Dubai: Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, UAE Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence and Commissioner General of Expo 2020 Dubai, has praised the 30,000 volunteers who will help deliver an exceptional World Expo when Dubai welcomes the world from October 1, 2021, to March 31, 2022.
Expo 2020 Volunteers have completed more than 40,000 hours of training to date, demonstrating their preparedness for the first event of its kind in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region. Training will continue through the coming months to prepare future volunteers for their roles.
Volunteers' extensive training led by experts
Thousands of volunteers also attended the high-energy Expo 2020 Orientation Experience at Dubai Exhibition Centre (DEC), Expo 2020 Dubai, one of 13 identical sessions designed to inform and inspire, while adhering to strict COVID-19 safety measures.
Expo 2020’s extensive training programme equips volunteers with essential skills and knowledge for their roles, as well as demonstrating the warm UAE hospitality that will help create lasting memories for the millions of visitors during the mega-event’s six-month run. From gamified online learning to face-to-face role-specific and site-specific training, led by Expo 2020 experts, the volunteers have been taken through an engaging learning journey.
Sheikh Nahayan said: “Expo 2020 coincides with the UAE’s Golden Jubilee celebrations, and I am humbled to recognise that the Expo 2020 volunteers share a common set of values that mirror the principles on which our nation has thrived. They are from diverse nationalities, backgrounds and age groups, and will travel from all seven emirates to join us as we welcome the world in a spirit of compassion, collaboration and optimism for the future.
“We are now less than one month away, and the commitment of the Expo 2020 Volunteers has never wavered, even when faced the challenge of a pandemic. We are grateful for their passion and dedication, rooted in an understanding of what Expo 2020 is capable of achieving. With their support, Expo 2020 is ready to fulfil its mission of creating a better future for people and planet, in the UAE and across the globe.”
Coming together from 135-plus countries
Expo 2020 Volunteers range from university students and employees to National Service cadets, homemakers and retirees, as well as people of determination. UAE Nationals form 45 per cent of the volunteers, which together represent 135-plus nationalities and range from 18 to 79 years of age. They will all play a crucial role in managing the vast number of diverse experiences, events and global discussions taking place daily at Expo 2020.
Emirati volunteer Kenan Abdul Ghani, 28, explained that he joined the Expo Volunteers with a desire to give back to the country that has given so much to him: "As soon as I had the opportunity, I did not hesitate and joined the Expo  Volunteers. It is a great honour for me to represent the UAE in this global platform. I am very much looking forward to the opening of Expo 2020 Dubai and to working with my team at the Country Pavilions to learn about the cultures of more than 190 countries, as well as their customs and traditions.”
Sameer Mazumdar, 21, from India said: “I get to be part of this great event which is one of the biggest events in the UAE and the UAE been coming along way since the past 10 years or so… I want to witness as many things as I can and I want to experience all the events backstage… not just as a visitor [but] contributing to it as well.”
Cardela Coulson, 57, a volunteer who is an Australian national, said: “I’m originally from the Philippines but migrated to Australia so I call myself a global citizen. I feel great because it’s going to be a part of the history so I felt like my grandchildren will be able to see that later on. It’s Expo 2020… it’s an experience that you won’t be able to get in your lifetime in some way, because I’m now 57… I’m excited and I’m also excited to meet and see different people from other parts of the world.”
Roopa Udeshi, 31, from India said: “I’m Roopa and I’m from Mumbai, Bombay… and I live in Dubai for the past 10 years… I always wanted to live in Dubai because it had a different feel to it and it always looked at the future, and I always wanted to be a part of the future… and today I’m standing here, standing right in front of you being a volunteer because this is what Expo 2020 is: the future.”
The orientation experience has been amazing. There are shows, there are lights… I come from a Bollywood background. You know, it’s bigger than Bollywood… and I am just waiting when live shows would happen… this was just a tiny bit and it’s so big!”
Jogi Gratil, 38, a volunteer from the Philippines, said: “I felt like it’s a privilege to be part of this historical moment. It’s a once in a lifetime experience for me…. I believe that the UAE has given me a lot of opportunities in my life, so I think it’s about time to give back and be part of this Volunteer Programme.”
Suaad Al Marzooqi, a 19 year-old UAE National volunteer, said: “I am proud of my work as a volunteer at Expo 2020 Dubai, particularly since it is my first experience working in a global professional environment. I am confident that I will learn a lot here – more than I would have learned anywhere else – especially engaging with visitors from different cultural backgrounds.”
Joe Moscaritolo, a volunteer from the United States, said: “I went to a World Expo when I was a teenager, my grandmother brought me and my brothers to the New York Expo – actually in Flushing, New York – that’s the only one I’ve ever been to. And now I’m at this one. As both a volunteer and a visitor, we plan on coming… the technology, the amazing buildings… There are over 190 countries and I can’t wait to see the various pavilions.”
With the support of Etisalat, the Official Premier Partner of Expo 2020 Volunteers, Expo 2020 received more than 180,000 expressions of interest in volunteering – far exceeding the initial target of 100,000 applications.