The highly anticipated Expo 2020 Dubai will finally open its doors this weekend to present an unprecedented cultural programme that will highlight international and local design, craftsmanship and innovation from 1 October, 2021 until 31 March 2022.

Set to gather the world’s 192 countries under one global platform, Expo 2020 Dubai is staged under the theme of “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future”, delving into ideas of mobility, opportunity and sustainability. It will also be host to one of the world’s most sustainable sites, with 50% of Expo 2020 Dubai's energy to come from renewable sources.

A main highlight of the global event’s extensive line-up, however, includes its Design and Crafts Programme, which will feature more than 40 local and international designers and artisans who will honour the UAE’s budding artisanal culture, inviting creative partners from around the world to explore the Emirate’s rich history of craft.

Taking its name from MENASA, meaning platform in Arabic, the MENASA – Emirati Design Platform will present a range of inspiring design collaborations and activations that highlight the scale of the UAE’s contemporary design scene for a global audience.

The programme will include Craft Stories, a series of exclusive collections that will be celebrated through innovative new works and documentary films shot on location around the UAE and exhibited alongside design collections.

Craft Stories will also offer Expo visitors an opportunity to discover Emirati crafting traditions, including safeefa (palm frond weaving), talli (embroidery), sadu (bedouin weaving), gargour making (wire-crafted fish traps) and coffee making.

Through Designer of the Week, another initiative of the programme, 24 designers and organisations from across the UAE will offer a showcase of the UAE’s creative talent, spotlighting individuals and organisations that support the local crafts and design community.

The Expo 2020 Dubai opening ceremony will be live-streamed to more than 430 locations across the UAE, with screens being set up across airports, hotels, malls, and other famous landmarks on 30 September, 2021.