The United Arab Emirates (UAE) yesterday officially received the flag as the host of the next world's largest expo in Dubai in 2020 during a grand ceremony in French capital of Paris.
President and Director of the Paris-based Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), the governing body of World Expos, presented the baton for Expo 2020 Dubai to H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Emirates Group, and Chairman of the Supreme National Committee for Expo 2020 Dubai.
Expo 2020 Dubai, themed 'Connecting Minds, Creating the Future,' has identified three sub-themes around which the global community will gather to sign new collaborations, in order to find solutions to essential matters and to leave a mark of a strong social and economic collaboration around the world.
Milano hosted expo 2015 for six months from May 1 to October 31, 2015.
Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashimy, Minister of State delivered a speech which she started by condemning the act of terror which took place recently in Paris.
Below is a full text of Reem Al Hashimy's speech: Fellow delegates and members of the Bureau Internationale des Expositions.
Before I speak about Expo 2020 and its' place in my nation's heart, I would like to take a simple moment to add my voice to billions of others, around the world, in condemnation of the terror that so recently visited the streets and the people of this great city of light.
Hatred, bigotry and fascism affects us all, because it attacks us all. Wisdom, decency, common purpose and love must be our way of neutralising barbarism.
But, surely, that is what this great institution is all about: to present and reflect our abilities to bring about only the very best our civilisation can offer. To bring hope, and light and life onto the streets and into our hearts that is our opportunity. The opportunity you have given to us.
Ladies and Gentleman, on behalf of the Expo 2020 Organising Committee and the people of the United Arab Emirates, I want to formally thank you for the vote of trust you have bestowed upon our nation.
All of us in the team are deeply conscious of the honour this represents, not least because Expo 2020 will be the first World Expo held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region and specifically hosted by an Arab Nation.
You have brought about a truly historic occasion. And we are more than aware of the extra burden of responsibility this places on our young nation.
I assure you now, that going forward we will work with the same meticulous care and diligence that I hope you feel we have shown to date.
Our aim is both very simple and truly ambitious: to ensure that Expo 2020 Dubai more than repays your faith with an event that we intend will enthral and amaze our visitors.
But before I say more about that, I want to reflect on what it actually means to host a World Expo.
Looking back, the utterly memorable and genuinely significant Expos have almost always managed to accomplish at least three things, simultaneously: 1. They have captured and enshrined both the heart of the host city and the pulse of the nation.
2. Absorbed the prevailing temperament of the world, celebrating the positive aspects and demonstrating the opportunities that lie ahead.
3. And most have also gazed into the future to predict the coming trends in technology, industry, innovation and across society at large.
With your generous support, we are now undertaking our own Expo, wholly aware that we have some pretty tough acts to follow.
Not least because all our nations stand balanced right on the edge of so many global tipping points: political, technological, economic, social and environmental.
So crafting a theme that has relevance to the times and to the temper of the world was essential in choosing the right path to follow.
In finding a proposition that was persuasive, distinctive and clear; that reflected the identity and spirit of the UAE, yet was wholly relevant to today's global needs, we realised the vital importance of connections.
That only working together can we hope to solve some of the towering challenges that lie ahead. Your votes signified that you felt the same way too.
Connecting Minds, Creating the Future recognises that by our very nature we are social creatures whose most basic drives lead us to bond together in communities to find collaborative solutions to common challenges.
We know that we need to blend the thoughtful with the thought-provoking, the hopeful with the hospitable.
Celebrating humanity's combined brilliance and ensuring our guests enjoy the celebration.
This is where the subthemes are needed to concentrate our efforts, to be a catalyst, provide focus and lead on to progress.
The sub-themes identify and underscore the drivers of progress.
Realising Opportunity means we must be more inclusive with greater outreach to the citizenry of the world.
Mobility spans every mechanism from physical logistics and transport, to the built environment and its supporting infrastructure, to real and virtual communications, taking our message and our methodologies beyond our borders.
And Sustainability is there both in word as in deed. We intend to make this the first expo where sustainability has been built in from the word go. Also built in from the earliest moments, our Expo legacy encompasses the economic effects on tourism and business, the reputational legacies in national pride and international impression.
Then there are the Physical legacies: structures and infrastructures with cultural, educational and commercial benefits including research institutes, business and residential spaces.
Make no mistake, our site will transform into a very special area, clustering together science and industry hubs that play to Dubai's strengths in logistics, air transport and education, providing a further boost to our growing knowledge economy, embedding science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics into the curriculum, helping to prepare our young for the jobs market of the future.
There is, of course, a higher, non-commercial legacy too: Our determination to create a meeting of minds, real and virtual, to encourage and foster empathy between us all, and across the globe, but especially in our region where confidence and belief in our self-worth will, we hope, lead to better understanding of our place alongside every other citizen of the world.
And, in so doing we hope to foster genuine empathy, in its true meaning, and with it, tolerance. Even before we open our gates the work has started with initiatives like Expo Live and the Challenge Fund: championing and rewarding innovative solutions to collective global issues. And with outreach programmes across the spectrum, such as YouthConnect.
Just recently, we had the privilege of hosting almost 700 young people at the first of these annual events. They helped design the agenda and choose the speakers and presenters. They told us clearly what they expect for the future and from their Expo we listened hard and we learned a lot.
They want and need opportunity, they want hope, they want to contribute to a fairer, more decent global civilisation. They want Expo to accept and reflect all these things and then offer them back to the world.
Simultaneously, we are engaging with young entrepreneurs for their support and participation, and talking repeatedly to SME's across the region, to ensure they understand the vital role they have to play.
Similarly, we are constantly meeting with business leaders from many of your own countries through the forum of the international Business Councils.
Events like this are just the beginning: there will be many, many, more over the coming five years extending the conversation from business out into education and beyond, to arts and culture, entertainment and sport.
Above all, out onto the streets and homes; not least our own.
And to help us get the measure of this, to monitor the global pulse, understand the latest thinking and enabling technology, just a few days ago, my team and I sat with three dozen global thought leaders in Dubai.
Over 48 hours, each of our guests presented the very best they could bring from areas as diverse as architecture and artificial intelligence, climatology and culture.
The thinking was wholly positive, utterly forward looking, perilously profound above all it was fresh and new. We listened, we learned, we debated and we discussed. In so many ways it was a connection of minds, that came together aimed at creating the future.
Friends and fellow participants, the clock is ticking; the countdown has begun to Dubai 2020.
We have hit the ground running, determined not to waste a single minute in doing all we can, with your involvement and support, to make this Expo one that is seen as genuinely meaningful, impactful and enjoyable.
We've already up'd the pace, working to a comprehensive Master Plan that brings all the different threads into a coherent programme that we look forward to telling you more about at next year's June Assembly.
We're excited about the process of delivery. It's a huge and challenging undertaking but, as you have seen, the UAE strives to be a dynamic and highly ambitious nation with a record of getting things done on time and in budget.
And just as you have all collectively come together to award this milestone Expo. So, I hope, you can see your place alongside us as official participants in 2020.
We recognise that this will be easier for some countries than for others, where resources are more constrained.
To that end, we are constructing a calendar of one-to-one meetings with each participant to ensure that every country has the opportunity and funding to tell their own distinctive, national story.
In doing so, the UAE will break new ground by offering all member nations their own individual pavilion, their own unique narrative.
The last time we addressed this assembly we were delighted to tell you that we were on time and on track, that Expo 2020 Dubai had the whole-hearted and unconditional support at every level of Government.
Today, it is my distinct pleasure to tell you that nothing has changed. Except for the better.
The desire to help, to get involved grows stronger by the day.
This time it is my honour to add that we are registered and ready for the journey ahead.
Friends and colleagues, we started this journey together as members of the BIE It is our most fervent wish that we should continue together with universal effort and participation. Not just by providing the bricks and mortar, or rather the concrete and glass, for the pavilions but also by continuing to give us your enthusiasm, engagement, support and backing with messages, ideas, content and legacy. A legacy that will have a meaningful impact for years and decades to come.
I thank you all for your kind attention today, your belief in what we are doing and, of course, for your boundless backing enthusiasm and encouragement.