German pavilion focuses on everyday moments

04 April 2022
In conversation with Dietmar Schmitz, commissioner-general of the German pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai

This article is a part of a series of roundup features from Expo 2020. Explore MEED's coverage of the expo here.

1. Has Expo 2020 lived up to your expectations?

Expo 2020 Dubai is not only the first expo to be held in the Arab region, but also the first expo during a global pandemic. The expo organisers have done a great job and made this World Expo a very special experience through their good organisation; they not only fulfilled expectations but exceeded them. This also applies to the German pavilion, which was very popular. We keep getting incredibly positive feedback from our visitors and have received a lot of attention from international media.

2. Significant business partnerships and/or trade deals signed as a result of the event?

Some national pavilions had special areas for business meetings or conferences, but the German pavilion was designed primarily with those visitors in mind who simply come to enjoy an engrossing day of expo experiences.

November 2021: Cultural performers during the Germany National Day at Expo 2020 Dubai

The German pavilion was therefore not a business-oriented pavilion but rather focused on providing visitors with the best possible experience. That means that Campus Germany was meant for everyone – families with children, young couples, schoolchildren, students and senior citizens.

Nevertheless, the German pavilion was the venue for the signing of two memorandums of understanding (MoU) and several award ceremonies:

  • An MoU signed between the UAE Ministry of Health & Prevention (Mohap), Merck Serono Middle East and Manzil Healthcare for the 'RAWAN' Initiative
  • An MoU signed by Bayer Middle East for the STEPS initiative together with Mohap
  • The UN Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and the BMW Group awarded the 'Intercultural Innovation Award (IIA)' on the Culture Stage; and German firm Henkel presented the 'Henkel Forscherwelt Award' to three young scientists.
3. Impactful moment during these six months?

There were so many great moments at Campus Germany during the duration of the expo that it is hard to do justice to them all here.

Besides great moments such as the visits of [Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Dubai Ruler] Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum and [his son, Dubai Crown Prince] Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed al-Maktoum, it is of course the small everyday moments that remain in our memories: the great interest of our visitors in German innovations on the topic of sustainability, the powerful exchange of ideas and opinions, the emotional faces in the main show at the end of the pavilion tour – all these are impressive moments of the past six months.

November 2021: Dubai's Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed al-Maktoum is given a tour of the German pavilion by deputy commissioner-general Sebastian Rosito

However, there is one thing I will never forget: The visitor who approached me at the end of his visit and said: “I didn’t expect this from Germany.” That’s exactly what we were aiming at, and it has been great to see this impact of our pavilion.

4. What’s next for you after Expo 2020?

Expo 2020 Dubai is my last expo in a professional context, as I am retiring afterwards. As commissioner-general, over the decades, I have been able to work on so many great expo projects in so many different countries and cities: from Saragossa in 2008, Shanghai in 2010, Yeosu in 2012, Milan in 2015, Astana (today: Nur Sultan) in 2017 to Dubai in 2021. Therefore, I am sure that the Expo spirit will not leave me even in retirement; you will find me as a visitor at the coming expos.

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