From nominating San Diegans to represent the U.S. at Expo Dubai, to hosting an event in Balboa Park’s International Village, San Diego Diplomacy Council has thoroughly enjoyed celebrating all things Worlds Fair this year. SDDC Program Intern, Lojeen Ragab, was lucky enough to visit Expo Dubai. Read on to hear her thoughts!
As an international business student at San Diego State University, words like “Global”, “Worldwide”, “Overseas” spark a desire within me to broaden my international awareness and seek change throughout the world. This past semester, Spring 2022, I had the privileged opportunity to study abroad at the American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. With my international business emphasis being in the Middle East and North Africa, studying in the United Arab Emirates was a dream come true. I was so lucky to be studying there during a time when the UAE was the host nation for EXPO. Originally, the UAE was supposed to host EXPO in 2020. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, EXPO 2020 was postponed and occurred during October 2021 through March 2022.
For context, Expos, also known as World’s Fair and World Expos, provide a unique space for global discussion and cooperation. They aim to be efficient instruments of progress in all areas linked to innovation and human development such as the environment, energy, health, science, and the arts. World Expos have provided a platform to showcase the greatest innovations that have shaped the world we live in today. For more than 170 years, Expos have helped humanity make sense of change and navigate through difficult times by promoting education, innovation, and cooperation. Expo 2020 was able to continue that tradition by using the latest technology and bringing people together from around the globe.
One of my favorite Pavilion’s was the Russian Pavilion. The Russian pavilion was defined by
the following motto: “creative mind: driving the future”. The Russian Pavilion appalled the Human Brain and Its proficiency. Inside the pavilion there was a large replica of the human brain with its spine standing in the center of the room. I was able to learn about how the mind works, and was able to enjoy the LED floor that mimics neurons in different colors. As mentioned in the live exhibit , “There are different aspects of our cognitive brain, different minds,” says an explanatory screen on the walls of the round room. “Without them, humanity could not have achieved all the beautiful things that it has. We can rightfully consider them as the gifts of our brains.” This live exhibit was truly eye opening. It rejuvenated me and made me realize that we all may come from different places and races, however, we are all at the end a part of one race, which is the human race. At the end of the live exhibit, the narrator said something that really stuck to me till this day, which was “The brain develops by changing its inner connections. The more connections between people the richer the column field ideas. The cultural mind also teaches us that even staying true to our individual traditions, human cultures can reach mutual understanding. Humanity can be summed up by just one word “cooperation”. This really emphasizes the idea of how important it is to broaden one’s perspective and connect with people from different backgrounds. This is because, when one is trying to find solutions or a direction to take, it is crucial to have multiple perspectives as different cultures have different value systems. Therefore, if one were to meld together they can find a different way of looking at a situation. Growth only occurs when one steps out of their comfort zones.
Whether it was attending concerts from artists from around the world, visiting pavilions that were represented by over 192 nations, EXPO was everything I ever dreamt of and more. I left EXPO feeling rejuvenated and so proud to be a human living on this Earth. I was also so excited to see how each nation was going to take part in making the planet a better place to live whether that is from an environmental standpoint or a diplomatic standpoint. Truly an unforgettable experience that will continue to spark the light within me for years to come!