DUBAI, 5th December 2021 (WAM) - Expo 2020 Dubai celebrated its 30,000-strong volunteer workforce on Sunday as part of International Volunteer Day, applauding their dedication and commitment to the World Expo, alongside their wider contributions to society.
A series of events and panel discussions, held in partnership with the Ministry of Community Development and the United Nations Volunteers Programme, brought together representatives of Expo and local volunteering services to highlight the vital role that volunteers play at Expo 2020 Dubai - and also the successes of the mega-event's volunteer programme, the experience it offers participants, and the diversity of both the nationalities involved and the roles available.
Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence, and Commissioner General of Expo 2020 Dubai, said: "Expo 2020 Dubai volunteers are the embodiment of the UAE's diverse and cooperation-loving community. We are proud that the volunteers - Emiratis and expatriates - demonstrate the best of our nation, and share with us the journey of 'Connecting Minds, Creating the Future' through their dedication and commitment, providing visitors with the highest-quality service. Expo 2020 Dubai volunteers have put themselves in the service of the nation and humanity.
"The volunteering experience enhances an individual's skills, and allows them to give back to society and contribute to building a meaningful legacy for the UAE and the world at large. And Expo 2020 is a remarkable, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, with valuable learning and networking opportunities."
Ahmad Julfar, Director General of the Dubai Community Development Authority (CDA), said: "Volunteering is a noble human value that enhances social cohesion. Our participation in this event highlights the importance of consolidating joint efforts, honouring volunteers, and improving the services provided to volunteers, enhancing the position of the UAE as an influential charitable and humanitarian country."
Expo 2020's volunteer programme features 30,000 volunteers, occupying different roles, serving visitors and participants, with allocations based on skills and interests. In Sunday's flagship event, a group of 50 volunteers representing their peers were honoured on the Jubilee Stage in a moment of recognition and universal celebration. High levels attendees at the open afternoon event, which adopted a 'party' atmosphere, included Sheikh Nahyan; Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashemy, Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director General, Expo 2020 Dubai; and Hessa bint Essa Buhumaid, Minister of Community Development.
The event began with the announcement of three global 'Volunteer Heroes', selected by the Ministry of Community Development, Emirates Foundation and the International Association for Volunteer Effort (IAVE). They were Jonas Abujate, Provincial Youth Council of Cabo-Delgado; Kar Yeung Lam, Agency for Volunteer Service, Hong Kong; and Maja Sruk, Volunteers' Centre in Zagreb, the latter accepting the award herself on stage.
Earlier on Sunday, experts also discussed how volunteers play an invaluable role in working to improve the lives of those around them, and looked ahead to the release of the UN's State of the World's Volunteerism Report (SWVR), which shows how volunteerism can play a central role in strengthening people-state relationships, promote better governance and help build more equal and inclusive societies.
The UAE itself has several institutions dedicated to volunteerism that organise volunteer work and community-service activities throughout the country, helping young people develop skills and acquire experience. These bodies also support the principle of specialised volunteering - enhancing the attributes of volunteers according to their academic and practical specialisations, provided by the National Volunteering Platform, which allocates volunteers as a result of their interests and experiences.
International Volunteer Day on 5 December was designated by the United Nations as an international observance day to celebrate the power and potential of volunteerism in various fields, and raise awareness about the important contribution of volunteers to society.