UAE | General

Expo 2020: Little hands on a big mission

Thousands of children join ultimate crossroads initiative at Meydan Imax to support Dubai’s bid for Expo 2020

  • By Elisar Sasso, Special to Gulf News
  • Published: 14:11 November 8, 2013
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Abdel-krim Kallouche/Gulf News
  • Students sign the campaign petition in support of Dubai’s Expo 2020 bid at Meydan Dubai.

Dubai: With only weeks to go until the deciding vote on who hosts the next world’s fair, supporting campaigns and initiatives continue to help promote Dubai’s pledge to host Expo 2020.

Both expatriates and UAE nationals treasure what Dubai offers to all nationalities and the many opportunities the city continues to provide for all ages.
Citizens living in this city of dreams can help support Dubai’s bid in some way, the questions is — how?

The largest screen in the Middle East and Asia, spacious enough to seat 562 people, has opened its doors to the public for nine days in an initiative dubbed Ultimate Crossroads.

From November 6 to 14 the public has the opportunity to go to Meydan’s Imax theatre to watch Ultimate Airport Dubai being shown 10 times daily — free of charge. 

The National Geographic documentary is a 10-part series behind-the-scenes making of Dubai International’s three colossal terminals, including Terminal 3 that is the largest airport terminal in the world — capable of handling 43 million passengers a year. 

“Initially the screenings were meant to end on November 9, but due to so many requests to participate in this initiative, we had to extend the screening days for an extra week,” said Ken Peralta, head of educational programmes at Meydan Imax.
This initiative aims to attract 10,000 students and families from more than 150 nationalities — also working with 300 schools and 70 colleges/universities such as Gems Wellington School, Al Khaleej National School and Emirates Aviation College.

“A lot of schools and parents were wondering how the children could get involved in helping Dubai’s pledge for Expo 2020. This initiative is a perfect opportunity for children to get involved. When these young kids grow up, they will look back on this occasion and remember how they did their part to support Dubai’s bid for Expo 2020,” said Peralta.

During the opening day of the initiative, His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, made an unexpected appearance prompting as many as 500 students in the Imax theatre to stand, cheer and clap.

To show such a film as part of this campaign greatly reflects Dubai’s multicultural society — showing multiple nationalities working together to build this city. According to John Smithson, director of Ultimate Airport Dubai, TV audiences around the world are fascinated by the incredible growth of Dubai Airport and how it is changing the global face of aviation and making Dubai one of the top world crossroads.


“Ultimate Airport Dubai was chosen because it is the latest footage about Dubai and its airport. A country’s airport is the first impression you get when arriving in a new city, therefore airports reflect greatly what a country is like,” said Peralta.

When visiting the Imax theatre, members of the public have the opportunity to contribute towards helping Dubai win Expo 2020 by signing a campaign petition on four large boards in the main lobby of the Imax theatre.

This petition will then be sent to the BIE (Bureau of International Expositions) committee in Paris, asking them to grant Dubai the right to hold the world expo 2020. The “Ultimate Crossroads” initiative is receiving generous support from stakeholders such as RTA, Du, Al Tayer, Chevron and PepsiCo.

- The writer is an intern at Gulf News

Comments (1)

  1. Added 15:28 November 9, 2013

    I went with my friends to the IMAX Theatre on Thursday and signed my name in support of the Expo 2020 bid. It was a rare opportunity that we as kids got to take part in the bid. We also made a formation in our school ,The International School of Choueifat, Dubai supporting the bid. As kids we felt privileged and honoured to have got such an opportunity.I am waiting for the day we will be declared the winner and feel proud that one vote was mine.I feel so happy that I was able to contribute in some way or the other, for the country in which I have lived all my life.

    Achilles Whiteville, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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