Dubai: His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, toured the venue of Expo 2020 Dubai, which opened to visitors today.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid visited the pavilions of the UAE, USA, China and Kazakhstan on the first day of the six-month mega global event.
Being held for the first time in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region, Expo 2020 houses the pavilions of countries participating in the event as well as those of diverse organisations from across the world. The global show runs for 182 days until March 31, 2022.
Speaking at the beginning of the visit, Sheikh Mohammed said that under the leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and the follow-up of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and the support of Their Highnesses Members of the Supreme Council and Rulers of the Emirates, the UAE continues to shine as a beacon of peace, progress and diversity, as envisioned by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
Iconic architectural design
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid was accompanied by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council, Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Prime Minister, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance, and Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group, and Chairman of the Expo 2020 Dubai Higher Committee along with a number of ministers and senior officials of Dubai entities.
Sheikh Mohammed began his tour of Expo 2020 Dubai by visiting the UAE Pavilion. He expressed his appreciation for the iconic architectural design of the UAE Pavilion that evokes the wings of a falcon in flight and tells the story of the UAE as a global hub, and the vision of its leaders to create a peaceful and progressive society with ambitious plans for the future. “Following in the footsteps of our founding fathers, we are determined to lead our nation to greater levels of achievement and excellence. With a clear vision, determination and a steadfast focus on our goals, we are making rapid progress in achieving our aspirations,” His Highness said.
Sheikh Mohammed was received at the Pavilion by Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Youth and Commissioner General of the UAE Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai. During the visit, His Highness expressed his appreciation for the efforts of all the people who were involved in the construction of the pavilion.
Pioneering spirit and power of connections
Located in the heart of Al Wasl Plaza, the pavilion designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava is a symbol of the nation’s bold and daring spirit. Created to highlight both the UAE’s rich heritage and bright future, the pavilion’s four storeys cover an area of more than 15,000 square metres. The design of the pavilion also evokes the pioneering spirit and power of connections that transformed the UAE from a collection of small, desert communities into a global connection point.
Featuring an immersive experience that evokes a range of emotions, the 60-minute tour of the pavilion narrates to the visitor the unique history and future aspirations of the UAE. Built with sustainability in mind, the pavilion uses sustainable elements such as photovoltaic (PV) panels that have been produced in the UAE integrated into the roof structure, bringing the entire building to life with the opening of the wings.
The UAE pavilion was designed with the safety of visitors in mind. Precautionary guidelines are stringently observed. The pavilion is open to visitors from 10am to 10pm, with the last tour starting at 8.30pm. School tours to the pavilion take place on weekdays from 9am to 11.45am.
Speaking on the importance of Expo 2020 Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid said: “Bringing together participants from 192 countries, Expo 2020 paves the way for a new united approach to overcoming one of the most difficult periods in the planet’s history and forging a new path of sustainable development. Expo 2020 held in the UAE can serve as the catalyst for the emergence of a new interconnected world in which nations come together in a spirit of partnership and cooperation to create a glorious future for mankind.”
Visit to USA Pavilion
His Highness later visited the USA Pavilion at Expo Dubai, which extends over an area of 36,000 square feet and provides a unique experience for visitors to celebrate American values and culture under the theme ‘Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of the Future’. The theme reflects the USA’s commitment to promoting prosperity, opportunity, and innovation globally and domestically.
The pavilion highlights the USA’s leadership and achievements in the space sector. It features a one-to-one scale replica of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. Falcon 9 is the first orbital class rocket capable of re-flight and most-flown operational rocket in the US. Other exhibits featured at the US pavilion include moon rocks, one of the robotic vehicles that landed on the moon’s surface, and many others.
Guests to the US pavilion are taken on a journey through its exhibits via a moving walkway that meanders through the pavilion. The high-capacity transportation system provides a unique experience that is safe for all ages and abilities.
Visit to China Pavilion
Sheikh Mohammed also visited the China Pavilion, one of the largest country pavilions at Expo 2020 Dubai spread over 4,500sqm. Named ‘The Light of China’, the pavilion’s design is inspired by the iconic traditional Chinese lantern. Under the theme ‘Constructing the Community of Human Destiny — Innovation and Opportunity’, the pavilion showcases the nation’s achievements in the fields of information, science and technology, education, and communications.
Sheikh Mohammed saw a panda robot called Youyou, which serves as a guide for visitors at the China Pavilion and represents the technological prowess that the country is showcasing at Expo 2020. China’s strong participation at the mega global event reflects the robust ties between the UAE and China. Currently China is both the UAE’s and Dubai’s largest trading partner with total non-oil trade valued at Dh174 billion and Dh142 billion, respectively.
A stop at Kazakhstan Pavilion
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid’s tour of Expo 2020 Dubai also included a stop at the national pavilion of Kazakhstan. He was received by the Commissioner-General of the pavilion, who gave His Highness a comprehensive presentation of what Kazakhstan is showcasing at Expo 2020. Featuring three storeys and four exhibition areas, the pavilion highlights Kazakhstan’s dynamic development, cultural diversity, rich human and natural resources, and its tourist, technological and investment opportunities.
Located within the Expo venue’s Opportunity District, the pavilion comprises interactive and tactile surface installations that allow visitors to explore Kazakhstan’s beautiful natural landscapes, resources, culture, biodiversity, and flora and fauna. The pavilion also showcases various projects in several areas including transit and transport potential, digitisation, industrialisation, human capital development and the environment.