Dubai launches Expo 2020 with star-studded opening ceremony after year of delay

After a year of delay due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Dubai kicked off its $ 7 billion Expo 2020 on Thursday at a desert site, which a news article described as equivalent to the size of 600 football fields.

According to the Khaleej Times, the Expo opening ceremony was broadcast live to more than 430 venues in the United Arab Emirates. The ceremony was attended by the powerful Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and many other dignitaries.

The event will run until March 2022 and is expected to see participants from over 190 countries. The city has set a goal of 25 million visits – both virtually and in person.

According to the Associated Press, the Expo is one of the first global events in the pandemic world, after the Olympics this summer in Japan which took place without spectators.

However, unlike Tokyo, the UAE has one of the highest per capita vaccination rates in the world and has seen its daily case count drop to its lowest level in over a year.

Performers carry national flags during the opening ceremony of the Dubai Expo 2020, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Thursday, September 30, 2021. (AP)

The event was also marred by political controversy after the European Parliament urged nations this month not to participate in the Expo, citing human rights violations, the imprisonment of activists and the use of spyware by the autocratic government to target critics.

However, the EU’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, admitted in a statement on Thursday that the bloc would participate in the Expo.

“In times of great challenges, our societies must come together, not only to overcome them, but also to become stronger and better to cooperate,” Borrell said as quoted by AP. “Expo 2020 Dubai is a very visible opportunity to highlight the EU’s commitment to international cooperation and multilateralism,” he added.

A reporter watches a performance from the Israeli pavilion during a media tour at the Dubai Expo in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Monday, September 27, 2021. Delayed for one year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Expo Dubai 2020 opens this Friday. He will put this city-state all in on its billion-dollar bet that global exposure will boost its economy. (AP Photo / Kamran Jebreili)

The Expo Indian Pavilion is represented by Vedanta Resources, which has partnered with the Indian government to showcase the country’s growth potential while celebrating the 75th anniversary of India’s independence.

“Over the next 25 years, India will be the growth engine of the world economy, as China has been in previous decades. Not only is India a large market, but it also has a huge capital of human resources. The Dubai Expo is a technological marvel that will capture vibrant Indian culture and its past, in addition to the capabilities and opportunities it presents as a global economic hub for domestic and foreign investors, Vedanta said in a statement. communicated.

A large number of prominent ministers, officials and celebrities are expected to visit the India pavilion during the six-month exhibition, which will also host a number of cultural events.

The event was previously scheduled to take place from October 20, 2020 to April 10, 2021.