Dubai, Expo2020: a global event of 'tolerance and inclusiveness' during Covid
Postponed due to the pandemic, it is being celebrated to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Emirates. Running from 1 October to 31 March, it offers over 60 events each day. The Apostolic Vicar of Arabia invited among speakers. Doha and Riyadh vying for leadership in the region. Migrants from East and West.
Dubai (AsiaNews) - Tolerance and inclusiveness, environment and development, climate and biodiversity, water and global objectives, as well as a series of events linked to "mobility, sustainability and opportunities" is the leitmotif that runs through the next universal exhibition, which opens to the public on October 1 next and runs to March 31 2022.
Expo2020 Dubai is one of the first mass events since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. It has been postponed by a year from its original schedule due to the global health emergency triggered by the coronavirus.
The motto of the international exhibition is "Connecting Minds and Creating the Future" and the aim is to strengthen the links between minds and individuals, to map out the future of the planet and its development in economic, social, cultural and environmental terms. In religious terms, as evidenced by the week dedicated to 'tolerance and inclusiveness' scheduled from 14 to 20 November, includes the participation of leading personalities of the Muslim and Christian faith, among them the Apostolic Vicar of Northern and Southern Arabia, Monsignor Paul Hinder.
There are 192 nations present at the Expo, which has always been a breeding ground for invention and an opportunity for economic and commercial exchange. More than 60 events are planned each day, spread over an exhibition area of 4.3 square kilometres, which eight years ago was still a desert site when the event was awarded. Today it is a blossoming of pavilions and state-of-the-art exhibition sites, thanks to a total investment "for the biggest show in the world", as the organisers put it, of at least 5.8 billion euros.
At the time of Covid, visitors will have to provide proof of vaccination (with a full cycle in the case of a double dose) or a negative molecular swab within the previous 72 hours. In order to encourage admissions, there will also be a centre where the test can be carried out in real time adjacent to the exhibition centre, in addition to the various facilities located in different parts of the city.
A series of robots called 'patrol bots' will walk around the halls and exhibition spaces with facial recognition cameras, temperature scanners, an emergency button and the task of reminding people of basic hygiene rules and social distancing, as far as possible.
Forecasts speak of 25 million visitors, more than Milan's 21 million and twice the population of the Emirates. However, the numbers will have to be confirmed by actual attendance due to travel restrictions and last-minute cancellations linked to the pandemic. T
he postponement by a year makes the event even more symbolic because it coincides with the 50th anniversary of the foundation of the Emirates as an independent federation in 1971. It is the first universal exhibition in the Arab world and, more generally, in the Middle East.
Dubai has won the kermesse, confirming its regional leadership, which is now increasingly taken over by Doha and its historical allies-rivals, Saudi Arabia, which under Mohammad bin Salman (Mbs) has launched the 'Vision 2030' development plan, which looks to the future with ambition. And which, not even in a too veiled manner, aims at wresting the dominance of the Emirates as the economic, financial and commercial hub of the region.
In a region characterised by a very strong presence of economic migrants, not only from Asia, in the traditional sectors of family assistance, construction and infrastructure, but today rich in Western workers in finance, trade and innovation, individual rights and freedoms, including religious freedoms, acquire even greater value.
Hence the decision to organise seminars, events and meetings on tolerance, coexistence, peace and human brotherhood: after all, Abu Dhabi and the Emirates were the venue for the historic signing of the document on brotherhood by Pope Francis and the Imam of al-Azhar. Both are precursors of a vision of the future that Expo2020 Dubai also wants to adopt.