The Largest Global Gathering of Its Kind

The World Expo in Dubai opened its doors to the world on 1 October, kicking off a six-month series of events and experiences – including with the United Nations – to engage some 25 million visitors in advancing sustainable development. With a focus on COVID-19 vaccination and protocols, the event is the first large-scale global gathering since March 2020.

The Dubai Expo is also the first in the Middle East in the 170-year history of World Expos (and only the third in a developing country), as well as the first time that every country will have its own pavilion, through UAE support. In addition to 192 participating countries, there is a large UN, multilateral, and private sector presence on the site. The Expo’s theme of “Connecting Minds and Creating the Future” – and sub-themes of sustainability, mobility, and opportunity– are intended to rally participants around solutions to critical global needs. 

For 170 years, Expos across the globe have provided a platform to advance our shared humanity for the common good. Whether through innovation and cultural exchange, or through creativity and collaboration, the events are best known for showcasing the greatest innovations that have shaped the world we live in today. At Expo 2020, innovations range from a planned test flight of Uber’s flying car, to Al Wasl Plaza, the world’s largest unsupported dome.

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H.E. Reem Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director General of Dubai Expo 2020, emphasized the important role an event like Expo 2020 plays in bringing together the international community. Governments, the private sector, innovators and thinkers, and most importantly, the general public, need a venue to jointly solve global problems like the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’ve opened our doors after eight years, nine years of work and one year of a delay because of the pandemic,” Ms Hashimy said.

“We’re continuing to stay safe with our masks, requiring vaccination and negative PCRs but by and large this is remarkable.”

H.E. Reem Al Hashimy

During the six-month long event, Expo will celebrate “Theme Weeks,” which assess humanity’s most critical challenges and propose solutions through a cultural, social, environmental, and economic lens. Expo opened with Climate and Biodiversity Week, including the announcement of the UAE’s Net Zero by 2050 Strategic Initiative, and other weeks include Space, Tolerance and Inclusivity, Global Goals (the SDGs), and Food, Agriculture, and Livelihoods.

Connecting Minds, Creating the Future: Opportunity, Mobility, Sustainability

Amid country and other pavilions, the UN Hub will showcase its theme: “We the Peoples: Shaping our Future Together.” The Hub includes exhibits that tell the stories and achievements of the UN — including its agencies, funds, and programs — and, above all, the people whom the UN serves. 

“The UN presence at Expo will inform, inspire and engage visitors to take impactful action towards a thriving future for people and planet.”

Maher Nasser, Commissioner-General for the United Nations at Expo 2020

Celebration of the United Nations at Expo 2020 is centered on United Nations Day (24 October), and the UN is an organizing partner for the many international days that will be celebrated at Expo. The UN is also an organizing partner for Global Goals Week, which will focus on the Decade of Action and achievement of the SDGs by 2030. Expo and the UN will also host EXPOMUN (Expo Model United Nations), the first ever event at a World Expo with young people from over 120 countries participating, including 200 Model UN club members from across the UAE.

Expo is committed to promoting sustainability throughout the site, as well as after its events conclude. Through the establishment of District 2020 – a smart and sustainable city centered on the needs of its urban community – 80% of Expo’s built environment will be re-purposed into an integrated mixed-use community that will continue to attract businesses and people to work, live, visit, and enjoy.

Dive deeper into what the various Expo districts have to offer and learn how the UAE supports these ideals through its initiatives outlined below.


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The Sustainability District is anchored by “Terra,” the Sustainability Pavilion where visitors can explore the relationship between humans and nature, our fixation with consumerism, and how we can change our everyday choices to reduce our environmental impact.

Terra is an entirely self-sustaining building, both net-zero energy and net-zero water.


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In the Mobility District explore “Alif” – the Mobility Pavilion that represents how we build a harmonious, global society by breaking down the divide between the physical and digital worlds. This district is where visitors can learn how we can enable smarter movement of goods and knowledge through efforts like space innovation and digital technologies.


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The Opportunity District presents visitors with a challenge: to be an agent of change and build a better future for everyone. While you are one in 8 billion and it may seem that the actions of one person can’t change the world, it’s time to think again.

Mission Possible” is the Opportunity Pavilion where visitors can explore how to contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and accordingly end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030. The exhibits throughout this district aim to inspire optimism and encourage visitors to embrace our interconnectedness so we all can be better agents of change.

Join us on a tour of the UAE Pavilion below!