With less than two weeks until Expo 2020 Dubai closes its doors, the UK Pavilion has announced that it has had more than 1 million visits. ‘Love’ has been revealed as the top word donated every month to the AI-generated poetic Collective Message, which shines out from the building’s façade.
The UK Pavilion, designed by Es Devlin OBE, has been one of the must-see attractions at Expo 2020 Dubai. Visitors have come from far and wide to enjoy the highlights, from the crowdsourced Soundscape to fish and chips at the 1851 restaurant. Over the past five-and-a-half months, they have been joined by a stellar list of sports personalities, cultural icons and visiting dignitaries with HRH Prince William in attendance to celebrate UK National Day on 10th February.
A highlight of the visitor experience is the Collective Message, an AI-powered poetry installation inspired by the work of the late Professor Stephen Hawking. In the last five months it has seen more than 325,000 word donations from global visitors to Expo, resulting in 650,000 lines of poetry projected on the pavilion’s façade. The top 10 contributed words, in order, are: ‘Love’, ‘Peace’, ‘Hope’, ‘Family’, ‘Happiness’, ‘Happy’, ‘Freedom’, ‘Life’, ‘Kindness’ and ‘Beautiful’.
The UK Pavilion has received more than 400 VIP visits in total. The UK’s programme at Expo has featured British cultural icons including Welsh fashion designer Julien MacDonald OBE, computer scientist Dame Wendy Hall, musicians John Newman and Tom Seals, artist Nicola Anthony, and Caroline Rush, CEO of British Fashion Council. Big names from the world of football to have visited include Manchester City’s manager Pep Guardiola, England international Jack Grealish, Welsh and Liverpool football legend Ian Rush and ex-Argentine defender Pablo Zabaleta. The wider world of sport has been represented too, from British Olympians Tessa Sanderson CBE and Ed Clancy, who took part in the historical Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay, and a mixed Team GB rugby team to world boxing champions Anthony Joshua, Tyson Fury and Amir Khan.
UAE official visits have included His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai, Her Excellency Reem Ebrahim Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Co-operation and the managing director for Expo 2020, and Dr Sultan Al Jaber, UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology.
The UK’s presence at Expo 2020 Dubai is set to drive long-term economic and social benefits, through many trade partnerships. These included a $200m deal between Solar Water and the Gideon Group for sustainable water projects in the UAE, the 7th Joint Economic Committee between the UK and the UAE, a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the UK and UAE on cultural co-operation and another between Dubai-based eMarketplace Tradeling and the UK’s Department for International Trade to increase UK e-commerce selling to the Middle East. In January, Transport secretary Grant Shapps set out a commitment to British investment and trade, creating new jobs through a focus on hydrogen-powered transport to decarbonise aviation.
With £188m of export wins having been gained by UK companies associated with Expo 2020 Dubai to date, with many more to follow from the last six months of strategic activity.
Laura Faulkner OBE, UK Commissioner for Expo 2020 Dubai, says: “It seems like only yesterday we were standing amazed at the Expo 2020 Dubai opening ceremony, yet now there’s just two weeks left to come and enjoy our visitor experience at the UK Pavilion.
“It’s been an honour to share our vision for a better future with so many visitors from all four corners of the globe, as well as welcome such a diverse selection of British and international celebrities, business leaders and senior officials during the event. We have showcased the UK’s great minds and extraordinary talent and we have encouraged the world to see the UK differently. We look forward to welcoming even more visitors before the event finishes on 31st March. For those who want to continue to explore the UK, we encourage everyone to travel to the UK in 2022 for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations, Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and the nationwide Unboxed creativity festival all taking place later this year.”