Dubai deserves to win Expo 2020
An army of Emirati youths and sheikhs have for months planned, prepared and traveled in order to portray Dubai’s image and message
On our way to dinner, my Emirati friend appeared worried and asked me to pray that Dubai wins the bid for the World Expo 2020. The envoys of 166 countries will meet on Wednesday during the Bureau of International Expositions’ (BIE) general assembly to announce the name of the Expo 2020 city-host.
The cities competing are Izmir in Turkey, Ekaterinburg in Russia, Sao Paolo in Brazil and Dubai - I won’t say in the UAE but in the “Arab countries” as it represents all Arabs. Many people, myself included, are cautiously waiting for the result to be announced.
An army of Emirati youths and sheikhs have for months planned, prepared and traveled in order to portray Dubai’s image and message. Dubai’s theme in the competition is: “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future.” This slogan is a historical expansion of an Arab civilization which flourished during the era of al-Ma’mun as the first university in the world was established by him in Baghdad. This paved way for the renaissance of modern Europe when Arabs arrived to Andalusia which was the jewel of the world.
Dubai wants to be these Arab cities’ granddaughter in delivering a civilized message and thus fight accusations stating that the Arab region is a region of tension and struggle. This cannot be achieved unless Dubai is presented as a competitor to host Expo 2020. Therefore, Dubai is trying to convince the world that it deserves to win as it succeeded in becoming a world hub for commerce, tourism and business and as it has an exceptional infrastructure that includes global airports and modern roads and transportation. There are Metro Dubai, the ports and academic cities that host 70 universities and media cities.
An army of Emirati youths and sheikhs have for months planned, prepared and traveled in order to portray Dubai’s image and messageBadria al-Bishr
Dubai has also succeeded in establishing an economy based on knowledge. Dubai International Airport is the third largest aviation hub. In 2012, it hosted around 85 million people. People of different nationalities and religions live there in harmony and peace. The best world universities, banks and markets have been established on its land. 30 percent of Arab youths said in a recent referendum that Dubai is the city to live in.
Even if Dubai doesn’t win as the city-host of Expo 2020, it has won at competing as it presented itself in an image that makes winning a reward which a city as ambitious and diligent as Dubai deserves. I have no doubt that this city’s leader, Mohammad bin Rashed, knew exactly how to manage Dubai’s bid as city-host of the exhibition.
Victory tastes good but a city’s possession of such energies tastes better than victory. For example, we knew that we can only get to the Russian city of Ekaterinburg - which is competing with Dubai - through Fly Dubai.
Dubai deserves to be prayed for as the city-host winner will be soon announced. But before the result is announced, let’s keep in mind that Dubai’s entry to the competition along with three other countries is another victory. Dubai won ever since it’s decided to dream and live in the future. This is why Dubai deserves to win.
This article was first published in al-Hayat on Nov. 25, 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.
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