• It is two short years from this month that the much-anticipated Dubai Expo 2020 kicks off. And with so much at stake here is an in-depth guide to the state of play

    It’s October, which means the clock now officially begins the countdown for the much-hyped Dubai Expo 2020.

    Exactly two years from this month the emirate will bring together 180 countries to celebrate human ingenuity under the slogan: ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future.’

    Lasting six months and running from 20 October 2020 to 10 April 2021, the Dubai government is gearing up for millions of people to visit the global showcase, with about 70 per cent of them anticipated to come from outside the UAE – the largest proportion of international visitors in Expo history.

    The Expo site itself covers a total of 4.38 sq km, including a 2 sq km gated area, and is located adjacent to Al Maktoum International Airport in Dubai South. Right now, the area is a hive of activity as construction workers, architects and project managers strive feverishly to get the space ready in time for the masses.

    Expo 2020 Dubai is the first World Expo to take place in the MEASA (Middle East, Africa and South Asia) region, meaning it’s a big deal, and could have a huge economic and social impact on the whole country.

    So, what is the latest news on this global showcase and what should you look out for? Here is Oasis Living’s guide to all things Expo.

    Te Interactive Opportunity pavilion

    The innovative Interactive Opportunity pavilion will form a key part of the immersive visitor experience. It has been designed to bring together people of all ages and backgrounds to celebrate global progress towards achieving the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

    Visitors will be taken on interactive journeys that will feature decision making and gaming components. They will be encouraged to explore how individual choices and actions can make a positive, collective contribution to global causes.

    At 4,500 sq m, the pavilion will be built from natural and organic materials such as timber, rope and about 2,500 tonnes of stone. All the materials are recyclable, and no concrete will be used in its construction. The pavilion’s distinct, spiral shaped canopy will be made from around 111 kilometres of woven rope and aims to draw visitors into an interior space that will emphasise the importance of people connecting to achieve common goals. Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy, UAE.

    Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director General, Dubai Expo 2020 Bureau, said: “In line with Expo 2020 Dubai’s theme of ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future,’ global development goals call for collective action to enable greater opportunities for human progress, beginning with access to basic amenities that provide an enabled environment in which we can all thrive.

    “Expo 2020 Dubai will bring the world together, encouraging people to share and explore ideas that will contribute to further human development.

    The Opportunity Pavilion is the ideal platform to enable every participant, partner and visitor to learn how they can make positive changes.”

    University students being empowered by Expo 2020

    University students in the UAE are being given an opportunity to help shape the future through an Expo 2020 Dubai programme that entrusts youth to develop creative solutions to global challenges that affect the region.

    The second cycle of the University Innovation Programme (UIP), a key pillar of Expo 2020’s innovation and partnership programme Expo Live, was recently launched. It calls on student teams to produce original ideas or prototypes that could benefit communities by positively impacting society, preserving the environment, or both.

    Successful teams will each receive a grant worth between Dh25,000 and Dh50,000 to help take their idea to the next level. Students will also receive guidance from their universities and Expo Live to advance research and development, create a business model, grow their team and potentially partner with other entities.

    Grantees may even have the chance to showcase their projects to millions of people at Expo 2020 Dubai.

    The first cycle of the University Innovation Programme, which launched in September 2017, received more than 280 applications from student teams across the UAE. Nineteen teams were awarded grants to help bring their solutions to life, with support from their universities, the Expo Live team and Expo 2020 Dubai and its partners.

    Smart Submarine Group, from United Arab Emirates University, designed a submarine (pictured) that collects data on marine ecosystems, such as pH levels, salinity and turbidity.

    The customisable unmanned vessel could help public and private organisations to better monitor coral reefs, inspect undersea oil pipelines and select sustainable locations for new ports.

    Spokesperson Sara Alameri from Smart Submarine Group said: “The marine life along the UAE’s coast has been undergoing intensive change for the past few decades. Seaborne oil transport, trade and coastal urban development have had a major impact on its ecological health.

    The grant, combined with support from our university and Expo Live, has enabled us to improve the submarine so we can gain even more information about the health of marine life.”

    Teams in the second cycle have until 15 October 2018 to submit applications. Proposed projects should be in keeping with Expo 2020 Dubai’s subthemes of Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability.

    Shortlisted candidates will be invited to a design-thinking workshop, where they will pitch their projects to a panel of judges and receive feedback to help them prepare for the final at the end of November.

    To apply, visit: www.expo2020dubai.com/expo-live/University#how-toapply

    Te Germans are getting ready!

    University students in the UAE are being given an opportunity to help shape the future through an Expo 2020 Dubai programme that entrusts youth to develop creative solutions to global challenges that affect the region.

    The second cycle of the University Innovation Programme (UIP), a key pillar of Expo 2020’s innovation and partnership programme Expo Live, was recently launched. It calls on student teams to produce original ideas or prototypes that could benefit communities by positively impacting society, preserving the environment, or both.

    Successful teams will each receive a grant worth between Dh25,000 and Dh50,000 to help take their idea to the next level. Students will also receive guidance from their universities and Expo Live to advance research and development, create a business model, grow their team and potentially partner with other entities.

    Grantees may even have the chance to showcase their projects to millions of people at Expo 2020 Dubai. The first cycle of the University Innovation Programme, which launched in September 2017, received more than 280 applications from student teams across the UAE. Nineteen teams were awarded grants to help bring their solutions to life,with support from their universities, the Expo Live team and Expo 2020 Dubai and its partners.

    Smart Submarine Group, from United Arab Emirates University, designed a submarine (pictured) that collects data on marine ecosystems, such as pH levels, salinity and turbidity.

    The customisable unmanned vessel could help public and private organisations to better monitor coral reefs, inspect undersea oil pipelines and select sustainable locations for new ports. Spokesperson Sara Alameri from Smart Submarine Group said: “The marine life along the UAE’s coast has been undergoing intensive change for the past few decades. Seaborne oil transport, trade and coastal urban development have had a major impact on its ecological health.

    The grant, combined with support from our university and Expo Live, has enabled us to improve the submarine so we can gain even more information about the health of marine life.”

    Teams in the second cycle have until 15 October 2018 to submit applications. Proposed projects should be in keeping with Expo 2020 Dubai’s subthemes of Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability.

    Shortlisted candidates will be invited to a design-thinking workshop, where they will pitch their projects to a panel of judges and receive feedback to help them prepare for the final at the end of November.

    To apply, visit: www.expo2020dubai.com/expo-live/University#how-toapply

    Help wanted, apply within

    As many as 7,000 volunteers have already been registered to be a part of the Expo 2020 experience in Dubai. But with more than 23,000 additional spots still available, the newly-opened House of Volunteers is now welcoming hopeful applicants to take part in a short interview to become part of the team.

    Inaugurated by Reem Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director-General of Dubai Expo 2020 Bureau, on Monday, the House of Volunteers (located on the Dubai Expo 2020 site), will now act as the dedicated hub for recruiting volunteers.

    If you want to become part of the Expo 2020 team, all you have to do is register an application at volunteers. ae. If successful, you will then be called forward for a "casual and friendly" 20-minute interview.

    The criteria is simple too; you just have to be 18 or over. No skills or qualifications needed, and the hours are flexible.

    With an aim to recruit 30,000 volunteers before and during the Expo 2020, that means about 23,000 additional spots are still up for grabs.

    Speaking to Khaleej Times recently, Abeer Al Hosani, head of volunteers, Expo 2020, said the interview process to become a volunteer will be quick and easy.

    "We will have 15 dedicated interview hubs within the House of Volunteers and hopeful participants will go through just one interview before being selected to become a volunteer." To meet the 30,000 target, she said "up to 260 new recruits can be interviewed in any one day".

    "Interviews will last just 15 minutes and will be very casual and friendly, more of a 'get to know you' discussion than an interview."

    In terms of hours required by a volunteer in the run up to and during the Expo, Al Hosani told Khaleej Times there is a "maximum and minimum" number in place.

    "Because we are targeting everyone – homemakers, students – we need flexibility. We need to make sure different shift options are in place. Right now, the minimum is four hours per day, the average is eight hours, and the maximum is 12 hours per shift. Volunteers will dedicate themselves to an average of 14 shifts per month and over the full six-month duration they will work a maximum of two months."

    She added that the team is currently in talks with human resource departments and government departments to ensure time off is given to successful applicants, so that everyone gets the opportunity to be part of the once in a lifetime experience.

    Calling volunteers a fundamental part of the Expo, Al Hosani said what they are looking for in participants is personal skills.

    "We want them to inculcate five values: Be respectful; committed; knowledgeable; energetic and just be yourself."

    After inaugurating the centre on Monday, Al Hashimy said the House of Volunteers is a space that aims to aspire to encourage the initiative at the individual and community level.

    "By providing leadership and formal training, our programme will identify and develop capacities of the volunteers, contributing their time and knowledge to visitors of the Expo 2020.