Virus Outbreak Mideast

In this October 2019 file photo, technicians walk at the site of the expo in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

El Pasoans now have a little more time to prepare applications for a chance to travel to and participate in the Dubai 2020 expo.

The world expo, hosted by Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, was originally slated to be held this month but faced a one-year postponement because of the coronavirus pandemic. The event will now be held from Oct. 1, 2021, to March 31, 2022.

There are groups in El Paso that have received grant funding to help recruit cultural performers and youth ambassadors from El Paso.

The El Paso Council for International Visitors, which works with the U.S. Department of State to plan travel itineraries for professionals visiting El Paso, has opened applications for the expo positions. It is looking for El Pasoans who are 18 to 29 for youth ambassadors, preferably bilingual.

Louie Salazar, board chair of EPCIV, said the United States has not had a pavilion presence at a world expo in at least 20 years, and the upcoming opportunity is a chance to highlight the borderland on a global stage.

“It’s such a phenomenal opportunity,” Salazar said. “While it’s disappointing that it had to be postponed due to COVID, we’re looking at it as an opportunity to give both cultural performers and potential youth ambassadors the opportunity to create strong proposals for themselves, and to plan their lives and budding careers around being able to exploit this opportunity.”

EPCIV is working with U.S. Global Ties, another group that works with the State Department to build diplomatic ties across the country in 100 communities, including El Paso.

Cultural performers for the expo can include artists in mediums like dance, music, theater, food and sports.

According to its website, Global Ties will select about 390 cultural performers nationwide to participate in the world expo.

Anna Aleman, a board member of U.S. Global Ties, said the group received a grant that will help fund travel and stipends for participants from El Paso. Aleman is also programs and major gifts director at the UMC Foundation and El Paso Children’s Foundation.

Participants will have roles like welcoming people to the expo and showing them around the United States Pavilion, Aleman said. She added that U.S. Global Ties would pay a per diem of up to $300 for participants.

“I think this is a wonderful opportunity,” Aleman said. “If we could mobilize youth, they can take three or six months off, and can go do this and see the world.”

The U.S. Pavilion is a $220 million facility in Dubai that’s part of the expo. Construction kicked off in March, according to the expo website.

EPCIV, a nonprofit founded in 1961, is one of a number of councils around the country that receive foreign dignitaries invited by the State Department to tour the U.S., Salazar said.

“These individuals are leading professionals, government officials from countries all over the world that come to the U.S., for professional exchange and to learn about how the U.S., government agencies and academic institutions approach different topics and different issues that are present all over the world,” he said.

Interested applicants can apply for the Dubai 2020 Expo at epciv.org.


Email El Paso Inc. reporter Sara Sanchez at sesanchez@elpasoinc.com or call (915) 534-4422.

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