Dubai Expo 2020 'three Years to go Celebration at The Beach JBR, Dubai. Image Credit: A.K Kallouche/Gulf News

Dubai: The three-year countdown to Expo 2020 Dubai officially began on Friday night in Jumeirah, giving residents and visitors a glimpse of what would happen once the world converges on Dubai for the important global gathering.

The UAE will host the Expo 2020 in Dubai with the theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’ beginning October 20, 2020.

A special ceremony on stage was marked at 20:20 or 8.20pm on Friday to celebrate the remaining three years before the opening of Expo 2020 Dubai.

During the event on Friday, Expo 2020’s Expo Live team also offered visitors a preview of an upcoming initiative: the Innovation Challenge Programme.

The family-friendly event was open to people of all ages and backgrounds, which mirrors what an Expo is like — a gathering for everyone. The day included numerous attractions, a fitness challenge, live local and international music and entertainment, a variety of food and drinks, plus a chance to learn more about Expo 2020 Dubai itself.

The Three Years to Go celebration featured an array of Expo-themed activities, many of which were based on innovations first showcased at previous World Expos such as television, the gramophone, telephones and ice cream cones.

Expo 2020 Dubai will be a celebration of human ingenuity around the theme, ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’, built on three pillars: Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability.

It will serve as a platform for international collaboration, fostering innovation and creating meaningful partnerships that will live far beyond 2020 — not only for the UAE, but for the wider region and the world.

The Expo is projected to attract 25 million visitors, with 70 per cent expected to come from outside the UAE — the largest proportion of international visitors in the 166-year history of World Expos.

More than 200 participants, including countries, companies, NGOs and educational institutions, are also expected to participate.

During the event, Expo organisers also marked the day of launch of the official volunteer registration portal for Expo 2020 Dubai, which has been set up in collaboration with the Ministry of Community Development. The portal went live on Friday.

More than 30,000 adult volunteers are needed to be the ‘face’ of the largest global gathering happening for the first time in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region.

“Expo 2020 is a global event for everyone to learn, innovate, create, and have fun by sharing ideas and working together and we are proud to include opportunities for more than 30,000 volunteers from any age, nationality or background, reflecting the diversity of our Expo and our nation,” Reem Ebrahim Al Hashemi, Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director-General of Expo 2020 Dubai Bureau, said last week.

Residents interested to volunteer may visit www.volunteers.ae/expo2020, email Volunteers@expo2020.ae or call 04 555 2244.