By Ahmed Elneimy
DUBAI, 13th April, 2022 (WAM) — Dimitri S Kerkentzes, Secretary-General of the Bureau international des Expositions (BIE), has said that the UAE’s hosting of the Expo 2020 Dubai was “a truly remarkable World Expo” thanks to the vision of the UAE, and the joint efforts of the organisers and all participants, who worked hard to offer a historic event for the region and the world.
In an interview with the Emirates News Agency (WAM) on the conclusion of the Expo 2020 Dubai, Kerkentzes said, “Expo 2020 Dubai became a beacon of unity and hope, one that reminded us of the importance of human solidarity and international cooperation in navigating common challenges.
“After a period of being apart, Expo 2020 Dubai was the perfect opportunity for the 192 participating countries to meet and connect, join together in search of solutions to global challenges, and engage in dialogue for a better tomorrow. Expo 2020 Dubai has been the ideal platform to launch a new dynamic, where countries were able to foster reflection and debate on where we need to go from here.”
Legacy of Dubai Expo
Regarding the effects of Expo 2020 Dubai on the various sectors, especially the economic, social and humanitarian ones, he said, “The legacy of Expo 2020 Dubai will be measured in years and even decades, with its lasting impact extending into a wide array of intangible areas such as education, social progress, sustainable thinking and international cooperation.
“I am nevertheless certain that, for each visitor, the Expo has already played a defining role in changing their behaviour, making new connections, expanding their horizons, and shaping their future. In addition, the Expo, of course, leaves behind an important physical legacy steeped in innovation, including the incredible site, which will continue to generate new ideas and ambitious solutions as a beautiful new neighbourhood for Dubai.
Role of youth
Asked about the evaluation of the youth efforts in hosting Expo, Kerkentzes said, “It is not enough to thank the young people of the UAE for the immense efforts they have put into making Expo 2020 Dubai the success that it was and for the warm welcome they gave to the world.”
About the UAE model in organising Expo 2020 Dubai, he noted, “One of the intangible legacies of Expo 2020 Dubai that will certainly inspire future Expos is the role of young people. Expos have always been about the education of the public. Yet, in Dubai, we have seen a whole new level of youth engagement in addressing the Expo theme and pushing for new solutions adapted to future generations.
“The way that younger generations have shaped the Expo 2020 Dubai experience will without a doubt influence all upcoming Expos, not only in the theme development, but also in the way content and pavilions are conceived and curated, and in the manner in which the Expo’s reach is extended beyond the site itself.”
On the achievements of Expo 2020 Dubai in serving humanity, Kerkentzes said that the humanity faced many challenges whether in terms of environmental protection, biodiversity, education or health, and confronted with the multiple inequalities that the pandemic has exacerbated even further, Expo 2020 Dubai has shown that cooperation based on solidarity is not only possible but essential.
“It has shown that by connecting the world, we can explore the realm of infinite possibilities for the benefit of humanity and that, together, we can dare to innovate and move forward. I truly believe that Expo 2020 Dubai is a beautiful symbol of resilience and optimism that has helped show the way forward to a better tomorrow. This undeniable celebration of human progress demonstrates that hope and cooperation together have the power to unleash the best of humanity.
Regarding Expo’s efforts in supporting the workers’ welfare, he said that working conditions and worker welfare have been the highest priority for Expo 2020 Dubai’s organisers, the BIE and International Participants. This was translated into the stringent measures adopted, which went above and beyond the standard requirements for the UAE and the region.
With innovation in mind, from the planning of the Expo to its management, Expo 2020 Dubai implemented, voluntarily, a programme using cutting-edge technologies to monitor the health and well-being of workers. Through the use of innovative wearable technologies, Expo 2020 Dubai helped improve the safety of workers on-site and contributed to the development of predictive models that are capable of changing the whole industry for the better.
Historic occasion for Middle East, UAE
Regarding the impact of Expo being held for the first time in the Middle East, he noted, “Having opened its gates in the year of the UAE’s Golden Jubilee, Expo 2020 Dubai beckoned a new chapter in the country’s history. I believe that this was the right time to host the first World Expo in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region. It has been a great opportunity for Dubai, the UAE as a nation, and the wider Middle East to showcase to the world that the ideals, values, and vision for a better tomorrow are all here.
“The UAE has put tremendous efforts into delivering a World Expo that gathers the best and brightest ideas from around the world and will have a transformational impact. I am certain that this momentum will play a lasting role in rebalancing the economy towards fairer, more sustainable, and more inclusive growth. Considering the interest sparked by Expo 2020 Dubai and the demonstrable benefits of organising an Expo for the host city and host country, I am certain that Expo 2020 Dubai will serve as a shining example that will inspire others, in the region and further afield.”