In all respects, Dubai’s Expo did much to creating the future all of us deserve
As Expo 2020 Dubai closed, it is undeniable that its impact will reach far beyond the UAE, and far outlast its six-month long run. As the first city in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region to host the Expo, the first to host all 190 countries around the world, and through its focus on the future, Expo 2020 Dubai achieved new milestones on the global stage.
By its very nature, a world Expo is a unifying event, showcasing the best each country has to offer. Expo 2020 epitomized this with its theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’. It builds on the belief that bringing the world together can catalyze the exchange of new perspectives and inspire action to deliver real-life solutions to real-world challenges.
At the start of the pandemic, the world came to a standstill, as people were restricted to the confines of their homes. Expo 2020 served as a catalyst for restarting international travel, enticing over 20 million people to venture outside their homes and countries to visit 192 nations in one place.
From robots greeting visitors to poems generated by A.I., technology and innovation was at the heart of Expo 2020. Futuristic technology provided a glimpse into a realm of possibilities where cutting-edge innovations to address global issues were showcased – from structures that generate their own electricity to drinking water produced from air to autonomous vehicles for space exploration.
As a company that is at the forefront of technology and innovation in critical industries, we recognize that driving the future requires investing in the next generation. This strong belief is why we hosted our ‘STEM for the Next 50’ Innovation Camp at Expo 2020 Dubai, where we introduced 200 female students to progressive future careers in STEM fields and encouraged knowledge sharing and mentorship. It will be young women and men like them who will take on today’s challenges to find solutions for the future.
Sustainability has also been a central theme at Expo 2020, which aimed to be the most sustainable World Expo ever by installing renewable energy systems to reducing water consumption by more than 50 per cent compared to 2019 levels. As governments and industries discuss the world’s energy transition, Expo 2020 provided a platform to take this global dialogue to the next level and showcase viable solutions.
Our ‘Spotlight Tomorrow’ forum, held in November 2021, brought together industry leaders from the healthcare, aviation, and energy sectors to explore ways of ensuring industries are more resilient and sustainable for a better tomorrow, emphasizing the need to reduce emissions and the role of technology in achieving this.
The impact of Expo 2020 will continue to ripple across the region and the wider world, with the cross-pollination of ideas being carried forward into real world action. Through its various initiatives, Expo 2020 encouraged meaningful dialogue between governments, industries, and key stakeholders to address the world’s most critical challenges and opportunities on themes ranging from tolerance and inclusivity, climate, and biodiversity to addressing urban and rural development challenges.
We at GE are privileged to be part of the conversation, and we are determined to take what we have learned to drive meaningful change.
The work has already begun. Our ‘Insights into Inclusion’ event at Expo invited numerous multinational companies to examine how corporations can drive inclusion and diversity for success. We shared our key learnings, which we hope will help inform and educate the wider business community.
Our insights show how companies with the greatest gender and ethnic diversity financially outperform those with less diversity by as much as 36 per cent, while a strong diversity and inclusion culture helps attract the best talent.
World Expos have typically showcased the next step in innovation. Expo 2020 Dubai has gone beyond this, leapfrogging current human thinking. It planted a seed in the minds of millions of people that disruptive, futuristic ideas that contribute to humanity are imminently achievable across the globe.
The writer is Senior Vice-President, GE President and CEO at GE International Markets.
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