General Commissioner’s Office of Section

for the Italian participation in Expo 2020 in Dubai

About us

The theme of the EXPO 2020 Dubai (20 October 2020 – 10 April 2021) is Connecting Minds, Creating the Future. The Expo will be showcasing excellence in the sectors of tangible and intangible infrastructure on an international platform, establishing a connection and facilitating communication between continents, Countries, cities, cultures, religions and communities. Dialogue, engagement and cooperation will be the values expressed by the event, tapping into the meaning of the word Dubai (Al Wasl in Arabic) which signifies “connection or link”.
As far as tangible infrastructure is concerned, the EXPO 2020 Dubai will be focusing on mobility (innovative logistical, transport and communication systems) and the accessibility, resilience and sustainability of resources (environment, energy and water).
As far as intangible infrastructure is concerned, the spotlight will be shone on latest-generation innovations relating to smart sharing of contents and creative experiences, honing skills and disseminating cultural and scientific projects.
The Exhibition will coincide with the 50th anniversary of the foundation of the United Arab Emirates and is expected to have 25 million visitors, mainly coming from the huge Menasa area (Middle East-North Africa-South Asia). Italy was the first G7 country to formalise its participation in the event on 19 January 2018.
Held in an area of increasing political and economic interest for Italy, this event will be a symbolic passing of the baton from the Milan 2015 EXPO and promises to be a golden opportunity to consolidate the fruits of the Italian exhibition, launching a new image of Italy, not only abroad but also for the benefit of our own people.
This is because the EXPO 2020 Dubai revolves around a theme that latches perfectly onto the topic of sustainable development dealt with at the Milan Expo 5 years ago. However, this time round, the theme proposed by Dubai, together with the event setting and the expected visitors, will require a quite different and innovative approach to the exhibition itself and the communication aspects surrounding it. The project we are working on involves “showcasing” the excellence of Italy, but not just as an expression of what Italy does best. As a matter of a fact, quite the opposite, because this needs to be an active contribution to “thinking the future” which everyone – Italian and non – can and should feel involved in and exponents must take part on an equal footing.
In this spirit, what we envision is that Italy’s participation in the Dubai EXPO starts taking form already over the next few months and that the whole country embarks on a three-year journey which embraces small and large territorial bodies, private and public enterprise of all sizes, national institutions and local communities as well as students, managers and professionals, each one bringing their own contributions and making their own suggestions so that together we can share ideas and proposals and prepare projects and products to take to Dubai.


To this end and in order to comply with the international obligations envisaged under the 1928 Convention as well as to manage all those Italian entities and individuals wishing to take part in the project, Paolo Glisenti was appointed via the DPCM (Decree of the President of the Council of Ministers) of 30 November 2017 as Italy’s Commissioner General of Section for Expo 2020 Dubai.
The first thing the Commissioner General did on January 19th was to sign Italy’s participation contract with EXPO 2020 Dubai. One particularly important factor covered under the contract was the design and subsequent construction of the Italian pavilion on a plot of 3,500 square metres situated near the pavilions of the United Arab Emirates, India, the United States and Saudi Arabia.
With DPCM (Decree of the President of the Council of Ministers) of 29 March 2018 the General Commissioner’s Office of Section for Italy’s participation in Expo 2020 Dubai was set up. In addition to the Commissioner General himself, the Office will also include the Minister Plenipotentiary Stefano Ravagnan, to serve as Adjunct Commissioner General of Section and assist the Commissioner proper in the pursuit of his duties, and Mr Andrea Marin, Representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, to act as administrative director.

As laid down in law n. 314 of 3 June 1978 (amending Royal Decree n. 24 of 13 January 1931 which ratified the 1928 Paris Convention) and due to the fact that General Commissioners of Section are entrusted with the task of representing their governments for the purposes of the exhibition before the host Government (and therefore, they are regarded as government commissioners), the Commissioner is vested with financial, organisational, accounting and management autonomy and is also entitled to avail himself of the services of the State Legal-Advisory Service who are obliged to provide their assistance.