Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid has called on the UAE's next generation to use Expo 2020 Dubai as a launchpad to help shape the future after paying a royal visit to the rapidly-developing site of the global fair.
The Vice President and Ruler of Dubai called on young people to be at the heart of the landmark event, which will be hosted in the Middle East for the first time when it takes over the emirate in less than two years time.
Sheikh Mohammed observed the speedy progress being made on the construction of the massive Expo 2020 site during a tour alongside Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed, chairman of the Expo 2020 Higher Committee, president of the Department of Civil Aviation and chairman and chief executive of Emirates Airline.
It was the latest in a series of visits made to the site of the bold project, spread over more than four sq km, close to Al Maktoum International Airport in Dubai South, since the UAE won staging rights in 2013.
Sheikh Mohammed was briefed on the progress of the event - which will feature 190 countries and is expected to attract more than 25 million visitors during its six-month run - by Reem Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Co-operation.
Sheikh Mohammed was told about the rich array of initiatives being held as part of the global gathering, such as the Expo School Programme, launched in 2016 to allow school pupils to play an integral part in Expo2020 and engage with the event.
"The event is one of the largest global gatherings that bring together the world’s greatest minds to discuss how we can shape the future,' said Sheikh Mohammed.
"The youth should play a key part in this mega event and get opportunities to observe, learn and contribute creative ideas so that they can develop innovative solutions for creating a better future for our region and the world.
"Sheikh Zayed directed us that youth should be supported and motivated to participate in the process of nation building. Today, the youth represent a top priority for the UAE.
"This approach has enabled us to achieve a leading status among the developed nations of the world and made us a frontrunner in shaping the future.”
In October, the Expo School Programme launched the Expo 2020 Dubai Visitor Center as part of its outreach programme, attracting students from both government and private schools across the UAE. The Center provides an insight into the Expo and offers exciting workshops for students on the Expo themes.
Sheikh Mohammed’s visit took place in one of the anchor buildings on the site overlooking the Al Wasl Plaza.
Sheikh Mohammed was given updates on the significant progress made by the Expo 2020 real estate and development team. Construction is set to be completed well in event’s opening in.
Eighty percent of the Expo-built structures on site will be retained as part of District 2020, an integrated community that will be a new destination in Dubai.
The new development is set to open in late 2021.
District 2020 is part of the wider national development of Dubai South and will be linked by the Metro extension and connected by four major UAE highways.
It will also play host to an important new national business facility, the Dubai Exhibition Centre.
"The Expo will be a destination for all nations to share their collective visions of the future, specifically for the UAE," said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed.
"It will be happening on the eve of the nation’s 50th Jubilee Anniversary when we will share with the world our vision for the future, our culture and the values we stand for as a nation. Led by our youth, we will celebrate with the world our progress.”
Through its theme 'Connecting Minds, Creating the Future', the event aims to encourage creativity, innovation and collaboration.
Expo 2020 Dubai will open on 20 October, 2020 and close six months later, on 10 April, 2021.