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Expo 2020 Dubai's mascots ready to save the world

expo 2020, global mascot, planet, unveiling
Photo by Juidin Bernarrd

There will also be four movies in the run upto Expo 2020.


Nilanjana Gupta

Published: Fri 27 Sep 2019, 4:15 PM

With just over a year before Expo 2020 opens its doors to millions of visitors, the largest event to be ever staged in the Arab world officially unveiled its mascots to 'save the planet Earth'.
To the delight of a hundred children who thronged the front rows, not one but a team of six mascots were announced at an event at Dubai's World Trade Centre in the presence of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
Nine-year-old Rashid and eight-year-old Latifa under the watchful eye of Salama, the wise and powerful Ghaf tree, will work to unlock the ancient secrets needed to secure a brighter future. They will be supported by super robots Opti, Alif and Terra as they chart their journey through time and space at Expo 2020 Dubai. Each of the robots serve as guardians of the three Expo 2020 sub-themes: Sustainability, Opportunity and Mobility. While Terra stands for sustainability or our relationship with nature, Alif signifies mobility or our relationship with technology and Opti stands for human relationship with each other.
Rashid and his younger sister Latifa are also supported with 'special gear' corresponding to the three Expo sub-themes. The goggles of 'sustainability' have the power to reveal all aspects of an environment, from animal and insects to water and wind. If a plant is sick, these goggles can tell. The watch of 'opportunity' will allow Rashid and Latifa to travel to any place and time so that they may explore the stories of history and future. Finally, the wings of 'mobility' are attached to a powered jet-backpack that give Rashid and Latifa the power to fly high.

Speaking on the sidelines of the event, Amna Abulhoul, Creative Director, Ceremonies at Expo 2020, said, "We started by thinking how we could create content that's more relevant to children and that can represent the values of Expo 2020 in a more fun and engaging way. We realised the ghaf tree has remained steadfast in the country for hundreds of years and it uniquely represents our values and customs. We named it 'Salama' which means peace in Arabic. She represents the 'grandmother' or the pillar of the 'family house' that is Expo 2020. Then we thought of adding kids, Latifa and Rashid, who represent us and who listen to their grandmother's, or ghaf tree's, teachings that instill the values of the country. In addition, considering the expo represents the world in 4km, we wanted to create global characters, and since children enjoy games and storytelling, we introduced three robots who represent expo's three petals - sustainability, mobility and opportunity."
She added that the purpose of creating five characters instead of two was because they wanted to highlight the significance of family life in the Emirati culture.
She said, ?Latifa is a smart and pragmatic girl who is passionate about science and mathematics. She loves inventions and she can't wait for the expo to start so she can show off her solar panel. On that contrary, Rashid is more in harmony with nature. We purposely made the characters who complement and complete each other."
There will also be four movies in the run upto Expo 2020. A movie based on "Connecting the minds" released today and three other movies each based on sustainability, mobility and opportunity will be released before Expo 2020 officially begins, Abulhoul said. "We are releasing the movies to let children live the expo even before it starts. That way when they come to Expo 2020, they will feel they have entered a park that they have seen earlier."
The first World Expo to be held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region, Expo 2020 Dubai will welcome 192 countries and host the world for 173 days, each one brimming with new experiences. It is expected to attract 25 million visitors between October 20, 2020, and April 10, 2021.

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