Cultural Connectivity, Cooperation and Innovation at the 2020 Dubai World Expo by Matthew Stinson (A'25)

by tuftsigl
Jan 20

The Dubai World expo was an event like no other: representatives and visitors from 192 countries, corporations and international organizations all gathered in a celebration of international connectivity and human progress. With global issues, like climate change and inequality, rising, this expo’s theme of sustainability was fitting. In a world of growing divineness and disconnect, the Expo offered a refreshing breath of fresh air, offering hope to my generation. I would like to now express my thanks for the Tufts Institute for Global leadership and Tufts Allies for providing me the opportunity to serve as a delegate to the Dubai World Expo and experience history in the making. Ultimately, my experience at the Expo provided me with three key insights: similarities despite cultural barriers, the role of international cooperation, and the importance of technological innovation.

Firstly, the Expo taught me the power of cross-cultural dialogue in generating understanding and pushing for global change. For instance, one day I decided to take a break from the hustle of visiting pavilions by playing pick-up basketball at the Expo sports pavilion. I met and had conversations with a myriad of people from countries ranging from Sudan to Serbia. Despite language and cultural barriers, we were all able to share laughs and ideals; ultimately, mutually marveling in the event which brought us together.

Furthermore, the expo revealed the role of international cooperation in making change possible and pushing towards an ideal future. Whilst visiting the Germany pavilion, I was able to read a infographic revealing the scale of global carbon emissions. The graphic revealed how the onus was on not a singular country, but all countries together, to take concrete action to address the climate crisis through dialogue on carbon neutral initiatives. Moreover, I was able to visit the Sustainability pavilion, where I experienced a grim stroll through an exhibit detailing the unsustainable nature of human consumption. I learned that things I take for granted, like my morning cup of coffee, has a significant impact of the Earth’s resources and our carbon footprint. Despite the alarming nature of the exhibit’s message, the experience offered micro-level steps for all of us to get involved by addressing our individual consumption and waste. Both exhibits highlight the power and contingency of human cooperation towards critical issues related to sustainability.

Finally, the Expo offered an exciting glimpse into the technology of the future and the role of these technological innovations in improving our lives. For example, at the China pavilion, I had the opportunity to see new transportation innovations, such as self-driving cars and bullet trains, in Chinese cities, creating sustainable and efficient infrastructure. Moreover, in the UAE pavilion, I was able to read and view new urban farming technologies which are being used to feed the countries’ rapidly growing population.

In conclusion, visiting the expo reveals the power of mutual understanding by which we can cooperate and innovate. Ultimately, creating the opportunity to confront challenges head on with the resolve and ability to communicate with one another. As I am returning to Tufts, I hope to seize this opportunity by reaching out to those in the Tufts community and across the world to do their part to understand and work with others.