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    UAE schools propels future generations to carry Expo 2020 Dubai’s legacy forward

    The Expo School Programme saw over one million students from across the UAE visit the site for a one-in-a-lifetime educational experience
    3 min read
    School choirs
    Young people made an extraordinary contribution to the success of the first World Expo in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region through the Expo School Programme, which, alongside the educational community’s outstanding commitment to maintain standards despite the challenges of the pandemic, has empowered the youth of today to become the leaders of tomorrow, taking the legacy of Expo 2020 Dubai forward.

    The impact of youth – and their future leadership roles – received full recognition as students from across the UAE’s seven emirates took their place as guests of honour at Expo 2020 Dubai’s Closing Ceremony on 31 March.

    Under the Expo School Programme, 1,003,747 students from around the country experienced the school trip of a lifetime and were immersed in unique learning and cultural experiences that placed them at the heart of the largest global gathering to take place since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Students from the ages of two to 21 years were encouraged to become active participants, innovators, performers and speakers at Expo 2020 Dubai. The range of exciting initiatives offered by the Expo School Programme included immersive journeys across the site’s Thematic Districts, as well as special programmes such as Expo 2020 Young Stars, which enabled students to showcase their talents at Al Wasl Plaza; Expo Young Innovators, which inspired the younger generations to be agents of change; and Next Gen World Majlis, part of the World Majlis, where students shared their perspective of the Programme for People and Planet’s Theme Weeks.

    These unique, meaningful learning opportunities nurtured students to shape a better future – making huge strides in the fields of science, technology, entrepreneurship and creativity – and encouraged participation in global conversations on subjects that matter to everyone.

    Alya Al Ali, Vice President of the Expo School Programme, Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “Visiting the Expo 2020 Dubai site has encouraged students to think about their future careers, to think differently about what tomorrow could look like, to think less traditionally about the roles they can play and to understand that individual actions, no matter how small, play a role in shaping a positive future for all.

    “We have spent the last eight years creating content and curating educational journeys to engage and inspire students from private and public schools all over the UAE and we are hugely thankful to the school community and educational authorities for their unwavering support throughout the many challenges that we faced together, such as COVID-19, the consequential lockdowns and necessary remote learning. We hope that, in many years from now, students who visited Expo 2020 Dubai will realise it has marked their lives or sparked an idea they’re proud of – that will be our legacy.”

    The Expo School Programme shared some of the comments it had received from students and teachers about their experiences:

    ‘One of the most eye-opening trips. I saw the world from a different perspective.’

    ‘Expo instils a sense of unity to see how all countries come together and work on a cause.’

    ‘The journey made me realise the power of individual action. The message is positive enough that it can influence collective action, even if it’s something as small as not using a plastic straw.’

    ‘An amazing journey, I was proud about going to Expo and seeing what it will be like in the future. I’m already looking forward to the future.’

    The Expo School Programme worked closely with educational authorities across the UAE to enable all students to visit Expo 2020 Dubai before its doors closed on 31 March. This included opening up trips on Sundays to give every school in the UAE the opportunity to visit after bookings were temporarily suspended in January.

    Al Ali said: “When we had to postpone school trips due to the Omicron variant, many people and stakeholders felt that the site wasn’t the same without the schoolkids – they were the soul of the site, a physical manifestation of why we hosted Expo 2020 Dubai.”

    Expo 2020 Dubai’s virtual Expo Adventures recorded 8.611 million visits from 71 countries, which offered children up to the age of nine interactive experiences filled with incredible facts, animated stories and exciting games; Expo Young Stars programme saw 65 schools and 3,757 students showcase their talents to the world on the spectacular Al Wasl Plaza; Young Innovators Programme received 6,200 submissions and exhibited 298 projects in Terra – The Sustainability Pavilion for the entire six months of Expo 2020 Dubai; Nasheed Al Wasl saw 14 schools and 580 students perform operatic pieces at the Jubilee Stage; and Next Gen World Majlis invited 128 students from 69 schools to take part in enriching conversations about the world of tomorrow.