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What is Expo 2020?

World Expos are one of the oldest and largest international events in the world, taking place every five years and, in recent decades, typically lasting six months or so.

The events are held in different host countries to showcase innovations in culture, technology, healthcare and learning, sharing them on a global stage. The first World Expo was the iconic Great Exhibition of 1853, held in the Crystal Palace in London. The last, held in Milan in 2015, was the largest tourist attraction in the world that year.

Expo 2020, being held in Dubai, will be the first World Expo ever hosted in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region. It is expected to attract 25 million visits, with 70 per cent of visitors projected to come from outside the UAE – the largest proportion of international visitors in the 168-year history of World Expos.

Why is Expo 2020 not happening until 2021?

The COVID-19 pandemic which has prompted the implementation of worldwide lockdowns and the suspension of almost all public events led to the organisation behind Expo 2020 voting to postpone the event for a year, choosing to retain the original name.

Who is involved?

Expo 2020 will host representatives from 192 nations, including the UK, to promote sustainability, mobility and opportunities, particularly for young people, under the theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’. Nations from every continent are constructing their own pavilions on a vast site covering 4.3sq km to run their own themed exhibitions and events.

Why is DMU involved?

The British Government is involving higher education for the first time in the UK Pavilion and DMU has been named as an official founding partner. This means DMU will have a highly visible presence in the pavilion for the duration of the six-month expo.

Participation represents an unmatched opportunity for the university to stand on a global platform, connect its most creative research and ideas with global industry, share and explore sustainable innovations, offer students unparalleled experiences and help learn from and shape future global developments.

The event will also attract global media coverage, giving DMU and its work a huge international audience, which will strengthen its profile worldwide.

Will other universities be involved?

There are around 40 UK universities due to be present during Expo 2020. Many of them will be present during the education-themed weeks and events.

However, none will have the prominence and permanence within the UK pavilion that DMU will have as a founding partner. There will also be other opportunities available to DMU, such as working to enhance the hospitality offering in the pavilion and use of other events spaces around the Expo site.

What will DMU be doing at Expo 2020?

Because DMU is an official founding partner the university will:

  • stage events within the UK Pavilion to showcase our research and innovation, involving both students and staff
  • create research and commercial opportunities with not only large global brands in the UK, but also other participating organisations from the 192 nations represented at Expo 2020
  • organise academic and employability-focused trips for DMU students to experience Expo 2020 and learn about some of the greatest industrial and scientific innovations in the world
  • recruit new students and staff from around the globe to further develop learning and research opportunities for all at DMU
  • involve alumni who have graduated from DMU and gone on to make a mark on the global stage as well as create new alumni networks
  • develop international links and partnerships to benefit students for years to come

What exactly is DMU going to be showing during the event?

Since becoming a founding partner, DMU has been working closely with the UK’s Department for International Trade (DIT), which is leading the UK’s participation in Expo 2020, with support from the GREAT Britain Campaign and six other co-funding government departments. This has allowed DMU to understand the DITs overarching requirements for Expo regarding the UK’s presence and, with faculties, to build a programme of research and innovation to exhibit during the Expo that reflects the range and quality of DMU research and teaching. The full programme of events and exhibitions is being finalised with DIT and will be revealed in due course, but it will be a mix of presentations, exhibitions, debates and networking opportunities.