How is Dubai getting ready for Expo 2020?

Dubai’s bid win in 2013 paved the way for a flurry of activity, as the emirate looks to Milan – as well as beefing up its own preparations – for its 2020 Expo

This time last year, the UAE won the right to host the World Expo in Dubai in 2020. The institution, which has been around since the first Great Fair of 1851 in London (which was so successful that proceeds from the event were used to build the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum), has continued to be one of the largest and most enduring global mega-events.

Lasting six months, World Expos attract millions of visitors who explore and discover pavilions, exhibits and cultural events staged by hundreds of participants including nations, multilateral organisations and businesses.

Dubai’s World Expo is held under the theme of Connecting Minds, Creating the Future, echoing the powerful spirit of partnership and co-operation that has driven the UAE’s success in pioneering new paths of development and innovation.

We want volunteers to speak the languages of the people who will be visiting – Japanese, Chinese, German, French

Khaled Al Kamda, CDA director general

And as the UAE marks the one-year anniversary of the bid win, progress is being made to bring these themes to life.

Speaking in Paris, His Excellency Mohammed Ibrahim Al Shaibani, Director-General of the Ruler’s Court, and Vice-Chairman of Expo 2020 Dubai Higher Committee, said that over the last 12 months, they have worked to lay a solid foundation to allow for the world-class delivery of this event, and its subsequent legacy taking Dubai well beyond 2020.

“What is important, over the next six years, is that we create an environment that will stimulate demand generated across diverse sectors, directly and indirectly, and that we link this demand to the delivery, operation and service needs of the Expo. This demand will be a catalyst for growth for businesses across the wider region – from raw materials and manufacturing, to products and services providers.”

The emirate is also looking to Milan to increase momentum, whose 2015 theme is: ‘Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life’. Expo 2020 Dubai will showcase within the UAE pavilion, providing it with a dynamic platform to build awareness for potential visitors.

Al Wasl plaza
Artist rendering of Al Wasl plaza, which will be the hub of the Expo site

Youth involvement will also be a priority focus in 2015 with efforts to engage volunteers for Expo Milan 2015 ramping up. Dubai’s Community Development Authority (CDA) has developed a plan it is ready to present to furnish Dubai’s World Expo with 30,000 volunteers by 2020.

The number of volunteers registered with the CDA-established Dubai Volunteering Centre has already risen dramatically, from 690 in its first year to more than 7,000 now. “Volunteers see how much they can contribute to the community. But it’s not just about the feel-good factor; we give people skills they can also use in their own lives too,” says Khaled Al Kamda, CDA’s director general; “We’re building a lifestyle of giving.”

As in Sochi, the emphasis for Expo 2020 is on youth involvement. “We’re building the momentum now. You need to work with people of different ages who will be 18, 19 years old by 2020 and give them the opportunity to learn,” explains Al Kamda. “We want volunteers to speak the languages of the people who will be visiting – Japanese, Chinese, German, French.”

“In merely one year, Expo 2020 Dubai has set a fast and productive pace,” said His Excellency Al Shaibani. The 2015 strategy will focus on harnessing the convening power of the World Expo and of the UAE to inspire global creativity and stimulate new partnerships and dialogue,” he added.