x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Dubai’s bid for Expo deserves our full support

This week the voters who will award the 2020 World's Fair will visit Dubai. They will, we think, like what they see, and the results could be exciting for the whole country.

When the representatives from 167 nations gather in Dubai this week as part of the process of selecting the host city for Expo 2020, they will see what those of us who live in the UAE experience every day – a city and a nation that are constantly moving forward.

The members of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), who arrived yesterday, will tour Dubai’s great architectural and infrastructure projects, from the Burj Khalifa to Jebel Ali port. They will visit Gitex – the region’s largest IT and electronics trade show – as well as the Emirates Aviation College, the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding and the Al Nassma camel-milk farm.

In Abu Dhabi, they will see the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque – one of the world’s great modern structures – and Masdar City, which is regarded as a model for sustainable living. They will also visit the acclaimed Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilisation.

But it’s not just bricks and mortar, chrome, marble and glass that the delegation will encounter. They will meet people with a singular vision: the heirs of those who built a nation out of the desert in just 42 years are determined to continue to build, innovate and succeed on the world stage.

Today and tomorrow will see a symposium developing the theme of the bid, “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future”. It will put in context the vision of the proposed Dubai Expo and of the UAE itself.

The organisers of the bid stress that this is not the “last chance” for Dubai to press its case before the vote is held on November 27, it is a way of explaining the content of the bid. As the Minister of State and Expo bid managing director Reem Al Hashemi has said, it’s about doing what Dubai does best – “facilitating connections and pioneering new ideas and projects”.

No doubt the other contenders – Ekaterinburg in Russia, Izmir in Turkey and Sao Paulo, Brazil – have strong cases of their own to put; it is no sure thing that Dubai will win the vote.

However, the bid already has the backing of influential people ranging from former US president Jimmy Carter and Microsoft founder Bill Gates to Danish robotics pioneer Henrik Scharfe.

It also deserves the full support of everyone who has joined in the UAE’s success, takes pride in its achievements and shares its vision for the future.