They will be the face of Expo 2020 Dubai and will play an essential role in welcoming the visitors from all over the world to the universal exhibition which will start on October 1st, 2021 until March 31st, 2022. From university students to housewives and retirees, the 30,000 volunteers of Expo 2020 they represent over 135 nationalities and are between 18 and 79 years old.

 Volunteers at Expo 2020 Dubai are 45% from UAE's and 55% are expatriates, of which 54% are men and 46% are women. The percentage of volunteers under the age of 30 is 39% and that over 30 is 61%. Among the volunteers in the Media Services sector of Expo 2020, Dubai is Claudio Falcioni, a young nineteen-year-old Italian, who has been living in the United Arab Emirates for more than 8 years and a student of Economics and Computer Science at the New York University of Abu Dhabi

Claudio Falcioni - Expo 2020 Dubai volunteer

“As soon as my university shared this wonderful opportunity with the student body, I immediately decided to enroll. This country has hosted me and seen me grow for almost half of my life, and becoming a volunteer for the Expo seemed to be the perfect way to thank the Emirates and return back the favor. Furthermore, it is certainly an excellent professional experience and individual growth, an opportunity not only as a person but for the whole world. Expo is the first step towards a global restart in a pandemic era and momentum for a better future“.

He told the Journal of Italian Healthcare World Claudio Falcioni, one of the “team members” of Media Services, the largest team in the sector that is involved in assisting the media in their duties during their stay at Expo 2020 Dubai.

Claudio is the only Italian student of the prestigious University who has participated in the Volunteers Program.

The program

The Volunteers Program it was open to all citizens and residents aged 18 and over, regardless of nationality or educational level, but with two important characteristics: fluent knowledge of the English language and strong communication skills. Following an enormous response also thanks to the support of Etisalat, a leading company in the telecommunications sector in the United Arab Emirates and Official Premier Partner of Expo 2020 Volunteers, Expo 2020 Dubai has received more than 160,000 expressions of interest, surpassing the initial target of 100,000 applications. 

"After the first screening and selection of the candidates, we had telephone interviews followed by a second evaluation which led to the official acceptance - Claudio told - Subsequently we filled out the forms and communicated the preferences on the roles and dates of our shifts. Finally, we have been assigned the training course that certifies the preparation of the volunteer. After the completion of the course we collected the uniform and the pass ”.

The EXPO exhibition site map printed inside the volunteers' uniform.

Training in compliance with the anti covid rules

Expo 2020 volunteers have completed more than 40,000 hours of training to date in full compliance with anti-covid rules, demonstrating their preparation for the first world event in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia (MENASA) region. 

How was the training organized?

The training course was divided into three components: general online training via the dedicated "Expo Learn" app, briefing for each role held in presence at the Dubai Police Academy, and the Orientation Experience with specific training around the site of the 'Expo. The components in attendance were obviously conducted in compliance with the anti-covid measures imposed by the Dubai government.

Did they train you to welcome visitors with disabilities? 

Surely. We have been trained to welcome the “People of Determination” with the utmost respect and availability. We Expo volunteers follow “HERO”, or “Hospitable, Exceptional, Responsible, Optimistic” standards to become the heroes of all our guests. Of course, this also applies to visitors with disabilities.

For example, by welcoming them with a smile and talking directly to them instead of only to their companions, in this way we can make them feel accepted and avoid them feeling uncomfortable. We want them not only to enjoy the Expo but to be confident and proud of themselves.

Thousands of volunteers, including Claudio, also participated at the Orientation Experience Expo 2020 Dubai, at the Dubai Exhibition Center, one of 13 sessions designed to inform in compliance with the rigorous COVID-19 security measures.

“The Orientation Experience was a special event to officially welcome volunteers into the Expo family - Claudio said - The staff organized an informative welcome show to review together some of the training modules and a tour of our future work areas and detailed briefings on our roles.

Obviously, both staff and volunteers are vaccinated. During the event, some, such as those who managed the queues or who distributed the meals, also wore gloves ”.

Covid-19 Expo 2020 Dubai protocol for volunteers

According to the Expo 2020 protocol, compulsory vaccination of all staff including volunteers is envisaged.

What is the protocol for you volunteers?

At the start of the training, Expo required all volunteers to acquire a “green and vaccinated” status on the AlHosn government app. This consists of a full two-dose vaccination with one of the various vaccines made available from the UAE (Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Sputnik V, or the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine created in cooperation with the local government) along with a PCR test. This status remains valid for 30 days from the test and can be reactivated with another test. 

Covid-19 Expo 2020 Dubai protocol for visitors

The organizers recently announced the Covid-19 protocol for visitors with reinforced entry measures in order to guarantee the safe event in containing the risk of contagion from Covid-19.

What does the protocol provide?

The Expo, the government of Dubai, and the government of the Emirates have worked hard during this period to create and maintain a safe environment for all participants. This involves strict (but effective) rules such as social distancing and the obligation of a mask everywhere. For example, it was decided that entry to the event will only be possible with a vaccination test or PCR test within 72 hours of entry. The Expo also set up a "testing area" near the site in order to facilitate the life of visitors as much as possible and in a quick and safe way. Prevention measures remain in force such as the obligation to wear the mask outdoors and indoors, maintain the social distance of 2 meters, and the sanitation of the hands also thanks to the use of numerous sanitizing gel dispensers positioned in every corner of the site.

Do you also have to supervise compliance with the anti-covid rules?

We volunteers, a fundamental component of the Expo team, are also the first line in defense of these rules. In fact, we will be the ones to enforce most of the anti-covid measures during the event, both among the staff and among our guests. Our goal is to give our visitors a memorable experience, both in terms of hospitality and safety, and health.

What if someone doesn't respect them?

Volunteers are the emergency response in cases of covid risks among guests. We are instructed to maintain a hospitable and friendly attitude in line with “HERO” standards, but also to consider the health and safety of visitors.

Therefore, if we notice a gathering of people, or an unjustified host without a mask (who is eating, for example), or any potential covid risk, we will act accordingly by following an escalation protocol.

If the problem is not solved with simple requests, our supervisors will be informed and security will be contacted accordingly.

Expo 2020 Dubai's extensive training program has therefore provided volunteers with essential skills and knowledge for their roles with a particular focus on anti-Covid-19 rules. To praise the 30,000 volunteers at Expo 2020 Dubai who will contribute to the success of the largest event ever held in the Arab world was His Excellency the Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence of the United Arab Emirates and Commissioner General of Expo 2020 Dubai. 

“EXPO 2020 volunteers embody the values of the United Arab Emirates and are ready to welcome the world”.

Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan meet the volunteers of Expo 2020 Dubai

"The commitment of Expo 2020 volunteers - added His Excellency Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayanhas never failed, even in the face of the challenge of the Covid-19 pandemic. We are grateful for their passion and dedication. With their support, Expo 2020 stands ready to fulfill its mission of creating a better future for people and the planet in the UAE and around the world.". 

The support of the volunteers will help make the trip unique for the millions of visitors during the exhibition semester and for them, it will be an unforgettable experience. 

Claudio Falcioni is one of the many student-volunteers at Expo 2020 Dubai residing in the United Arab Emirates. The program was also open to non-residents and from other countries. From Italy 70 young volunteers arrived who will welcome visitors to the Italian Pavilion during Expo 2020 in Dubai, from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022.

They are students between 21 and 28 years of age, representing 52 universities, 16 regions, and 51 Italian provinces who participated in the selection process of Italy's Expo 2020 Volunteers Program of the General Commissioner of Italy for Expo 2020 in Dubai. , in collaboration with the CRUI Foundation.

Volunteers in addition to having the task of guiding visitors to the Italy Pavilion will present with dedicated videos visible on the website, on social networks, and on the Youtube channel the numerous initiatives that will be held in the Pavilion during the exhibition semester.

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