As the plans for District 2020 come to life just a few weeks after the finale of Expo 2020 Dubai, Middlesex University Dubai is looking back on the success of the World’s Greatest Show and giving thanks for all the countless opportunities it offered the institution. Students and faculty recently came together to explore the event’s enduring legacy.
As a member of the Expo Universities Programme, Middlesex University Dubai was thrilled to be involved with the global event from start to finish. Along with the 92 Middlesex students who undertook life changing student internships at Expo 2020 Dubai, many members of the student body also visited to take part in various enlightening student activities across a number of pavilions.
The faculty were also heavily involved with the global gathering. For instance, by partnering with Dubai Cares, Middlesex University Dubai hosted a whole series of fascinating lectures about sustainable and inclusive education at the Dubai Cares Pavilion. Professor Evangelos Moustakas, Head of Postgraduate Dubai and the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University, was named as the Sustainability Pavilion Team Leader. In addition, Management Lecturer Rhoderick Romano appeared on a panel discussion about student entrepreneurship at the Polish Pavilion.
Meanwhile, the university’s students continuously impressed Expo 2020 Dubai organisers and visitors with their intelligence and hard-working attitude. Neha Bhatia was recognised as 'Hero of the Month' for her work at the Opportunity Pavilion in October 2021, while student and volunteer Rukaiya Topiwala was recognised as ‘Star Volunteer’ for her work with the Media Services department.
Displaying the multiple talents of the Middlesex student body, BA Graphic Design student Charlene De Guzman and her brother Laurence were given the honour of performing at Al Wasl Plaza, while many other students helped highlight issues surrounding climate change through the groundbreaking Light It Forward UAE activation, held in partnership with global sustainability initiative Liter of Light.
As the largest UK university in Dubai, the Middlesex team were honoured to attend the flag-raising ceremony on UK National Day, while Professor Nic Beech, Vice Chancellor of Middlesex University London was interviewed live on Abu Dhabi TV about the institution’s involvement at Expo 2020 Dubai during his inaugural visit to the UAE in March 2022. A delegation from across the University’s global campuses also took a tour of the UK Pavilion during the visit.
The above are just a handful of the many amazing experiences that Middlesex University Dubai gained at Expo 2020 Dubai and some examples of the ways the institution supported the fantastic event. Staff and students believe that the great legacy and positive energy of Expo 2020 Dubai will continue to be felt not only throughout Dubai, but also across the world for many years to come. Members of the university feel that Expo 2020 Dubai will lead to increased efforts towards tackling climate change and making the world a more sustainable place, boost the economy of the UAE and lead to greater connectivity across the globe.
Dr Alison Burrows, Campus Programme Coordinator in Education and Early Childhood Studies and Founder of the ‘Best Practices in Education’ programme, hosted in collaboration with Dubai Cares, said: “I am hopeful that the long-term impact of Expo will be the dissemination of actionable knowledge about sustainability and how our goals can be achieved. Indeed, the learning opportunities at Expo were numerous. First, students were able to learn about almost every country on the planet by visiting each country's pavilions. Secondly, Expo was full of free lectures, exhibits, and cultural events that spread knowledge about different ideas, rituals, and customs around the world. Finally, Expo was a very future-forward event where students could learn about what their future might look like and what skills and knowledge they need to acquire to be successful and contribute to the common good.”
Sadaf Khan, Expo Volunteer and Middlesex student in Information Technology, said: “As a volunteer for Expo 2020, I was assigned to the Tawassul team in Media Services. The Media Services department was in charge of providing world-class facilities and services to up to 20,000 media members who covered the event both on-site and remotely. Working with the Tawassul Team, meeting new people, visiting new pavilions, and seeing live performances were all highlights for me at Expo 2020. In terms of long-term impact, I think Expo 2020 Dubai will boost every sector, including education, healthcare, retail, entertainment, construction, real estate, and IT, among others.”
Raveena Nigam, BA International Tourism Management alumni and Expo Site Operations Host, said: “As a recent graduate from Middlesex University Dubai, I got the amazing opportunity to work at Expo 2020 Dubai as a Site Operations Host. What I enjoyed the most about the event was the busy and exciting atmosphere. The anticipation before the concerts began and the excitement during the shows was infectious. The group hugs, cheers and chats we shared after the end of each successful show were incredible. Spending seven months at Expo made me realise that nothing lasts forever, but the event will always be in my heart and so will my colleagues who became like family to me. Going forward, I think District 2020 will create more job and investment opportunities for people in Dubai and boost tourism. Expo 2020 has really helped Dubai become a sustainable city.”
Dr. Fehmida Hussain, Head of Computer Engineering and Informatics, said: “Field trips are an integral part of our students’ learning, helping them to apply their theoretical knowledge in real-life and outside the classroom. The trips that the Department of Computer Engineering and Informatics organised to Expo 2020 Dubai, held in partnership with our Careers and Employability Services team, allowed students to engage with the industry and become immersed in all the inspirational technological innovations that were on display. We tailored the trips to match the topics we’re teaching on different modules, such as innovation and technology management, Industry 4.0, and emerging technologies. Even the students taking classes online who were unable to visit Expo 2020 were tasked with writing an essay about the event and researching the most innovative pavilions. Student feedback from the visit was all very positive, and they thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience.”
Chinnu George, Lecturer, Computer Engineering and Informatics, added: “The field trips provided the students with the chance to explore their horizons and discover what drives human progress. They were able to connect with people from across the world, understand different cultures, and exchange knowledge and ideas.”
For more information about Middlesex University Dubai’s involvement at Expo 2020 Dubai or to learn about the University’s September 2022 intake, please visit: www.mdx.ac.ae.