Visiting the UAE pavilion at Milan Expo 2015 has been an emotional experience for some Emiratis, who felt it captured perfectly the hardships their ancestors endured.
While some hope the visit will boost business opportunities and knowledge, others believe it will help give their children a greater understanding of their home and the world.
"I was very emotionally connected by the movies they show at the pavilion to how the UAE has grown,” said Sultan Al Mahmoud, a Government employee on holiday in Milan.
"I was very excited and impressed. For me, the main part of the pavilion is the movie, it was amazing, incredible, fantastic. How they presented the film, the technology used is superb. But the key part is Mahra, at nine years of age, she did an amazing job.”
The short film screened at the UAE pavilion, The Family Tree, has been a hit at the Milan Expo, making Mahra Mustafa, a young Emirati girl who plays Sara in the film, something of a celebrity.
The film transports Sara to the 1960s when resources were scarce. It teaches her about survival in the desert, how the date palm sustained Emiratis and how the experiences of the older generation can help the UAE in the future.
The film then moves on to look at the development that has taken place in the UAE.
"For a UAE national like me to look at our country 40 years ago and compare it to today, it is emotional, and I thank God that we are blessed with everything,” Mr Al Mahmoud said.
"So I compare today and the past and how our families suffered and struggled to earn and to work. They were in difficult situations in the past, but thanks to God we had a great leader in Sheikh Zayed who had vision and formed the country.”
The world fair is also an opportunity for Emiratis, as well as expatriates living in the UAE, to connect with others working in their industry.
Dubai-based food safety consultant Judy Sebastian has been invited to represent the UAE in a workshop in October with a group of hospitality industry representatives from China, Germany, the US, Canada, Italy, Portugal and Russia.
"It will be interesting to learn about trends, about what is new and upcoming,” said Ms Sebastian, the creator of the FoodSheBlogged website.
"We will look at responsibility in the food and beverage sector. Travel and food cannot be independent of each other, they are interconnected. There will be a technical exchange of information, food preservation, sourcing ingredients responsibly with a prime focus on food safety and sustainability.”
The pavilion also impressed Tunisian mother of two Haneen Feki, who was on a holiday in Italy.
"It is creative and innovative and it's so clever to bring it (the pavilion) back to Masdar,” said the UAE-based expat. "We were in Venice and Turin, so we had to come visit. It was good for the children to see what an expo is, how it will be bigger when it comes to the UAE in 2020.”
Source: The National