x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

‘Dubai is where dreams come true’

Residents from more than 40 countries have backed Dubai's bid for Expo 2020 in a YouTube video.

Dubai // It is a magical place – a city where dreams can come true.

These are the views of dozens of UAE residents from across the world who are backing the emirate’s bid to host Expo 2020.

Emirati comedian Ali Al Sayed spliced together tributes to Dubai in a YouTube video supporting the Expo 2020 bid after asking more than 40 residents one question about the emirate.

He asked people on Facebook “what do you love about Dubai?”, and then produced a six-minute video in which residents speak in their native languages about why Dubai is the city of their dreams.

“It was amazing to see how people are rooting for Dubai, it’s as if Dubai was going to win the World Cup,” said Mr Al Sayed, who performs in the UAE and overseas.

“When I asked people if they would be here in 2020, many said they didn’t know but they really wanted the Expo to come here. So the city, the Government, the people are ready.”

The Dubai Expo 2020 logo along with flags of nations including Poland, India, Morocco, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Sierra Leone, Algeria, Palestine, Armenia, Austria and Kazakhstan are displayed behind residents as they speak.

To Dana Dajani, a Palestinian writer and actor, the city is a magical place.

“It has helped us grow our dreams,” Ms Dajani said.

The safety and security, cosmopolitan nature of the emirate, great weather, fast cars, good food and strong business environment were among boxes checked by residents.

A Bosnia-Herzegovina national said: “It’s constantly growing and changing, and I hope to grow with it.”

Another lady from Algeria said: “When I heard Dubai wanted to host the World Expo 2020, I thought to myself they have to win because we live the world Expo all year round. There are people from all over the world.”

One catchy clip has United States citizen Mina Liccione clap her hands over her head as she says, “I love the music and the way they dance, ‘Aiwa, aiwa, aiwa, aiwa.’ I love it.”

Ms Liccione said words such as “land of opportunity” rang true as most expatriates believed that if they worked hard their dreams would become a reality.

“The UAE may be a small country but there is a certain pride in living here for both locals and expats,” said Ms Liccione, also a comedian and the wife of Mr Al Sayed. The couple set up a local comedy community Dubomedy five years ago.

“It has given us a good life that we don’t take for granted and this is an opportunity to show our love for the country and to show how we support it.”

The video, Tribute to Dubai – Expo 2020, signs off with a message from residents wishing their city “good luck”, from all of us in Dubai.

The other contenders to host Expo 2020 are Izmir in Turkey, Sao Paulo in Brazil and Yekaterinburg in Russia.

The winning city will be declared after a vote by the Bureau International des Expositions in Paris on November 27.

rtalwar@thenational.ae