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General News, The Leader, Events - 26 September, 2019

Mohammed bin Rashid witnesses unveiling of Expo 2020 mascots

Inspired by UAE's deeply rooted history, the mascots embody nation’s true values
Characters will have important role in communicating the Expo 2020 story to children
Launch event introduces Expo’s mascots to the world with engaging short movie 
Expo 2020 Dubai’s mascots were today unveiled in the presence of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC). The event was attended by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council; His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Higher Committee, Expo 2020 Dubai; and Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director General of Expo 2020 Dubai.
Members of the Expo 2020 Dubai Higher Committee and hundreds of students from public and private schools also attended the event.
The mascots – Emirati siblings Rashid and Latifa, Salama the wise Ghaf tree, and robots Opti, Alif and Terra – were introduced at the event through an engaging short movie. During their adventures, Rashid and Latifa unlock Salama’s secrets, explore the world-changing inventions revealed at past World Expos and discover all about Expo 2020 and the amazing legacy it will leave behind. Salama the Ghaf tree represents the deep-rooted values upon which the UAE was built, such as stability, tolerance and resilience.
His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Higher Committee, Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “Many previous mega-events have successfully created mascots to strengthen emotional connections and bring the spirit of the event and host city to life.
“The Expo 2020 mascots have been thoughtfully created to reflect the tradition of storytelling that is core to the region, highlighting our belief that when we come together, we can achieve great things, and demonstrate how the past guides the present, which propels us to the future.
“These characters are a reflection of the knowledge of homegrown talent that is delivering an exceptional World Expo, and they speak a universal language of ambition and aspiration alike.”
Latifa is an inquisitive eight-year-old girl who dreams of becoming one of the world’s greatest inventors. The chatty youngster – who loves playing with her chemistry set and disassembling electronics – is keen to share her knowledge and find opportunities to learn something new.
Her brother, nine-year-old Rashid, cares deeply for the environment and enjoys poetry, drawing, riddles and family tales passed down the generations.
The two siblings draw inspiration from the wisdom of Salama, a desert-dwelling Ghaf tree who overlooks the Expo 2020 site and was preserved during construction. Hundreds of years old, the magical character is known for her captivating storytelling as well as her extensive knowledge of UAE history and culture.
Under Salama’s watchful eye, Latifa and Rashid go on an exciting journey guided by the robots Opti, Alif and Terra – who represent Expo 2020’s three subthemes of Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability, respectively.
The country’s ancestors have long found respite in the shade of the Ghaf tree. Salama epitomises this spirit of giving, which remains a cornerstone of Emirati culture today for the 200-plus nationalities that call the UAE home. Millions of visitors to Expo 2020 will experience the famous hospitality for which the nation is known, as they celebrate at the World’s Greatest Show.  
During his visit to DWTC for the launch of the mascots, HH Sheikh Mohammed also explored an interactive exhibit comprising four pods, highlighting Expo’s three subthemes and the UAE Pavilion that offered a glimpse into the exciting and educational experiences that await students at the World’s Greatest Show via the Expo School Programme.
A series of short films starring the mascots will be released in the coming 12 months, each focusing on an Expo subtheme.
As the first World Expo ever held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region, Expo 2020 Dubai is set to be a milestone moment for the UAE – welcoming 192 participating nations and millions of global visitors for a once-in-a-lifetime celebration under the theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’.
The unmissable celebration will feature at least 60 live performances per day, 200-plus dining outlets, daily parades, A-list musical acts, celebrity chefs, future-shaping tech and so much more from 20 October 2020 to 10 April 2021.

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