Dubai: It was a celebration of hope. It was also a sneak peek at the future; a showcase of innovation, cultural diversity and a reflection of how people coming together can change the world.
A night replete with Emirati hospitality, Expo 2020 Dubai was officially inaugurated on Thursday, announcing to the world that Dubai is open; the UAE is open.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, led in welcoming cultures from East to West, from North to South – of 192 countries that gathered not only to participate in the world’s greatest show but also to forge unity and convey the story of Expo’s overarching theme – ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’.
Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince, officially opened the Expo which will run until March 31 next year. Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence and Commissioner General of Expo 2020 Dubai, set the tone of the global event.
Ahead of the official Opening Ceremony, Sheikh Mohammed said: “The nation is proud of the 10-year preparations for the largest global event that will last for six months, with the participation of 192 countries, underscoring the international trust in our country.”
Sheikh Mohammed underlined: “Once again, the UAE people have demonstrated their unique ability to excel in every task when serving humanity. We have proven to the world the UAE is a fruitful tree that can welcome everyone who dreams of a better future for this planet.”
"With the launch of the Expo, I remember the late founding fathers Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, and I would say to them, this is your legacy, and this international trust is the outcome of your far-sighted vision and determination to overcome challenges. Today, the world is being inspired by this vision. Civilisations are established and developed by challenges. That was the first and key lesson we learnt from you, which we convey to future generations and present to the world today," he added.
"You are home, and our development experience is at your service,” Sheikh Mohammed continued. “We have one shared destiny and our peoples are anticipating the strengthening of international cooperation to change their reality into a brighter and more sustainable one, as well as to establish a roadmap for the key economic, developmental and cultural trends for the post-COVID era. We hope that the start of the event will be the breakthrough in terms of cooperation, tolerance and peace."
Sheikh Nahyan echoed the same ideals during his welcome speech. He noted: “Today, in the year of our Golden Jubilee, we share with the world the lessons we have learnt, most importantly that by connecting minds, we are able to achieve milestones others thought were impossible.
“Today, 192 nations come together, each represented by its own pavilion – a first in the 170-year history of World Expos. Our mere presence here, amid all the challenges the world is facing, is proof of our keen commitment and desire to make the world a better place for all.
“By hosting Expo2020 Dubai, we aim to convey a message of tolerance and that we are willing to collaborate with all of the world. Today, we say to the whole world: Welcome to the UAE and welcome to Expo 2020 Dubai.”
"We will convey - from the UAE to the world - on our 50th anniversary a message of tolerance, coexistence and peace; a message of progress, prosperity and growth; a message of brotherhood, happiness and an unwavering will to create a brighter future for everyone.