Each World Expo is a gathering of the achievements of human civilisation. Expo 2020 Dubai, the first ever to be hosted in the Middle East, and also the first World Expo since the start of the global Covid-19 pandemic, shoulders a special historical significance. This is understood well beyond the UAE – particularly in China.
Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered an ebullient speech to wish Expo 2020 Dubai and the operation of the China Pavilion a complete success. China and the UAE are comprehensive strategic partners, and so people in China are full of positive expectations for Expo 2020 Dubai.
The optimism is justifiable: with its forward-looking approach, Expo 2020 Dubai will seek to present a vision of a bright future for mankind. In the past 50 years since its founding, the UAE has sought to embody that spirit, explored a path of development that is not only in line with its own national aspirations, but serves as a model of openness and prosperity in the Middle East and even the world.
Expo 2020 has chosen a grand theme that embodies these principles: “Connecting Minds and Creating the Future”. It will bring together innovative ideas from around the world, putting on display cutting-edge technologies and presenting innovation and models of sustainability to a global audience. This will serve to provide new, much-needed impetus to the project of international development.
Over the next several months, the event will tell a beautiful story of peace and friendship among nations, with the concepts of openness, inclusiveness, diversity and mutual learning skilfully incorporated into its very heart.
Most uniquely, this Expo will, for the first time, give each country its own pavilion – no easy task, considering that nearly 200 countries will participate. Regardless of their size and wealth, every nation will be afforded the dignity of an independent pavilion to showcase its unique culture and vision for national and global development. That will make this the most inclusive and diverse Expo in history.
There has also never been a more important time to host such an event. In the face of severe challenges, including not only the most serious global pandemic since the turn of the century, but also the growing threat of climate change, Expo 2020 Dubai will be an important opportunity for dialogue and mutual learning between different civilisations and cultures. It will be a physical manifestation of the understanding that we are all in the same boat, and that only through friendship, tolerance and shared will can we overcome our greatest challenges.
For China, this Expo will mark the start of another excellent chapter in our deep relationship with the UAE. At the beginning of this century, Dubai and Shanghai became sister cities, laying the foundation for future co-operation on these kinds of events. When Shanghai hosted the Expo in 2010, the carefully designed UAE Pavilion, with a shape of rolling sand dunes, showcased a gorgeous style and became a local superstar at the event. Eleven years later, Dubai continues that magnificent spirit. And China has returned the favour, so to speak, by making great efforts to build a grand pavilion, named “Light of China”. The shape of a traditional Chinese lantern implies the beautiful longing in Chinese culture for brightness, reunion and happiness, and symbolises the friendliness of the Chinese people towards the Emirati people. It also demonstrates China's spiritual pursuit of building a community with a shared future for mankind in the new era.
Looking back on history, the first World Expo 150 years ago demonstrated the vigorous achievements of modern industrial civilisation, with the catchy slogan of “Everything Begins with Expo”. Today, the World Expo starts a new journey from Dubai, full of the hopes and dreams of people all over the world, and outlines a grand blueprint for innovative, smart, inclusive and sustainable international development.
I want to personally wish Expo 2020 Dubai success as the most wonderful Expo ever held! And I hope it brings the UAE and China even closer together.