If Dubai wins Expo 2020

Badria al-Bishr
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One of Dubai’s aesthetic qualities is that it leaves you with a certain impression, it always provides you numbers, data and facts to back up that impression. It’s an emotional attraction that those around you may describe as favoritism. But I feel a sense of pride every time I witness an Emirati achievement in human advancements.

Take Metro Dubai as an example. It’s the first modern transportation experience in the Arab world. Dubai has produced figures stating that the number of passengers reached 33 million in the first three months of this year. It proved wrong all those who had warned that the Metro would not be successful in a Gulf environment.

In the list of achievements, it is stated that the ”UAE’s GDP has doubled more than 190 times during the past 40 years”

Badria al-Bishr

There are many examples. But let's take these amazing numbers provided by Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashed in the list of achievements presented in the UAE’s bid to host Expo 2020. If Dubai wins, it will host around 25 million people during six months. It will host the most prominent human achievements in different fields, among them transportation, energy and water.

In the list of achievements, it is stated that the ”UAE’s GDP has doubled more than 190 times during the past 40 years, and that it has transformed from a country that had no universities into one that has more than 70 universities. It has also transformed from a state that had small ports for diving and fishing, into one whose ports deal with more than 100 shipments every minute. More than 80 million passengers also pass through its airports.”

A transformation

The UAE has also transformed from a country unaware of modern governmental regulations into a state that is number one across the world in government competency, according to a report from the International Institute for Management Development. Dubai also has the biggest underground Metro station in the world, with trains that operate without a driver. It also is home to the world’s third largest global airline. Its government has developed as one of the best digital governments in the world and it has begun to shift into the era of the “smart government.”

The list of achievements is long and one article is not enough to expound upon them. But in the end, they were based on rare implementation processes, in which younger generations pride themselves on fulfilling their own achievements instead of boasting about the previous generations’ achievements.

If Dubai wins hosting Expo 2020, it will be a win for the region. The UAE will show that our region is not one of disputes and wars but a region of cultural openness and co-existence, as has been achieved in Dubai. The country does not aspire to be involved in huge political adventures, but at the same time it does not remain in the shadows and continues to move forward towards knowledge and progress.

This article was first published in al-Hayat on June 15, 2013.


Dr. Badria al-Bishr is a multi-award-winning Saudi columnist and novelist. A PhD graduate from the American University of Beirut, and an alumnus of the U.S. State Department International Visitor program. Her columns put emphasis on women and social issues in Saudi Arabia. She currently lectures at King Saud University's Department of Social Studies.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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