Crowd-puller show: Expo 2020 Dubai attracts around 6.3 million visitors


Visitors at the Expo 2020 Dubai. Kamal Kassim, Gulf Today

Inayat-ur-Rahman, Business Editor

Expo 2020 Dubai visit numbers have rocketed with 6.3 million visits in the period up to Monday (Dec.13) steered by world-class music, gripping sporting events, vibrant National Days, family-friendly entertainment and sustained demand for the Expo 2020 Festive Pass.

Alicia Keys saw crowds flocking to Al Wasl Plaza on Dec.10, captivating the audience with a message of love, hope, innovation, and making realities out of dreams.

With her new double album, Keys, coinciding with her performance at Expo 2020, the 15-time Grammy-winning singer-songwriter chose the world’s biggest global platform as the location to unveil her highly-anticipated new release because: “It just felt so perfect to launch Keys in Dubai. Expo 2020 Dubai knows no borders; it is envisioning a future we all want to create.”

The New Yorker’s fans around the world were able to hear her new music by logging on to view the concert at, helping the platform’s total number of visits to hit 30 million mark, up five million in the past week alone.
Alicia-Keys Alicia Keys performs at Expo 2020 Dubai.

Meanwhile, Manchester City footballer Pablo Zabaleta paid a visit to Expo 2020 Dubai, sharing his interest in coaching and love for the Middle East; Indian singer Neha Kakkar regaled crowds at Jubilee Park on Sunday with a show that inspired people to live life to the fullest; the Expo World Choir, featuring singers and musicians from 142 nationalities hit all the right notes at Jubilee Stage; and popular Filipino artists Sponge Cola and Matthaios came together to tell their stories through music on Dec.8.

After nine games at this year’s FIDE World Championship, Magnus Carlsen secured the one point he needed to cross the seven-point threshold to win against challenger Ian ‘Nepo’ Nepomniachtchi at Dubai Exhibition Centre, Expo 2020 Dubai. Hot on his heels, Georgia’s grandmaster Nona Gaprindashvili, the inspiration behind the wildly popular Netflix series, The Queen’s Gambit, will partake in a panel discussion related to women’s empowerment challenges and achievements at the Dubai Exhibition Centre today (13 December), followed by a thrilling game between the grandmasters and Dubai Culture and Chess Club members at Al Wasl Plaza in a special choreographed show.
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Further upcoming attractions include ‘Brainiac Live,’ set to electrify Jubilee Park with a wild science show on 15 December – perfect for children and adults alike – while the Jubilee stage gets into full swing on 16 December with a diverse mix of exciting global musical talent; and Egyptian singer, rapper, actor, dancer and producer Mohammed Ramadan will perform a standalone concert on Jubilee Stage on 18 December.

An immersive day out for families, Expo has plenty on offer for younger visitors, with arts and crafts, light shows, performances and a complimentary winter camp – which includes sports activities, team games and challenges run by fully qualified sports coaches. The recent launch of a new family dining offer, gives one free kids’ meal with every adult meal at certain Expo eateries during the week.

With Expo’s new Festive Pass unlocking unlimited access to a wonderful winter for just Dhs95, on sale now until the end of December, visit numbers are expected to keep going up.

As the largest major global event to be held since the start of the pandemic, Expo 2020 Dubai continues to maintain robust COVID-19 measures, ensuring a safe and exceptional event for all attending.

With more than 90 per cent of the UAE population fully vaccinated, Expo 2020 Dubai has required mandatory vaccination of all Expo and International Participant staff, volunteers, contractors and service providers. Visitors ages 18 and above are required to present proof of any vaccination or a negative PCR test taken within the previous 72 hours. In addition, Expo 2020 maintains on site sanitisation stations and mandatory face-masks both indoor and outdoor.

SCFO launches innovative child rights-based approach to education at Expo 2020 Dubai

Meanwhile, the Sharjah Child Friendly Office (SCFO) showcased its bold vision for the future of education at RewirEd, a global education summit held at Expo 2020 Dubai on Monday, with the unveiling of a comprehensive set of standards that align with global best practices and are designed to transform schools and nurseries in the emirate into child-friendly centres of learning and growth.
Sharjah-Friendly Sharjah Child Friendly Office’s officials pose for the photograph during the ceremony.

Launching its newly developed standards in the presence of the global education community at the RewirEd summit, SCFO highlighted the Sharjah experience in driving innovation in education.

The standards were launched in the presence of  Dr Khawla Abdul Rahman Al Mulla, Secretary-General Supreme Council for Family Affairs (SCFA); Dr.Saeed Musabeh Alkaabi, Chairman, Sharjah Education Council; Dr Muhadditha Al Hashimi, Chairperson, Sharjah Private Education Authority (SPEA); ElTayeb Adam, Area Representative, UNICEF Gulf Area Office; and Dr Hessa Khalfan Al Ghazal, Executive Director, SCFO.

The newly launched standards offer a framework of action for schools and nurseries in Sharjah to move towards quality global practices by addressing all vital elements influencing the wellbeing and rights of children and aims to protect and develop the physical, intellectual and emotional capacities of all children.  The standards incorporate four major components: Child Rights Education, Child Participation, Child Protection, and Inclusion (integration of children with special needs).

Developed by SCFO, in collaboration with the Sharjah Private Education Authority (SPEA), the Sharjah Education Council (SEC), and the UNICEF Gulf Area Office, the new standards are based on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and also draws on UNICEF’s global experience. It embodies specially developed standards informed by federal and Sharjah-based legislation and policies such as the Wadeema Law; National Strategy for Motherhood and Childhood; Strategic Plan for the Rights of Children with Disabilities; Sharjah Occupational Safety and Health System; and Sharjah Framework for Early Childhood and Benchmarking with UNICEF’s Child Friendly Schools; amongst others.

The Sharjah Child Friendly Schools and Nurseries project was launched in 2019 and SCFO developed the child friendly standards in consultation with school principals, educational professionals, and  2000 children and youth, from across 114 schools and 15 nurseries. In addition, 2,500 teachers, educational experts, social workers and students have received training in the child rights education approach while 13 private schools and 13 public nurseries in Sharjah have successfully completed the requirements of the project’s pilot phase.

Dr Khawla Abdul Rahman Al Mulla, Secretary General of SCFO, said: “The standards are the outcome of constructive collaboration between several national and global entities, and will pave the way for the creation of a healthy educational environment across schools in the emirate. This is in line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, to make schools into open spaces for acquiring knowledge to ensure that upcoming generations are equipped to fulfill their country’s aspirations.”

Commenting on the launch of the new standards, Dr Hessa Khalfan Al Ghazal, Executive Director, SCFO, said: “To improve learning in the dramatically shifting global educational landscape greater attention must be given to individual needs, the quality of learning and the acquisition of differentiated skills for work and life, amongst others. One of the cornerstones of a child rights-based approach to education is placing children and their participation at the centre of all activities, allowing them the freedom to develop their capabilities, creativity and leadership skills.”

She added: “Our goal to promote children’s wellbeing through targeted strategies and initiatives stems from the vision and directives of His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, and his wife, Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Chairperson of SCFA. These standards are another achievement in the area as it will guide and assist Sharjah’s schools and nurseries to create rights-based, safe, healthy and protective environments that serve the best interests of the child and are conducive for quality learning.”

9 child-friendly standards for schools; 6 for nurseries

The child-friendly standards outlined for nurseries in Sharjah are the first to be developed globally and includes the provision of appropriate opportunities for play and rest for all children in a safe, protective, and healthy environment. Nurseries must also commit to promoting respecting, realising, supporting, and upholding children’s rights by nurturing an inclusive environment where staff are well-equipped to attend to individual needs of the child and act in the best interest of the child.

To promote and advance children’s rights in their standard of education as learners and key beneficiaries, SCFO has outlined 9 standards to support the rights of children in schools. These include fostering a safe, healthy and protective environment; providing spaces and opportunities for equal participation of children; enabling appropriate, fun and accessible play; and working as a cohesive unit to understand and support children holistically.

Commending SCFO for their commitment to child rights, ElTayeb Adam, Area Representative, UNICEF Gulf Area Office said: “The launch of the standards is timely, as schools reopen, and children are returning to schools physically. These standards will make a significant contribution to creating a learning environment which is child friendly, protective of children and provide stimulation for learning.”

He added: “Today, as the world is changing dramatically, children’s education must take into account their individual needs, the quality of learning, the acquisition of differentiated skills as well as the values of peace and tolerance, sustainability and care for the environment.”


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