Expo 2020 Dubai ends today: We will never be the same again, say pavilion staff

Employees at world fair share their feelings as the world fair comes to a close


Sherouk Zakaria

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Published: Thu 31 Mar 2022, 7:10 PM

Lasting for only six months, Expo 2020 has given country pavilion employees friendships and skills that will last a lifetime.

In jolly spirits and excitement, staff members welcomed thousands of visitors eager to get one last glimpse of over 190 pavilions on the world's fair final day, as they pave their way into an unknown - yet optimistic - future.

With the majority of pavilions closing down with 'The World's Greatest Show', employees based in the UAE are optimistic about the opportunities that the job market holds next, while those flying back home have gained substantial expertise to share with their communities.

Laura Ciciulla, Switzerland pavilion staff member, said Expo 2020 sets “the beginning of a new journey.”

Although the end of Expo 2020 is a sad reality, Ciciulla said she leaves the event with ever-lasting friendships.

“The team has become my family. Next time I pay a visit to my homeland, Switzerland, I have friends to visit in different cities.”

The Dubai resident of seven years added, “Expo 2020 provided us with a unique platform to meet delegations and ambassadors and introduce people from all over the world to the features of Switzerland.”

Ciciulla, a freelancer, noted that the world’s fair has expanded her career prospects and refined her character to take up different projects in the market. “With the vital experience I have gained over the past six months and the reputation of Expo, I’m sure many doors will open for me professionally.”

She added, “We are sad it is over, but the impact of our exchange with people lasts within us forever.”

At the Egyptian Pavilion, Hanna Masoud, 26, is carrying the baby of one of her colleagues.

In denial, she said she cannot believe the final day of Expo 2020 has approached.

“We spent time at Expo 2020 more than the time we have spent at home! I am upset time has gone by so fast,” said Masoud, who has been residing in the UAE for five years.

The memories and friendships are elements she will cherish about the six-month fair. Although some of the team members will be returning to Egypt, Masoud said they will never lose connection.

Her next step would be to find a job in her field – urban planning. “I chose to join Expo 2020 because it’s a way to serve my country, while gaining a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

With experience in customer service, Guljakhon Jurakulova said Expo 2020 enabled her to fulfil her passion in providing the best experience to visitors at the Belarus Pavilion.

Jurakulova is gearing up for Expo 2025 in Osaka, Japan. “I developed skills that I would have never otherwise had if it was not for Expo 2020.”

After welcoming an average of 10,000 visitors daily, Jurakulova said a vacation has been long awaited, during the holy month of Ramadan, before looking for another job opportunity. She will get back in the field of customer service as “a brand-new person with immense skills.”

She noted that the pavilion hosted approximately one million visitors in the span of six months since the fair’s opening in October. “Where else would you meet this number of people in only six months?”

Coming from Rwanda to serve at Expo 2020, the 27-year-old Isaac Ngabonziza said the experience he gained in Dubai will help him grow his business back home.

“Beautiful things come to an end,” said Ngabonziza, a first-time visitor to Dubai.

“Visiting new places and meeting people from different parts of the world deepened my belief that everything is possible,” added Ngabonziza who drew similarities between the success story of Dubai and his homeland Rwanda that rose from a genocide to being one of the most advanced nations in Africa.

“This unity and positive exchange of expertise opened our minds to a better future.”



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