FEI Statutes that the new headquarters building will always house the Federation's offices.

As well as housing offices for its 62 employees and conference facilities for its 133 National Federations, the new headquarters also has a state-of-the-art interactive gallery showcasing equestrian sport.

The interactive gallery will be open to the general public to help people of all ages discover or re-discover human and equine athletes whose talents have marked equestrian history and inspired young riders, drivers and vaulters around the world.

Switzerland's Martin Fuchs, a member of the gold medal winning team at the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in Singapore last year, accompanied Princess Haya in officially opening the new headquarters.

"The building we are inaugurating today has been designed to serve our wonderful sport," said Princess Haya.

"I also feel an immense sense of pride knowing that this building carries the name of my late father and hope that this serves as a constant reminder to all of us who work at the FEI of a unique statesman, whose entire soul was devoted to the service of his people.

"Our new headquarters will play a key role for the FEI and our National Federations over the coming years.

"It will be the environment in which important discussions take place and fundamental decisions are taken as we continue our mission to advance the orderly growth of equestrian sport worldwide, while ensuring that the welfare of the horse and a level playing field remain at the centre of all that we do."

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]