By Najeeb Mohammed Al-Ali
Predictions For 2020: As the first World Expo to be held in the Middle East, 2020 will be the year the Arab world will get to promote its culture, heritage and values on a global stage.
The beginning of a new year is always a time for optimism and hope. For all of us at Expo 2020 Dubai, 2020 is the year we’ve been waiting for when all our hard work to stage the next World Expo – the first in our region – finally comes to fruition.
There’s now little more than 10 months left until we open our doors to the world on October 20 for a once-in-a-lifetime celebration that will convene artists and academics, pop stars and pioneering thinkers, culinary wizards and corporate gurus, tech pioneers and leaders of tomorrow.
While the team at Expo 2020 are busy putting the finishing touches to the most international World Expo ever held, the excitement is bubbling within our country, our region and beyond.
As the first World Expo to be held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia, Expo 2020 represents a unique opportunity for the Arab world to promote its culture, heritage and values on a global stage.
"This is a bold vision indeed, but we cannot conceive of a more compelling goal to drive us forward as we begin a new year"
It will also highlight our central role in sparking solutions and inspiring innovations from all over the planet, with the UAE, a nation built on tolerance and inclusivity and home to 200 nationalities, as its proud host.
At its heart, Expo 2020 is also a chance to help bring about a fairer world: to tackle the challenges of extreme poverty and inequality; to address climate change; and to accelerate the pace of human development. It is a moment to be optimistic – to celebrate what humanity has achieved so far and ignite the momentum to tackle the issues encountered by each and every one of us.
In the face of today’s challenges, none of us can afford to stand on the sidelines. Indeed, our core commitment to connect minds and create the future is based on the undisputable fact that we achieve so much more when we all pull together.
As we reflect on the progress we have made so far and look forward to the opening of the next World Expo on October 20, this is what excites us the most.
Take Al Wasl dome, the jewel of the Expo 2020 site, crowned in a truly inspiring feat of precision engineering in just one of the many major construction milestones reached in 2019.
Designed by American architects, made from raw steel sourced in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland, shaped into its beautiful flowing curves in Belgium, Germany and Spain, and moulded into its iconic intricate latticing in Italy, it embodies the inherently international nature of Expo 2020 – an impressive physical representation of what can be achieved when nations work together.
Very soon, we will have the privilege of seeing more than 200 participants come together in one place, not just for a few days but for a sustained, six-month period. For 173 days, 192 participating nations will work side by side with international organisations and social enterprises, sharing knowledge with the brightest minds from the corporate and academic world.
Just think of the opportunities for knowledge sharing and new ways of collaborating. What new relationships will be forged? What fresh solutions will we discover? What innovative answers will come from unexpected sources? The possibilities are endless.
Human ingenuity knows no boundaries – and by embracing global collaboration, we can transform challenges into opportunities, allowing great ideas to thrive and their benefits to be amplified worldwide.
We are ready to deliver The World’s Greatest Show – a six-month spectacle where visitors will witness cutting-edge architecture, world-class arts and entertainment, mesmerising sensory experiences, a cultural extravaganza and a brand-new technological reality.
It will be a place where the extraordinary will be made everyday, through attractions, activations and programming in 192 Country Pavilions and across the wider site.
But it is also a pledge to deliver not just enter-tainment, but meaningful engagement and a chance to make a lasting change – for the six months of the event and for generations to come. We are expecting 25 million visits – that means 25 million opportunities to make a conscious difference, 25 million chances to take action and 25 million ways in which humanity can realise its full potential.
Expo 2020 is a powerful opportunity to magnify important messages on issues that resonate around the world, inviting us all to play our part in a better future for everyone – a future that is based on shared global visions and built on collaboration, tolerance and resilience.
This is a bold vision indeed, but we cannot conceive of a more compelling goal to drive us forward as we begin a new year and the final leg of our enthralling journey to Expo 2020. We hope you will be there.