Emiratis ready to join Expo 2020 preparations

Young Emiratis are hugely eager to help prepare for the Dubai world fair, the bid for which will be officially ratified on Wednesday.

Khaled Saad, a chemist at Abu Dhabi Oil Refining Company, volunteered for the recently concluded Milan Expo. Courtesy Khaled Saad
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DUBAI // Young Emiratis say they are willing to put their careers on hold to help the country prepare for Expo 2020.

Dubai will on Wednesday be officially confirmed as the host nation at a special assembly in Paris by the world fair organisers.

The UAE’s registration as the expo host will be formally ratified at the general assembly of the Bureau of International Expositions, the governing body overseeing world fairs, at its headquarters in France.

Emiratis who served as the country’s ambassadors at the recently finished Milan Expo said they would take time off from their careers to help prepare for Dubai’s event.

“This is the biggest thing ever for us. I know a lot of guys who will give up their jobs to work in Expo 2020,” said Khaled Saad, a laboratory chemist at Abu Dhabi Oil Refining Company.

“The UAE being confirmed as the expo host is a highly anticipated event and we want to be associated with the Expo from the start. I would do the impossible to be part of the Expo.

“It would be a dream come true to do this for my country. It was a learning experience to be part of the Milan Expo but our Expo 2020 will leave a legacy.”

Building work at the Expo site in Dubai South can start when the UAE’s bid dossier is ratified in Paris. But most young people do not want to wait five years to be part of the event.

“For sure I’m planning to contact the Expo 2020 organisers immediately to find out any opportunities because I would like to participate from now onwards and not wait for the next four or five years,” said Amal Al Kuwaiti, a contract engineer with Abu Dhabi Distribution Company.

Ms Al Kuwaiti helped visitors at the UAE pavilion in Milan to understand the country’s culture, heritage and economic growth, and had also volunteered at the Shanghai Expo five years ago.

“I would take time off, spend my annual leave on this, because I would be so proud to be part of the preparation and organising.

“This ratification will help the country set future goals and motivate us to work harder. It is a big achievement because it’s the first time the Expo will be hosted by a country in the Middle East.”

Others say the popularity of the UAE’s sand-dune-inspired pavilion convinced many visitors at the Milan Expo to come to Dubai as well.

Many citizens can already imagine the structures that will be set up in Dubai South under the initial masterplan, such as the central Al Wasl Plaza that will connect the themes of opportunity, mobility and sustainability.

“Every time I travel towards Abu Dhabi I’m full of happiness because I think of all the pavilions that will be built here and how our country can show its creativity,” said Saleh Al Raeesi, who lives in Kalba and works with the Emirates Identity Authority in Fujairah.

“The plan of the Wasl area for our Expo is a thoughtful choice because Al Wasl means connection. This is a very exciting time for our country because now the actual preparations can start.

“This will be the start of great ideas and I definitely want to be a part of it.”