Dubai Leads the Way: The Perfect Choice for World Expo 2020

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(Special Feature By: Ex Ambassador Javed Malik | Editor-in-Chief)

When the founders of the World Expo held their first session in London in 1851 one of the main conceptual themes behind its formation was to create a global platform that connects people from different parts of the world. A global platform that celebrates cultural diversity and creates opportunities for people from different backgrounds, cultures and faiths to engage positively with each other, share ideas and innovations in the common pursuit of achieving progress and prosperity for themselves, their countries and the world at large. So, since then, World Expos have been held at regular intervals around the world to carry forward this spirit and to move closer towards the goal of human cooperation at a global scale.

In the next few days, the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) will decide which city would host the World Expo in the year 2020. Looking at the list of candidate cities, Dubai stands tall among all the competing destinations, because, in more ways than one, Dubai actually symbolizes the very spirit [mentioned earlier] that motivated the founders of World Expo when they launched this concept in 1851. This makes Dubai the natural choice for the World Expo 2020.

I say this because the UAE in general and Dubai in particular is a shining example of human cooperation where people from different cultures, diverse backgrounds and a variety of faiths have come together to achieve success and prosperity for themselves, and in the process have also contributed towards making Dubai one of the most advanced cosmopolitan cities of the modern era. The success of Dubai is a tribute to human cooperation. This is evident from positive partnership between the hospitable people of the United Arab Emirates, and the dedicated expatriates from over 200 nationalities who have collectively evolved a model of success and human cooperation that is unmatched by any other candidate city. This model of success symbolizes the vision of its founding fathers and the dynamic leadership of the President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and the Prime Minister His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who have shown confidence in their people, [nationals and residents alike], and given them the opportunity to be a part of this amazing success story.

It is also true that in a span of just 40 years Dubai has transformed from a small town to one of the most developed and progressive multicultural cities in the world which hosts the world tallest building, the largest man-made island on earth, and is home to world’s richest horse race. Something other candidate cities cannot claim.

But the success of Dubai is not only measured by the tallest building, the largest Man-made island, or indeed the richest horse race but it is also defined by the socially vibrant and culturally diverse society that has become home to people from more than 200 nationalities. In fact, Dubai has emerged as a melting pot of cultures where festivals both traditional and modern are celebrated with equal warmth, and where Arts, Sports, Fashion and Music are encouraged. In Dubai occasions like Eid, Christmas, New Year or Diwali are seen as opportunities that unite people and not divide them, and those speaking Arabic, English, Urdu, Tagalog and several other languages can all feel equally at home. This model of Peace, Love, and harmony places Dubai above all its competitors.

Moreover, by hosting World Expo 2020 in Dubai, the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) [and the world community] would also be sending a very positive signal to the MENASA region (Middle East, North Africa and South Asia) because this would be for the first time that the World Expo would be held in this emerging part of the world. This would be vital for global sustainable development and would also bring the much needed positive limelight on Middle East so that it can utilize this opportunity to showcase the abundant opportunities it has to offer to the world. Similarly, Dubai Expo 2020 also promises to be the most widely attended international Expo in history because most of the 20 million participants and visitors that are expected to take part would come from outside the host country. This would open the doors for major international participation for the surrounding region and that’s another reason why Dubai stands tall among all other candidate cities.

On a personal level, I support Dubai Expo 2020 bid, not only because this amazing city has been my home for the last decade by also because, I truly believe that the world needs to acknowledge what Dubai and the UAE have achieved in the last 40 years as an example for others to follow by. This would be the perfect opportunity for “Connecting minds, Creating the Future”, not only for Dubai, but also for the region.

Javed Malik is a former Ambassador. He is the President of The Diplomat Business Club & Publisher of The Diplomat Magazine based in London & Dubai. He can be reached on and Twitter @JavedMalik