Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba, the Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the United States, is thrilled with the recent news that Dubai has been chosen to host the World Expo 2020. This selection marks a significant victory for the UAE, which will now be the first country in the Middle East, Africa, or Southeast Asia to host the event.
First launched in London in 1851 as a showcase of culture and technology, a World Expo today is a key forum for events, exhibitions, and debates on international issues ranging from sustainable development to the global economy. Hundreds of nations, businesses, and international organizations participate in World Expos, which are held every five years and allow millions of international visitors to explore and discover new cultures and ideas.
The theme for Dubai’s World Expo 2020 is “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future,” with a particular focus on three subthemes that constitute key drivers of global development: sustainability, or renewable sources of energy and water; mobility, or smart logistical and transportation systems; and opportunity, or alternative paths to economic development. World Expo 2020 organizers estimate that 25 million people will visit Dubai during the six months of Expo, from October of 2020 to April of 2021.
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker recently spoke at a luncheon co-hosted by three organizations that facilitate business relationships between the United States and the Gulf Region, including the U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council. Trade between the United States and the U.A.E. is an important cornerstone of the relationship between the two countries: in 2012, the United States exported $22 billion in goods to the U.A.E.
Secretary Pritzker’s remarks, delivered near the end of February 2014, focused on the commercial and security relationships built between the United States and states in the Gulf Region over decades, as well as the opportunities available for U.S. businesses in the Gulf. To illustrate her points, Secretary Pritzker sprinkled her speech with concrete examples, making mention of the 35,000 U.S. military service members in the Gulf Region and referencing recent arms deals when discussing security.
The secretary also told the story of Jamba Juice, which obtained the assistance of the Commerce Department as it sought to expand in the Middle East. Working with a program the Commerce Department calls Gold Key, Jamba Juice set up its entry into the region and announced a deal in early 2014 that will bring 80 Jamba Juice stores to six countries in the Gulf.