Reem Al Hashemi delivers stirring speech for Dubai ahead of World Expo 2020 vote

“The Dubai Expo has rapidly become the dream of an entire nation,” the minister of state says in Paris.

Reem Al Hashemi, the minister of state and managing director of the Dubai World Expo 2020 bid committee, delivers a speech during the presentation of the candidacies for the 2020 World Expo, at the OECD headquarters in Paris. Jacques Demarthon / AFP Photo
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PARIS // Dubai’s compelling and earnest presentation set the stage for the finale of the World Expo 2020 bid this morning.

The 20-minute presentation focused on the UAE’s hopes as a young country and Dubai’s strengths of diversity, strong infrastructure and stability.

The videos also showed clips of British Prime Minister David Cameron who has officially backed Dubai’s bid along with footage of UAE teams in different parts of the world and its support for community projects in the developing world.

Reem Al Hashemi, the minister of state and managing director of the Dubai World Expo 2020 bid committee, spoke French and later switched to English before more than 200 delegates from 168 member nations of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), the international organisation responsible for overseeing, regulating and selecting the winning nation.

She urged delegates to share the UAE’s dream of hosting the expo.

Excerpts from her speech:

“I stand before you today to convince you that we would be honoured, privileged to host Expo 2020 in Dubai.

“We began this journey recognising that we were here to listen and learn and to formulate together what our collective future could be.

"We exchanged ideas and thoughts, explored what "Connecting Minds, Creating the Future" means to all of us and together to find the road map for Dubai Expo 2020.

“I hope that  in this journey you have also come to understand us better, to trust that we will always strive for quality, excellence and respect, that we will remain consistent and determined to deliver an inclusive and engaging Expo.

“In June this year His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Rashid Al Maktoum our Prime Minister attended the BIE general assembly demonstrating the highest political commitment for this bid and today we are joined by 10 ministers from the federal cabinet of the United Arab Emirates and members of the federal national council.

“Under the guidance of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed, chairman of the Expo Committee, we have all worked together, federal and local entities, to deliver to you the strongest side we can.

Ladies and gentlemen, the expo team that we assembled in 2011 is still with you today...

(Video clip) 

“... We are committed to give the world an exquisite and memorable Expo with a meaningful and far-reaching legacy, an authentic portrait of the interconnected and fast moving world in 2020 an opportunity to unlock potential for all who are a part of it.

“World Expos deserve global resonance and enthusiasm. We pledge our assets, skills and expertise to give Expo 2020 the weight and recognition it deserves.

“Ladies and gentlemen it was wonderful to welcome so many of you to Dubai last month.

"I hope that through the city tours, symposium sessions and conversations with leaders and people across the private and public sectors, we were able to successfully demonstrate our ability and commitment to deliver.

“Above all I hope you have been touched by the spirit of our young country that looks to the future with enthusiasm and hope.

“We have brought this spirit to our expo project challenging ourselves to find opportunities for further innovation in all of of its core areas. To ensure the best possible representation for each participant we have pioneered the concept of one nation one pavilion and supported it with a robust assistance package.

“We worked with our airlines, our hospitality industry and our tourism board to develop a program that can generate global awareness and excitement.

“Your pavilions will become must see attractions for the largest number of international visitors ever in an Expo.

"An ambitious sustainability plan will make Dubai Expo 2020 the first carbon neutral mega event and Expo Live will harvest the power of this community of countries to foster partnerships for innovation.

“Ladies and gentlemen 2020 is just around the corner:

(Video clip)

“... ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’ is much more than a theme. It is a framework to develop effective solutions in a world of shared destinies. It is a road map to collaborate in  areas where our interdependencies lie and therefore our opportunities and impact are greater.

“The areas of mobility, sustainability and opportunities shape and reshape how we connect to one another across our region and continent, how we create better lives through access to water and energy,  how we build self-sufficient and prosperous communities through the development of human and financial capital.

“Above all ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’ is our commitment to partnership, a partnership that will foster cross national, cross sector cooperation and innovation, those that will help us tackle together today what cannot be tackled alone.

“It is a commitment to making the difference in our children’s lives, to understand and address the complex dynamics of our world and through our Expo try to make them into a shared vision that is tangible, acceptable and inspiring.

“Dear friends, my generation has been inspired by our forefathers, by their courage to take the road less travelled, to open our communities to the world, to focus on education and human development.

“They have entrusted us with a city that is capable of working with the world and hosting the world, with a country that is recognised as a model of openness and stability, a place that  millions of young people in our neighbourhood and beyond see as a beacon of hope and opportunity.

“It is now our turn to hand over this legacy and these values to the next generation.

“The World Expo has inspired us and made us stronger in our resolve.

“If you grant us this honour we will carry its values with pride and respect we will make it flourish across our region and across the world.

"You see, the Dubai Expo 2020 is not only about Dubai and the UAE, it is about inspiring a greater region of 2 billion people that are willing and eager to help create a better future through understanding and dialogue, tolerance and peace.

(Video clip)

“... Ladies and gentlemen as you cast your votes this afternoon, know that  your decision has the power to shape the future, not just for your own country or mine but for the greater community of nations.

“We are humbled by the powerful and decisive moment that is upon us.

“In this final address, I stand before you representing the voice of millions in my country. I stand before you not only as a civil servant, a daughter, a mother but also as a citizen of humanity committed and determined to make a difference and inspire change.

“Ladies and gentlemen thank you for your time and your attention.”