Dubai (New Ziana) – After a year long delay because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Expo2020 Dubai, the first World Expo to be hosted in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region, finally kicked off on Thursday with a flawless opening ceremony which was graced by the United Arab Emirates’ royal family and several other local and foreign dignitaries.
The stunning opening ceremony which was marked by spectacular fireworks displays and performances by several local and international artists including African music icon Angelique Kidjo, was streamed live around the globe.
The Expo, which was due to open at the same time last year, will run under the theme “Connecting Minds, Creating the future,” until March 2022.
Expo2020 commissioner general Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan said over 190 countries as well as businesses and multilateral organisations were participating at the expo.
“Today 192 nations come together, each represented by its own pavilion, a first in the 170 year history of world expos,” he said.
The expo becomes the largest global event held since the start of the pandemic in 2019.
“Our mere presence here amid all the challenges the world is facing is proof of our keen commitment and desire to make the world a better place for all. By hosting expo 2020 Dubai we aim to convey a message of tolerance and that we are willing to collaborate with all of the world.”
Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) secretary general Dimitri Kerkentzes said the expo provided an “extraordinary” opportunity for the world to re-connect in the midst of the pandemic.
“The whole world is coming together for the first time since the pandemic began to connect, to exchange and to learn on this extraordinary global stage for tens of millions of people.
Expo2020 Dubai is a tremendous occasion to re-connect with the whole world and to truly engage with critical questions of universal importance and to showcase innovative and cutting edge solutions to our global problems.”
Dubai won the right to host the expo in 2013.
According to the event organisers, the expo will give participants the chance to deliberate on how to create a better, more sustainable future.
At the first 1889 fair, France unveiled its Eiffel Tower and 12 years later, the X-ray machine made its debut in Buffalo, New York.
This time around, organizers will use a newly built futuristic city to address the world’s most pressing challenges and opportunities.
Covering an area of 4.38 square kilometres – equal to more than 600 football pitches – the site will be home to state-of-the-art pavilions among other exhibits.