Dubai Expo opens, bringing the world’s first exposure to the Middle East – NBC Chicago


After eight years of planning and billions of dollars in spending, the first-ever Middle East World Expo opened in Dubai on Friday, in hopes the months-long extravaganza will grab both visitors and attention. from all over the world on this desert that has become a dream landscape.

Dubbed Expo 2020, the event was postponed for a year due to the coronavirus outbreak last year. While this may have an impact on the number of people flocking to the UAE, the six-month exhibition provides Dubai with a unique opportunity to showcase its unique appeal between East and West as as a place where everyone is welcome for business.

Not so long ago, the 1,080-acre (438-hectare) exhibition site was a barren wasteland. Less than a decade later, it’s a bustling futuristic landscape with robots, a new subway station, multi-million dollar pavilions and so-called neighborhoods with names like “sustainability” and “opportunity” – all built, like much of the Gulf, by low-paid migrant workers.

Organizers say 192 nations are represented at the show. The American pavilion will feature a replica of the Space X Falcon 9 rocket. The Italian pavilion houses a 3D replica of Michelangelo’s biblical hero David, who stands 5.2 meters tall. Other attractions include an African dining hall, an Egyptian royal mummy, concerts and shows from around the world, and the option to dine on a $ 500 three-course meal with phosphorescent cuisine.

Since they caused a sensation in London in 1851, the World’s Fairs have long been an opportunity for nations to meet, exchange ideas, present inventions, promote culture and forge business ties.

For more than a century, these global exhibitions have captured the imagination and showcased some of mankind’s most important innovations. The first World’s Fair held in the United States in 1876 debuted with Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone, typewriter, mechanical calculator, and Heinz Ketchup. Held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, this fair attracted nearly 10 million people at a time when the entire American population was estimated at just 40 million. One of its main buildings, Memorial Hall, is now a museum.

Other salons featured inventions like the sewing machine, elevator, soda, Ferris wheel and, in 1939 in New York City, television. People have traveled far for the chance to get a glimpse of the world in a way they wouldn’t have been able to access otherwise.

This year’s exhibition takes place in the midst of a global pandemic, as countless numbers of people still work and study remotely – and virtually connect to the world. It is not known how many visitors Dubai can attract and to what extent the exhibition will boost its tourism-driven economy.

To enter the exhibition site, visitors will be required to present a negative PCR test or proof of COVID-19 vaccination.

So, what is a universal exhibition in this not quite post-pandemic year 2021?

The ruler of Dubai and the force behind the transformation of the emirate, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has said Expo 2020 is a chance to showcase the best of human excellence.

“It offers a platform to forge a united global effort to build a more sustainable and prosperous future for all mankind,” he told guests at the opening ceremony of the exhibition on Thursday evening. .

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, crown prince and de facto ruler of the UAE’s seat of power, Abu Dhabi, used his speech to emphasize “the ethics of this land” as a meeting point of cultures and tolerance.

Whether Iran or Israel, every nation is welcome at the Dubai Expo.

Human Rights Watch, however, says organizers promote an inaccurate image of the UAE as an “open and tolerant country” for public relations purposes. Instead, he said in a scathing report that “the abusive authorities forcibly ban all peaceful criticism and dissent” in the country, imprisoning activists and carrying out pervasive national surveillance programs.

“The United Arab Emirates has embarked on a decades-long effort to whitewash its reputation on the international stage,” the human rights group said.

The exhibition site will attempt to dazzle visitors with a central dome, marketed as the world’s largest 360-degree projection screen. Its construction required 8.5 miles (13.6 kilometers) of steel.

Certain universal exhibition structures remain emblematic markers of the human journey and of our industrial evolution. Nothing more than the Eiffel Tower, which was built in Paris, not only to be the tallest structure in the world at the time, but to serve as the entrance to the 1889 World’s Fair. always attracted by this wonder of wrought iron trellis whose image floods social networks today.

The Space Needle in Seattle, Washington, built for the 1962 World’s Fair, is another structure with continued prominence and appeal.

While most of the shows have been held in Europe and the United States, none have been held in the Middle East so far.

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