By Hermoine Macura-Noble
Special to The Times Kuwait

Thousands of people headed towards the Expo 2020 Dubai site today as the pavilions began opening their doors to the public and international visitors who have flown in especially to witness the first major event globally since the pandemic began.

Representatives for the 192 countries – which are showcasing stunning architectural designs, fascinating cultural insights, the latest innovations and much more – expressed excitement for their imminent participation in the six-month mega-event, which runs from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022.

Pavan Kapoor, Ambassador of India to the UAE, said: “The four-storey Indian pavilion – one of the largest pavilions at Expo 2020 – features an exterior mosaic of panels that will depict different themes as they rotate on their axis. Inside, visitors can learn about everything from the country’s yoga and wellness story to its burgeoning space-technology sector. Wonderful success stories of Indians in the UAE, initiatives and future plans will be showcased at the India Pavilion.”

Apart from the extraordinary events, concerts, educational opportunities, and entertainment that will be shared over the next 6 months, the event also aims to build business and trade between particting countries. It’s an unmissable opportunity for countries to build on existing relationships and identify new trade and investment opportunities, explains Justin McGowan, Commissioner General of the Australia Pavilion.

“Global collaboration is integral to the world’s economic and social recovery. Throughout the six-month-long event, we will be showcasing the strength of our economy and world-class capabilities through a combination of in-person and virtual events. As a nation, we are excited to be able to join our Emirati friends for this significant global event.” McGowan added.

Expo is also a great opportunity for governments, NGO’s, and humanitarian organisations to also connect and collaborate on issues that most to our world right now including sustainability and the humanitarian crisis in the Arab world.

“The opening of Expo 2020 Dubai signals an unprecedented window of opportunity for people from all walks of life. As a UAE-based global philanthropic organisation, Dubai Cares is extremely proud to be part of this mega-event that will exhibit our emirate and nation’s capabilities in bringing the world together for an extraordinary showcase of the power of human ingenuity, creativity, and collaboration,” shares Dr. Tariq Al Gurg, Commissioner General of the Dubai Cares Pavilion and Chief Executive Officer and Vice-Chairman of Dubai Cares.

Sustainability is a major theme at Expo 2020 and as one of the three key subthemes, it’s a major focus for all the countries participating as well as many visitors attending. Star performer at the Expo opening ceremony and Goodwill Ambassador for UN Environment, Ellie Goulding shared more.“I think the most important issue for young people when it comes to sustainability is actually that young people are the ones understanding it. And, in terms of getting it right, it’s actually the older generations that need to change and particularly those in power. Lasting change really comes with policy change,” concluded Goulding.

Visitors can also expect one of the greatest collections of art and culture as well at each pavilion. Notre-Dame de Paris, the Expérience’ – an innovative exhibition on the cathedral’s 850-year history using physical scenography and augmented reality, opened at the France Pavilion today.

The exhibition, which runs until November 1st, takes visitors through the cathedral’s construction in the Middle Ages, its role in the religious, cultural and political life of France, and the restoration work being undertaken following the damage the World Heritage building sustained in a fire in April 2019.

‘Histopads’ – cutting-edge tablet devices developed by the French start-up Histovery – will provide visitors with a virtual and interactive experience of historical events, such as the coronation of Emperor Napoleon I and the construction of the spire of Viollet-le-Duc.

Under the theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’, Expo 2020 is the biggest cultural gathering in the world. For 182 visually striking and emotionally inspiring days, more than 200 participants – including 192 nations, plus multilateral organisations, businesses, and educational institutions, as well as millions of visitors – are creating the largest and most diverse World Expo ever.

The first Australian English speaking News Anchor in the Middle East. She is also the Author of Faces of the Middle East and Founder of US-based 501c3 charity – The House of Rest which helps to ease the suffering of victims of war. For more from our Contributing Editor, you can follow her on Instagram, here.

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