NAT PIC 1111-1620306408659
Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan with Charles Fernandez, Gilbert Boustany and Najeeb Mohammed Al-Ali Image Credit: Dany Eid/Expo 2020 Dubai

Dubai: Several bilateral meetings were held on the sidelines of the Expo 2020 International Participants Meeting (IPM), reaffirming the goal of the global mega event as a platform for international cooperation.

Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, Cabinet Member, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence and Commissioner General of Expo 2020 Dubai, met with Nadia Fattah Alaoui, the Kingdom of Morocco’s Minister of Tourism, Handicrafts, Air Transport and Social Economy; Charles Fernandez, Antigua and Barbuda’s Minister of Tourism and Economic Development; and Gilbert Boustany, Commissioner General for Antigua and Barbuda at Expo 2020. Al Nahayan discussed the long-term legacy of Expo 2020 at the local, regional and international level, and its alignment with the wider strategic vision of the UAE.

He also called on the IPM delegates “to do our part in reshaping and redesigning our future; to bring people from all backgrounds and all corners of the Earth together for unique shared experiences that will help people know one another, and to talk to one another and live with one another in peace and prosperity.”

The meetings, which included a briefing with Dimitri S. Kerkentzes, Secretary General of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), took place at the IPM, held from May 4-5 at Dubai Exhibition Centre, Expo 2020. More talks slated over the coming days.

Reshaping and redesigning the future

In his welcome speech to IPM delegates, Al Nahayan said: “Expo 2020 Dubai is about all of us coming together to create something better for future generations – to do our part in reshaping and redesigning our future, to bring people from all backgrounds and all corners of the Earth together for unique shared experiences that will help people know one another, talk to one another and to live with one another in peace and prosperity.

“I thank all of you for your dedication to shaping a positive future, and for your commitment to the cause of human progress. Our journeys through Expo 2020 Dubai will be enriched by your ideas and commitment to improve the quality of life for our entire planet,” he added.

The participating countries, in turn, conveyed their excitement and regard for the Expo’s advanced state of readiness, not only on the site itself, but across the UAE. The IPM gathered more than 370 delegates from 173 countries to discuss the final preparations for what will be the first event of this scale to take place since the beginning of the pandemic.

IPM delegates were updated on operations and security, as well as the comprehensive COVID-19 measures that have been implemented to safeguard the well-being of the Expo workforce, participants and visitors.

Coinciding with the UAE’s Golden Jubilee celebrations, Expo 2020 – the first World Expo to be held in the MEASA (Middle East, Africa and South Asia) region – will welcome the world from October 1 this year. Expo will run until March 31, 2022.

Expo trivia

Did you know that the World Expo is now 170 years old? The first World Expo – the Great Exhibition – took place in London in 1851. Crystal Palace was the centrepiece of London’s Great Exhibition that celebrated man-made industrial wonders of a rapidly changing world. The theme was ‘Industry of All Nations’ to forge “a big idea of nations meeting nations in shared technological and commercial progress”. The concept became popular and was repeated across the globe, demonstrating an unparalleled power of attraction and a record of world-class legacies. Today, participants in World Expos, including governments, international organisations and companies, are gathering to find solutions to universal challenges and to promote their achievements, products, ideas, innovations, their national brand, and their nations as destinations for tourism, trade and investment.