The Foreign Service Journal, March 2022

18 MARCH 2022 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL After a one-year COVID delay, Expo 2020 Dubai opened its doors on Oct. 1, 2021, and the USA Pavilion unveiled its exhibit celebrating the American dream of freedom, oppor- tunity and innovation, titled “Life, Lib- erty, and the Pursuit of the Future.” Expo 2020 is the first world’s fair to take place in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia regions. With world-class architec- ture (including the world’s largest 360-degree projectable dome), dozens of performance venues, hundreds of food, beverage and retail options, and a pavilion for each of the 192 participating countries, the United Arab Emirates welcomed the world to experience the power of its theme: “Connecting Minds and Creating the Future.” A hallmark of the USA Pavilion is the flagship Youth Ambassador Program, a long-running and central element of U.S. participation in world’s fairs. Serving as the first point of contact for guests, the 75 young ambassadors at Expo 2020 represent 46 U.S. states and territo- ries (including D.C. and Puerto Rico) and 81 higher education institutions. The youth ambassadors are the faces of America and offer an authentic experience of U.S. diver- sity with their varied backgrounds, experiences and skill sets, includ- ing the ability to speak and sign 25 languages. It’s been both a formative and unique experience to engage with the visitors as a representative of the U.S. alongside my cohort of personable and accomplished youth ambassadors. Above all, I’ve learned the impor- tance of people-to-people connec- tions in public diplomacy—whether it’s communicating with a Slovenian guest through a translation app, trading pins with staff members from other country pavilions, explaining the lunar touchstone to a visitor’s Russian grandparents via FaceTime, sharing pizza with Egyptians while standing in line for a Nancy Ajram concert or contributing to a Kazakh teenager’s collection of signatures from every pavilion. That’s why I’ve grown to love what expos are all about: experiencing the world and its people all in one place, as preconceived notions of other nationalities, language barriers and politics go out the door. I hope that you will get a chance to visit Expo before it closes on March 31, 2022—either in person or in the virtual environment online. You can find that and more at www. —Caitlyn Phung, Expo 2020 Youth Ambassador Expo 2020 Dubai: AYouth Ambassador’s Perspective Librarian of Congress Dr. Carla Hayden and her colleagues visit the USA Pavilion on Nov. 9, 2021. From left to right: Dr. Muhannad Salhi, Ryan Ramsey, USA Pavilion Deputy Commissioner General Matthew Asada, Dr. Carla Hayden, Roswell Encina and Youth Ambas- sador Caitlyn Phung. Inset: The USA Pavilion. U.S.DEPARTMENTOFSTATE