Expo 2020 will be a celebration of multilateralism

The Dubai world's fair is an ideas factory. It is also an elegant exercise in international cooperation

Rendering of Al Wasl Arrival Plaza. Courtesy Expo2020
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The countdown clock marking the time between now and October 20, 2020 will soon begin to tick a little louder. This Friday marks just three years until Expo 2020 opens in Dubai. The event will be a window on the world for those who are from this region and a window on the Middle East for all those who will beat a path to Dubai in late 2020 and early 2021. In an era of intolerance and misinformation, we encourage visitors from far and wide to visit the expo and see this region at first hand.

Bill Gates, the Microsoft chairman and philanthropist, has previously talked about visiting the 1962 expo in Seattle, his home town, when he was a child and finding inspiration in what he saw. If Expo 2020 leads to one young mind opening up in a similar way, then it will have far exceeded any expectations placed upon it.

That is, of course, a possibility rather than a certainty. What we do know for sure is that the event’s broad-ranging legacy will benefit the city and the country. District 2020 is designed to encourage SME growth and establish a new community.

The multilateral nature of the event is also worth dwelling upon. The international community is under near historic threat, unions of countries are being disrupted and prominent nations have turned inwards. An expo is, by its very nature, a celebration of multinationalism in one of its purest forms. It is also a reminder that collaboration should not be viewed with suspicion. The staging of the world’s fair in Dubai in 2020 – for the first time in the Arab world – sends out an important message to the world: the city and this country is a vibrant, dynamic and, crucially, an international environment.