Follow the latest updates on Expo 2020 Dubai here
Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak has praised tens of thousands of volunteers who stood by their commitment to be part of the world fair through the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence and commissioner general of Expo 2020 Dubai, said the country was grateful for the dedication of 30,000 volunteers.
“The commitment of the Expo 2020 volunteers has never wavered, even when faced by the challenge of a pandemic,” he said.
“We are grateful for their passion and dedication, rooted in an understanding of what Expo 2020 is capable of achieving.
“With their support, Expo 2020 is ready to fulfil its mission of creating a better future for people and planet, in the UAE and across the globe.”
Men, women and teenagers from more than 135 countries have completed more than 40,000 hours of training.
Orientation sessions will continue in the coming months to prepare them for their roles.
“Expo 2020 coincides with the UAE’s Golden Jubilee celebrations and I am humbled to recognise that the Expo 2020 volunteers share a common set of values that mirror the principles on which our nation has thrived,” Sheikh Nahyan said.
“They are from diverse nationalities, backgrounds and age groups, and will travel from all seven emirates to join us as we welcome the world in a spirit of compassion, collaboration and optimism for the future."
Thousands of volunteers have attended orientation programmes at Dubai Exhibition Centre at the Expo site.
The initiation has covered online sessions, face-to-face guidance about roles and site-specific training.
Volunteers range from university students, public and private sector employees to national service cadets, housewives, retirees and people with special needs.
Emiratis represent 45 per cent of the volunteers who are aged from 18 to 79 years.
The volunteers shared their experiences of the training process.
“I feel great because it’s going to be a part of history so I felt like my grandchildren will be able to see that later on,” said Cardela Coulson, 57, an Australian originally from the Philippines.
“It’s Expo 2020… it’s an experience that you won’t be able to get in your lifetime … I’m also excited to meet and see different people from other parts of the world.”
Emirati volunteer Kenan Abdul Ghani, 28, said he did not have a moment of hesitation to sign on.
“It is a great honour for me to represent the UAE in this global platform. I am very much looking forward to the opening of Expo 2020 Dubai and to working with my team at the country pavilions to learn about the cultures of more than 190 countries, as well as their customs and traditions.”
For Indian citizens, the Expo is even bigger than Bollywood, India’s colourful movie industry.
“The orientation experience has been amazing. There are shows, there are lights, it’s bigger than Bollywood … and I am just waiting for when live shows would happen,” said Roopa Udeshi, 31, from Mumbai.
Joe Moscaritolo, a volunteer from the United States, recalled visiting a World Expo in his home country.
“I went to a World Expo when I was a teenager, my grandmother brought me and my brothers to the New York Expo – actually in Flushing, New York – that’s the only one I’ve ever been to,” he said.
“And now I’m at this one… the technology, the amazing buildings… There are more than 190 countries and I can’t wait to see the various pavilions.”
Expo 2020 Dubai opens on October 1 and will involve more than 200 participants from 192 nations, representing a host of fields such as businesses and education.