The announcement of the UAE as the Expo 2020 destination eight years ago gave a glimpse of what was to unfold in the country. Amid a sea of emotions, I was reminded of what we stand for.
As driven, responsible individuals and citizens of this nation and the world, our ethos came to the fore. Tomorrow, we will witness this edifice in all its glory.
Expo is the challenge as well as the opportunity to reimagine, rewrite, and reshape, the present and future paradigms in the way we work, learn, educate, and ultimately live. It will bring us face-to-face with inevitable questions of the legacy we leave behind. More importantly, what world we leave behind for the next generation.
With the presence of 191 countries, each with their pavilions representing pieces of home, a spectacle is about to unfold. It will solidify one of our fundamental values, human connection. We have a platform to celebrate our shared commonalities and embrace our distinct differences, especially in the math of over a year in isolation.
It couldn’t have come at a better time as we transcend geographical boundaries and shed limitations of possibilities, instilling a mutual sentiment of being one in braving crises and overcoming them.
Now, more than ever, we are ushered to think of ourselves in connection with our planet and fellow human beings. It will be a place to witness how human connection can be formed, morphed, and put to action in different ways toward a shared goal, a better future for all.
Being a catalyst of sustainability, Expo 2020 embodies the spirit of leading by example. And it starts right here in our backyard.
The vibrance of the show will determine how much we define our relationship with nature. We will be reminded that it is our calling to do our part. We will learn to nurture ourselves and our communities to be environmentally conscious and responsible global citizens.
Expo 2020 will make us re-evaluate the significance of small acts that eventually snowball into larger, profound ones. For instance, as Emiratis, reflecting on our consumption habits, such as water, electricity, and transportation consumption is the first step toward more mindful and sustainable choices.
Visionary economic plans
The UAE Green Agenda 2030 and Abu Dhabi and Dubai’s visionary economic plans are the backbones of the country’s journey to a diversified, knowledge-based economy. They collectively define the nature of its land, acknowledging that the life of excess is coming to an end, and the time for change is now.
Expo 2020s legacy will continue to manifest itself via the sustainable and human-centric city, District 2020, that aims to be a haven for start-ups with a bursting creative and productive ecosystem. Scale2Dubai, the global entrepreneurship, and small businesses programme, is another incentive to further revolutionise the nature of future businesses in the UAE to be inclusive and symbiotic.
Expo 2020 will be a stepping stone toward a sustainable future built by us. Thus, to my fellow young Emiratis and youth of the UAE, Expo 2020 will bring an array of path-breaking knowledge and a glimpse of the future.
This once-in-a-generation opportunity should be fully seized with an open mind for us to immerse ourselves, learn, experience, and absorb it all.
Amal Al Breiki is a researcher, and the deputy head of TRENDS council for young researchers, at TRENDS Research and Advisory in Abu Dhabi.