His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s decision to bid to host a World Expo back in 2011 marked the hopes and ambitions of the United Arab Emirates as it celebrated its first 50 years, and reflected the Founding Fathers’ emphasis on the power of partnership and cooperation in the pursuit of meaningful progress.

Submitted in 2012, the Expo 2020 Dubai Bid Dossier detailed the depth of the UAE’s plans. It was clear from the outset that this was a flagship national endeavour that would draw on the expertise and garner the immediate support of government and industry leaders from across the country.

The theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’ captured the ethos and values of the nation – connectivity, progress, tolerance, hospitality – while also encapsulating the belief that connection and collaboration were essential in the service of peace, prosperity and preservation of the planet.

The three Expo 2020 subthemes – Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability – reflected the fundamental pillars of human development and the critical issues leading the global agenda, as well as the expertise and aspirations of the UAE in these fields.

A powerful nation-building and nation-branding exercise, the UAE’s candidacy was characterised by an unprecedented groundswell of support across the emirates and beyond, spanning the public and private sector, with countless opportunities for everyone, from schoolchildren to government and business leaders, to actively engage.

Senior government and business officials from the UAE travelled to the BIE headquarters in Paris on 27 November 2013 for the deciding vote. In a race that included São Paulo, Izmir and Ekaterinburg, Dubai emerged victorious, being named as the official host of the 2020 World Expo and highlighting the world’s ardent belief in what had been promised.

Dubai wins Expo 2020