The United Arab Emirates (UAE) recently announced that it has selected the theme for its national pavilion at the World Expo 2020, which will be held in Dubai. Dr Abdulrahman Al Ansari reviews.
Often billed as “one of greatest shows on earth,” the World Expo is a large global exhibition. The 2020 World Expo will be held in Dubai from October 2020 to April 2021, marking the first time the event will be hosted in the Middle East. Figures suggest that over 25 million visitors from more than 180 nations will flock to the UAE’s most prosperous city for the World Expo 2020.
Countries will host pavilions featuring a range of exhibitions at the event. Based opposite the Al Wasl Plaza, which lies in the centre of the Expo’s 200-hectare exhibition zone, the UAE’s pavilion will cover up to 15,000 square meters. The space will feature exhibition areas, VIP lounges, food and beverage outlets and an auditorium. Abu Dhabi-based renewable energy firm Masdar held a seven-month competition to determine who will design the Emirati pavilion at the World Expo 2020.
The National Media Council has now named Santiago Calatrava the winner of this competition, which saw nine of the planet’s most reputable architectural companies submit 11 concepts for the pavilion. News agency Arabian Business reports that within his proposal, the Spanish architect suggested that the design for the UAE’s World Expo 2020 pavilion should be inspired by a falcon in light.
Commenting on this news, Minister of State and National Media Council Chairman Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber said: “The proposed design of the UAE Pavilion captures the story we want to tell the world about our nation. Our late founding father His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan used falconry expeditions to forge connections between tribes and to create a distinct national identity which ultimately led to the founding of the UAE.”
Elaborating, Al Jaber commented: “Now, the falcon design will symbolise how we are connecting the UAE to the minds of the world and how as a global community we can soar to new heights through partnership and cooperation.” Adding his thoughts, World Expo 2020 Director General and Minister of State for International Cooperation Reem Ebrahim Al Hashimy noted: “The pavilion will be one of the Expo’s greatest icons.
“The design will evoke the pioneering spirit and power of connections that transformed the UAE from a collection of small, desert communities, into a global connection point. The UAE pavilion will become an important cornerstone in our site and will have a legacy plan that will reflect our hopes and ambitions for the many years to come.” Speaking about his appointment, Calatrava said: “I am confident that the final design will be a symbol of the bold and daring spirit of the UAE, reflected in what is poised to be the most inclusive and global Expo in history.”
Writing in 2013, Gulf News suggested that the UAE will reap a number of benefits from the World Expo 2020. The Expo’s projected 25 million attendees should inject new capital into Dubai’s economy. Attendee spending could boost a wide range of the emirate’s most prosperous sectors, from travel and tourism to retail and the restaurant trade. Furthermore, the Expo will bring Dh25bn worth of new projects, from malls and leisure facilities to metro stations and road projects to Dubai, allowing the city to benefit economically from increased infrastructure investment and spending.
It is vital that the UAE throws a spectacular World Expo 2020, so the country cannot afford to develop a sub-standard pavilion. By utilising Calatrava’s design, the Emirates’ will ensure it cultivates the dynamic pavilion that attendees expect from the host nation of the World Expo. Not only will this justify incoming international investment to investors, it could promote the UAE as an attractive investment destination globally, allowing it to reap economic benefits for years to come.
Abdulrahman Al Ansari has more than 18 years of experience in the global financial services industry. He serves as the chairman of a number of reputable financial firms including AMA Investment Holding and Bid Capital Management Consultancy.
Abdulrahman’s professional portfolio encompasses a diverse range of sectors from commodities and natural resources to education, healthcare, oil & gas and investment banking. He has earned a reputation as an innovator, who consistently develops new ideas and solutions to address the complex and demanding challenges which confront his clients every day. Over the years, Abdulrahman has cultivated a special interest in the continued economic and community development of the UAE.