x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

World leaders express thoughts on Dubai Expo 2020 theme

Expo 2020 bid: Thoughts from global leaders on Dubai's Expo 2020 theme have been collated in a new book with the same name - Connecting Minds, Creating the Future.

DUBAI // Former heads of state, Nobel Prize winners, business leaders and global thinkers are among those who explore the theme of Dubai's Expo 2020 bid - Connecting Minds, Creating the Future - in a book of the same name.

It includes essays by former US president Jimmy Carter, robot expert Henrik Scharfe - named one of the most influential people in the world by Time magazine - and Ndaba Mandela, a grandson of Nelson Mandela who heads a group working to instil pride in young Africans.

UAE contributors include Dr Sultan Al Jaber, chief executive of Masdar, Sultan bin Sulayem, chairman of DP World, and Tim Clark, president of Emirates.

Dr Al Jaber writes about the need for oil-rich nations to lead the transition to renewable energy by example.

Mr bin Sulayem says the world is entering a new era of sustainable trade, while Mr Clark considers the strategies airlines are employing to make air travel greener.

The large-format hardback book, which has the subtitle Visionary Thinking on the Global Issues of Our Time, covers the main Expo bid theme and the three sub-themes, Sustainability, Mobility and Opportunity.

Dubai is one of four cities bidding to host the 2020 world fair, and the winner will be announced in November.

Its theme is understood to have been well-received by the Bureau International des Expositions, which oversees world expos.

The book has a foreword by Reem Al Hashemi, Minister of State and managing director of the Higher Committee for Hosting the 2020 World Expo in Dubai.

"Connecting Minds, Creating the Future brings together some of the world's most original thinkers," Ms Al Hashemi said of the book.

"In today's increasingly connected world humanity's challenges cannot be solved alone. In the UAE, we believe in the convening power of the Word Expo.

"Together, we have the ability to identify global concerns, stimulate new ideas and generate solutions for a better, brighter future."

The bid team has put forward plans for an initiative called Expo Live designed to find solutions to the most pressing global challenges facing mankind.

Mr Carter, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, writes about the importance of providing decent homes.

"Housing is one of the basic human rights," he says.

"I think to have a home in which to live is a crucial element in basic human dignity, and a chance for children to have as good as or a better life than their parents, and for people to have self-respect and hope that the future will be better."

Mr Mandela, chairman of the Africa Rising Foundation, writes about the need for the continent to shape its future by telling its own story, rather than allowing itself to be defined by others.

"What stories has our child, Africa, been told?" he asks.

"Africa is told that her forefathers were slaves. Africa is told that she is underdeveloped. Africa is told that she needs aid. Africa is told that she needs to heed the advice of the developed world.

"This rhetoric, this stream of storytelling, is what we're fighting against. We are actively rejecting the foreign story in favour of our own … the future is our story to tell."

The other bidders for Expo 2020 are Sao Paulo in Brazil, Yekaterinburg in Russia and Izmir in Turkey.

Turkey has ambitiously applied to stage the expo and the Summer Olympics in 2020, but its hopes of hosting the latter suffered a blow this week as rival Japan emerged as the favourite.

The unrest that has swept through Turkey is thought to have harmed the country's chances. Izmir has been affected by the turmoil.

Another expo candidate city, Sao Paulo, has also seen violent clashes between protesters and police in recent weeks.

Connecting Minds, Creating the Future is published by Touchline and costs US$30 (Dh110).

It comes with a bookmark featuring the Expo theme in Arabic calligraphy that was designed by Emirati artist, Azza Al Qubaisi.