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Three young UAE nationals (R-L): Abdullah, Hamdan and Elyazia are driving a community initiative to help Expo 2020 Dubai showcase traditional Emirati hospitality on a global scale. Image Credit: Expo 2020


A young Emirati trio is ready to welcome millions of visitors to Dubai from around the world ahead of Expo 2020 through their ‘Hayyakum’ initiative.

Drawing from the traditional Emirati greeting of ‘hayyakum,’ nine-year-olds Hamdan Sultan Al Subousi and Elyazia Al Rumaithi along with 12-year-old Abdullah Farhan Al Marzooqi have developed a campaign to welcome the world to the UAE.

After developing their strategy, the children visited Expo 2020 to present their idea to Reem Al Hashimi, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director General of Dubai Expo 2020 Bureau.

The youth-led community engagement will bring together UAE citizens and expatriates through a number of initiatives and activities to contribute to the success of the first ever World Expo to be held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region.

Hamdan Al-Subousi, one of the students behind the initiative, said: “I already talk to my friends at school about Expo 2020, so I thought it would be even better to talk to the rest of the world as well. I speak several languages so I think I can welcome people from different countries and help make this the best World Expo in history.”

His partner Abdullah Al Marzoogi added: “I follow Expo news closely and cannot wait until 2020 to welcome the world and say ‘hayyakum’ to everyone. I would like to introduce people from all over the world to Expo and talk to them about our country — its past, present and future.”

Adding further, Elyazia Al Rumaithi said: “I am glad to see Expo 2020 supporting the ideas of the younger generation. I hope our initiative will reach everyone in the Emirates. I will ask my family and friends to welcome guests to the UAE and I hope to see all UAE residents involved with us in this initiative.”

To date, 190 nations have confirmed their participation in Expo 2020. Organisers expect to record 25 million visits between October, 20, 2020 and April, 10, 2021, with 70 per cent of visitors projected to come from outside the UAE.