Numbers do not tell the full story though, in terms of statistics, Expo 2020 Dubai has been a spectacular achievement. But look deeper, and Expo is a people’s success. On every people metric — be it expectation, learning, scale and happiness — Expo has delivered to the hearts and minds of the nation and the world.
Rarely has such a project faced the toughest challenge — Covid and its impact on the social, economic and political spheres across the world. That Expo overcame all that is a testament to planning, learning and perseverance. It’s a tribute to continuity as well. Reem Al Hashimy, Expo’s Director-General and Minister of State for International Cooperation, has often spoken about creating a great legacy.
Expo 2020 Dubai has not only generated learnings for future expos, it has become a powerful symbol of national pride. It has reimagined the idea of Expo into something bigger: Expo Forever.
The finale deserves this banner headline: Expo ended yesterday. It begins today. That’s the real story of the last six months, 192 country pavilions, and over 23 million visitors. But it’s a story of individuals, too, say KT’s reporters, who have spoken to a whole host of people that made up the Expo.
Ahmad Bukhash, the architect behind The Good Place, which supports innovative solutions for the betterment of people, says “selflessness and the aim to create a better world” were the key themes that defined The Good Place. Aazam Tahir Gandhi, who has visited 190 pavilions and has a treasure trove of 23 Expo passports, speaks of his limitless journey: “I have been coming here almost every day. I know every nook and cranny of this place…I want to get more out of this Expo.”
Expo became a home for Nahla Abdul Lateef: “My husband used to drop me and my daughter to the site in the mornings and pick us up in the evenings. We spent a good family time.” Expo is a lasting legacy for security guard Divine Elomba Njombi: “It is my greatest experience working at the Expo, knowing it’s one of the biggest events that’s going to bring many nations together. I will be glad to share this story with my loved ones.”
When that story is shared, it will open minds to the big ideas that the Expo showcased: balance, connect and innovation. Visitors got their cues from architecture, exhibits, interfaces, themes and interactions. But it was, finally, one message that resonated across the UAE: togetherness. As the world came to Dubai, the city welcomed it and revealed its commitment to a better world. Al Wasl Plaza dome, an architectural marvel, symbolises a future where sustainability, mobility and opportunity create a confluence of cultures. That’s a reminder of who we are and what we can do. It’s a quest for a great future.