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UK announces participation in EXPO 2020 Dubai
(7 December 2016)


British Prime Minister, Theresa May has confirmed that the UK will participate in Dubai’s Expo 2020. The Prime Minister informed His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, during a meeting in the margins of the annual meeting of leaders from the GCC currently being held in the Bahraini capital, Manama. The UK becomes the seventh country to announce its participation in association with Expo 2020 Dubai. 

Speaking today, the British Prime Minister said, "I can confirm that the UK will take part in Dubai’s "Expo 2020" continuing the tradition started in Britain with The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations in Hyde Park in 1851. 

"Dubai 2020 will offer an enormous commercial opportunity. There will be over 180 nations taking part with more than 25 million visitors expected – from the world’s top business leaders to its biggest investors. It is an opportunity which I am determined we should seize together." 

British Ambassador to the UAE, Philip Parham said, "We are very excited at the prospect of UK participation in EXPO 2020. The UK conceived and convened the first of all World Expos, the Great Exhibition of 1851. We have participated in many Expos since. At the last Expo, in Milan, our national pavilion won 22 international awards, including - like our national pavilion in Shanghai in 2010 - the Gold Award for Architecture and Landscape. I am confident that the Expo in Dubai - which will be the first in this region - will leave an enduring legacy; and that the UK's participation will be an important part of that. The UK was an early supporter of Dubai's bid to host the Expo. British designers are already playing key roles in it. British innovation, flair and skill will help drive EXPO 2020's ambition to connect minds and create the future." 

Opening on 20 October 2020, Expo aims to bring together 25 million visitors and 200 countries, companies and NGOs to celebrate human ingenuity. It will be one of the largest global events in the history of the MEASA region. The event theme is ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’, with subthemes of ‘Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability’. It is forecast to contribute EUR 17.7 billion in gross value added to the UAE economy over the period of development and operations, and to sustain up to 277,000 jobs. 

The concept of a World Expo started in the UK with The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations in 1851. It was an event that started a legacy in the UK that continues to this day. Imperial College London, Natural History Museum, Royal Albert Hall, Royal College of Art and other world renowned educational and cultural institutions can trace their origins to this first World Expo. 

Dubai has a vision to create its own enduring legacy from Expo 2020. The UK will play a role in assisting the UAE to realise this. British architects have designed two of the three themed pavilions, and British firms are involved in the building of key projects. Construction began on the site, which is located within the Dubai South district adjacent to Al Maktoum International Airport, in September 2016. 

UK pavilions at recent World Expos have demonstrated the best of British creativity and flair. The award winning "Hive" pavilion in Milan was the UK’s top paid for attraction in 2015 with 3.3 million visitors. It has now been re-erected in Kew Gardens, linked to hives at Kew and using the same technology (accelerometers) as in Milan, measuring the vibration and communication patterns of bees, which the public is able to listen to live. This is the first time a UK pavilion at a world Expo has been rebuilt in the UK enabling millions more visitors to experience it.

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