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Expo 2020 Dubai offers young people a starring role through YouthConnect 2016

18th October 2016

A line up of inspiring speakers will lead over 1,000 young people to explore Expo 2020 Dubai, shape the plans for delivering the region’s first global mega event, and give them insights and ideas to excite youth as they prepare for their futures. Registration is now open for young people from all over the GCC to take part in YouthConnect 2016, Expo 2020’s flagship youth engagement event which is taking place on 19 November. Expo 2020 Dubai organizers are asking young people from across the GCC to work with them as they prepare to host the region’s first global mega event. Registration opened today the second edition of YouthConnect, which will take place on the 19th November 2016, at Meydan, Dubai. Expo plans to welcome more than 1,000 youth to the event.

Inspiring youth, and inspiring Expo 2020

At the heart of the event will be the Expo 2020 ‘Think Tank’. Questions that the Expo Think Tank sessions will explore include:

  • Can you design the ultimate celebration? – looking at plans for the celebration of UAE National Day at the Expo in 2020
  • We want the site to be your space. What would you like to see? – exploring the urban design of the Expo site from the perspective of youth
  • Could you be one of 30,000 volunteers welcoming the world in 2020? – hearing from volunteers at past mega events on how the experience has inspired them

Talking about the Expo 2020’s Think Tank sessions at YouthConnect, Manal AlBayat, Expo 2020’s VP of Engagement, said “This is an invaluable chance for youth to make their mark on this mega event. We want young people to play an active part in Expo 2020. It’s not just about being visitors. It’s about being volunteers, welcoming the world. It’s about helping us to design a mascot. It’s about the events we put on to entertain 25 million visitors. We want young people to be a part of it, and because of that, we want to listen to them, engage with them, learn from them and involve them right the way through to 2020.”

YouthConnect will bring together inspirational speakers, including Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State and Director General Bureau Expo 2020 Dubai, Dr Aisha bin Bishr, Director General Smart Dubai Office, Dr Joe Paradiso, Director, Responsive Environments Group at the MIT Media Lab in the USA, Jihad Kawas, 19 year old Founder and CEO of Saily Inc. and Abdulaziz Al Loughani, Co-founder of Talabat and Vice Chairman of the Kuwait National Fund for SME Development and others to be announced in due course, with young people from across the region. Through a series of inspiring conversations, interactive workshops and hands-on experiences, young people will explore subjects connected with Expo 2020 Dubai’s theme, Connecting Minds, Creating the Future, and the areas of Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability.

Ms AlBayat explained the vital role that young people play in Expo 2020 Dubai’s thinking. “Youth are the future of the region and of a fast-changing world. They are creative, talented and ambitious, and we are here to help them unleash their potential, develop new skills, create opportunities and build lasting relationships that can support and guide them on their journey to success.”

Opening up to new opportunities

YouthConnect will also provide a range of opportunities for young people to explore different career paths. These include YouthConnect TV (YCTV) – a hands-on masterclass with Ali Jaber and MBC mentors, looking at the filming, interviewing, presenting and editing of TV programmes. Registration to be part of YCTV is open from today and closes on 3 November 2016. The YCTV Team will capture YouthConnect live, and produce high quality content that will broadcast on site throughout the day. Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed on the 6-10 November. The final team will be announced before YouthConnect, with briefings and rehearsals on 18 November, the day before YouthConnect.

NYU Abu Dhabi will also be returning to YouthConnect as a contributor, with a hands-on workshop that will allow young people to build simple electronic devices using recycled components from old and broken equipment.

YouthConnect attendees will be able to take advantage of a free shuttle bus to the Meydan venue, leaving from a central location in Dubai. For more information, and to register, youth should visit

Expo 2020 will be announcing further speakers and workshop session over the coming weeks.

Empowering youth

In addition to YouthConnect, Expo 2020 Dubai runs a number of programmes and initiatives that aim to inspire young people and encourage them to explore the opportunities available to them. Expo 2020 Dubai’s youth engagement efforts aim to provide the young generation in the region with tangible skills that will enable them to take a leading role in the journey to 2020 and beyond.

Expo’s Apprenticeship Programme aims to enhance youth career development in the UAE and support the UAE Government’s Youth Empowerment Strategy by providing work placement opportunities across Expo 2020.

Expo 2020 Dubai has also joined with the Hamdan Bin Rashid al Maktoum International Photography Award (HIPA) to launch an exciting photography competition for young people across the GCC, aged 16-25. The winners will be announced at YouthConnect this year.

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