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Dubai Abulhoul: Why Dubai will win the 2020 Expo bid
July 02, 2013
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Exclusive to The Gulf Today

For as long as one can remember, the world has been trying to teach its people the importance of colouring inside the lines. In the past few years though, Dubai tried to teach its people the importance of colouring outside the lines, and that has made all the difference. 

In a very short period of time, Dubai has risen from the very grains of the desert, gracefully turning into the pearl of the Gulf. A modern city, with skyscrapers competing to reach the highest cloud, that’s Dubai.

Dubai, given the current consequences of the Arab World, is almost a miracle.  With 2.106 million people living in Dubai, and over 180 nationalities, Dubai is the definition of bridging the gap between countries of different backgrounds. It’s a place where people from all the corners of the Earth come together to exchange not only ideas, but also cultures.

With it being home to the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, one would be called a liar to say that this ever growing city was once a barren desert.  Dubai is the kind of place that offers its people the opportunity to ski in an indoor ski resort to avoid the scorching heat of August’s summer sun. If there’s anything this city has taught its people, under the guidance of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, it’s to think, and most importantly, do big.

Recently, Dubai has placed a bid to host the 2020 World Expo. World Expos have been serving as a meeting point for innovative thinkers around the world to come as one and discuss issues concerning the global community.

Issues addressed revolved around global economy, innovation, and sustainable development.  In 1851, The Great Exhibition in London launched World Expos to strengthen the connection between the individuals and the nations of the world. Diversity was celebrated, non-conformity was praised, and thus human creative ability flourished. The World Expo is hosted in a different city every five years, with the next one happening in Milan in 2015.

World Expos nourished the most creative minds of this planet, and were home to some of human history’s most important inventions. In 1893 The Ferris Wheel was invented, in 1901 the X-Ray Machine, in 1904 electricity, in 1939 the television set, and in 1970 the mobile phone. The real question is, in 2020, will Dubai witness the creation of the world’s first flying car? Or the much anticipated personal jetpacks? Or even a teleport system? 

Before answering these questions with harsh sarcasm, I want you to look at some facts.  Dubai is home to 400 skyscrapers, with Burj Khalifa, the tallest man-made building in the world, at 2,717 feet. With every level that was constructed during the process of building of the Burj I felt, as an Emirati, the need for my ambitions to grow along with it. A part of Burj Khalifa, the Dubai Mall is the biggest shopping mall in the world. Within the world’s largest shopping mall is also the world’s largest indoor water aquarium.

The Rose Tower, located in Jumeirah, is the tallest hotel in the world, standing at 1,092 feet, alongside the tallest residential building in the world, the 23 Marina. Ski Dubai, an indoor ski resort in Mall of the Emirates, includes the world’s largest indoor snow park.

The Burj Al Arab, the world’s fourth tallest hotel, is located on a man-made island and has a lobby that is taller than the Statue of Liberty. If breaking records on land wasn’t enough, Dubai’s Palm Islands, artificial man-made islands in Dubai, are going to be the biggest archipelago ever made. Oh, and there’s no tax in this city. Utopia? No, it’s simply Dubai.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, once said, “Most people talk, we do things. They plan, we achieve. They hesitate, we move ahead. We are living proof that when human beings have the courage and commitment to transform a dream into reality, there is nothing that can stop them. Dubai is a living example of that.”

The winner of the Expo 2020 bid will be announced in November, and even though we’ll be sitting on the edge of our seats till then, there’s one thing for sure, Dubai will always be the definition of thinking big. Here’s to 2020 and all of the years that’ll come after that. After all, this is only just the beginning.

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The author is an Emirati novelist-writer

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