Delegations from across the world participating in Expo 2020 Dubai were welcomed by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces at the event’s spectacular opening ceremony. Participants from 192 countries have converged on Dubai for the mega global event, which is being held for the first time in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region.
Taking place from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022, Expo 2020 Dubai will highlight music, architecture, technology and culture from around the globe as part of its packed events calendar. The event will provide all attendees with the opportunity to celebrate the history and achievements of other countries. It will also bring together the world’s brightest minds through its Programme for People and Planet, which gives visitors of all ages and backgrounds the opportunity to enjoy and make the most of this exceptional event.
Attendees at the opening ceremony witnessed a groundbreaking, immersive audiovisual show, with breathtaking performances, special effects and larger-than-life props, with spectacular visuals displayed on the world’s largest 360-degree projection surface. The ceremony perfectly showcased the talents and creativity of the UAE and the world.
The opening ceremony is the first event of its kind to be held in Al Wasl Plaza, the heart of the Expo 2020 Dubai, with its dome and circular stage placing audiences in an intimate, immersive setting. As the stage revolved, cutting-edge theatrical techniques involving sound, light and projections brought the show to life. A star-studded line-up from the UAE and the world were in attendance at the ceremony, which was developed by creative minds from a range of different geographies, industries and backgrounds.
The Opening Ceremony drew its inspiration from the Expo 2020 Dubai theme, “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future,” inviting the audience to embark on a journey full of excitement, embracing the sub-themes of the global event – Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability – to highlight deep-rooted Emirati values, and the vision and goals of Expo 2020 Dubai. It served as the perfect welcome for the 192 countries participating in this extraordinary mega-event.
An important opportunity to highlight Expo 2020 Dubai’s commitment to the highest standards of health and safety for its employees, participants and visitors, the opening ceremony was a chance to showcase the many measures and protocols in place – reassuring for global attendees gathering together for the first time in the wake of the pandemic.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said the opening of Expo 2020 is a historic moment for the UAE that is the culmination of the collaborative efforts of national teams who have worked with dedication, passion and pride to deliver an exceptional event. Bringing together people from 192 nations representing a vast diversity of cultures and experiences, Expo’s opening is a moment of pride for the entire nation, he said.
“Today, the UAE starts another chapter in its journey to the future with a new sense of purpose. It is a journey full of exciting possibilities where new dreams and ambitions can be realised. The UAE has shown the world that it always embraces challenges, and that it is capable of emerging stronger from crises by creating new opportunities for growth and development,” His Highness said.
“Expo 2020 Dubai showcases the best of human accomplishment and excellence. Connecting minds across the world, the event brings countries, cultures and institutions together to share groundbreaking ideas and build bridges of understanding. It offers a platform to forge a united worldwide effort to build a more sustainable and prosperous future for all of mankind,” HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid noted.
Expo 2020 Dubai will provide a strong impetus to the world’s post-pandemic recovery. It will generate fresh insights on how we can combine our capabilities and work together as one global community for the greater good of humanity.
“Expo 2020 reflects the UAE’s inclusive culture which brings together the whole globe in one nation. Today, the world has gathered here to offer the best of what they have, and in return, we will offer the best of what we have. We are committed to deliver the most exceptional Expo the world has ever seen,” HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid said.
His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan said the UAE, under the leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, is delighted to welcome people from across the world to Expo 2020. “Bringing together participants from 192 countries, this global event reflects the ethos of this land, which has always been a meeting point for diverse civilizations and cultures – a land that has upheld the values of tolerance and peaceful coexistence throughout its history,” he said.
“The holding of the event for the first time in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region is a testament to the rapid strides the UAE has made in various spheres of life and the commitment it has shown to building global collaboration. “The driving force behind the exceptional organisation of Expo 2020 is a visionary leader with indomitable will, my brother His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, who has worked tirelessly to inspire and unite national teams to deliver an outstanding event that is a source of joy and pride for the people of the UAE,” said HH Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed.
Welcoming global participants, HH Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed said Expo provides an unparalleled platform for new international economic, technological and commercial partnerships, and a worldwide dialogue to unlock new avenues for progress. Through unique forums for exchange of ideas and insights, Expo 2020 Dubai will explore fresh horizons of global development, His Highness said. The event is also an opportunity for the world to discover new solutions for its most daunting challenges including the pandemic and climate change, in keeping with the spirit of its overarching theme “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future”.
His Highness also expressed his appreciation for the talented teams from the UAE and other nations that have worked to organise the event. He called on all citizens, residents and organisations in the UAE to contribute towards making the event a great success. His Excellency Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence and Commissioner-General of Expo 2020 Dubai, delivered a speech at the opening event in which he said: “Today, in the year of our Golden Jubilee, we share with the world the lessons we have learnt, most importantly that by connecting minds, we are able to achieve milestones others thought were impossible. It was this same vision that motivated us – back in 2011 – to bid to host the World Expo and to choose “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future” as its theme.”
“Today, 192 nations come together, each represented by its own pavilion – a first in the 170-year history of World Expos. 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. By connecting minds, we hope to sow the seeds of progress for the next 50 or even 100 years. This is the vision we must keep in our minds, for every reality throughout history started with a vision. Today, we say to the whole world: welcome to the United Arab Emirates and welcome to Expo 2020 Dubai, which will provide a significant platform for all people to connect, discuss and work together. Welcome to Expo 2020 Dubai! Together, we will convey, from the UAE to the world, on our 50th anniversary, a message of tolerance, coexistence and peace; a message of progress, prosperity and growth; a message of brotherhood, happiness and an unwavering will to create a brighter future for everyone,” he added.
Dimitri Kerkentzes, Secretary General of the Bureau International des Expositions, expressed his gratitude to the UAE’s leadership and its people, and congratulated them on the opening of the mega event. “This is a historic occasion for World Expos and a culminating moment in the incredible story of Dubai and the United Arab Emirates in the year of its Golden Jubilee. With more than 190 countries participating, all the 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, Expo 2020 Dubai is a tremendous occasion to reconnect with the whole world, to truly engage with critical questions of universal importance and to showcase innovative and cutting-edge solutions to our global problems. I would like to express my gratitude to the leadership of the UAE for having the vision and the perseverance to host this World Expo, – and particularly to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. On behalf of all 170 BIE Member States, I applaud your unremitting determination to moving forward in unison to make this wonderful project a truly vibrant, inclusive and universal experience. Expo 2020 Dubai will be a transformational event creating new partnerships and generating deep and meaningful connections to make our world better,” he said.
His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, announced the official opening of Expo 2020 Dubai, saying: “Today, the entire world gathers in the United Arab Emirates. Today, we witness, together, a new beginning, as we inaugurate, together, with the blessings of Allah, Expo 2020 Dubai. May God grant us success.”