By Lamán Carranza Ramírez and the Parsifal Islands
After more than 180 days of activities, on March 31, the so-called world’s largest exhibition Expo 2020 in Dubai came to an end; perhaps the largest Universal Exhibition in history, since that of Paris in 1900.
It was an opportunity to have a contemporary reflection on our country, from these same eastern lands which saw the birth of algebra, the first theory of biological evolution and the first university in history, and which are today Today, once again, fertile ground for the development of human civilization.
Mexican identity is a mirror buried in the sands of the Middle East, according to the metaphor of the great Carlos Fuentes. Along with Hispanic, Indigenous and African, Arab heritage is a fundamental root of what is Mexican; of our culture, and even of our science.
For more than a hundred years, Mexico has participated in universal exhibitions. In 1900, the unstable image of our country in the world changed radically after more than a century of revolutions. It was under the leadership of Don Justo Sierra that the country gained prestige with a positivist narrative in which great artists and scientists such as Jesús Contreras and José María Velasco participated.
Expo 2020 Dubai hosted over 30,000 events and attracted over 25 million visitors from around the world. The exhibition allowed each country to connect people and, more importantly, to move ideas and exchange the most precious currency in the world today, knowledge. Thus, the best of each country; the most innovative proposals were exposed to define the course of the planet in the years to come.
The simple fact of being there made us wonder and discover the true potential of Mexico. From Hidalgo, a State that we had the honor to represent, we reaffirm that science, technology and innovation are the best tools to navigate the current course of the world and overcome the challenges of posterity.
Besides the economic spill, there are some very powerful thoughts and messages about the future of the region. For example, the United Arab Emirates demonstrated that its new source of wealth is shifting from oil to innovation with the announcement of the world’s largest talent attraction district.
On the other hand, Qatar will host the most popular sports festival in the world, the 2022 FIFA World Cup, and as if that were not enough, Saudi Arabia has announced the construction of NEOM, the city of the future with a $500 billion investment. ; the region is reborn to these past glories.
The objective of the exhibition for the old and new powers was to project their ability to remain in a global knowledge society, but also to cooperate so that humanity survives climate change, epidemics and pandemics that result from it. .
At this point, Hidalgo decided to experiment and contribute to a message of science diplomacy, with the support of the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs, of the Mexican Pavilion, which, by the way, recorded more than 360,000 visits during the 6 months that the exhibition lasted. .
Thus, the great Mexican cultural proposal, which finally earned it a gold medal for thematic design, was complemented by scientific and technological projects that take place in Hidalgo.
Our goal was to reflect and express a new form of Mexicanness transformed by advances in science and technology, something that is already a global brand and is known as “Mexican ingenuity”.
Speaking in scientific language transcends and enhances the tourist and cultural impression; it was thus possible to look at the same horizon as nations that shared their scientific achievements equally.
Through El Espiritu de Hidalgo, a state vision that engages in projects such as the Hidalgo-UNAM biotechnology business accelerator, the UNESCO Comarca Minera Geopark, the launch of the first 100% Mexican nanosatellite in low orbit of the Earth and the next National Laboratory for Access to Space (LANAE); as well as the tireless search for the first synchrotron for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.
A lesson learned is that closing out is not an option in an increasingly interdependent world.
Science diplomacy works and is necessary. Following Hidalgo’s participation in Expo 2020 Dubai, joint scholarship and research programs are about to start with the United Arab Emirates and other countries, which will provide the opportunity to fully develop the talent of many young Mexicans and residents of Hidalgo.
Without a doubt, the collaboration of Hidalgo, the universities and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs enabled us to unearth a mirror, in this case in obsidian from Hidalgo, during the biggest Show in the world.
For a society, the buried mirror symbolizes introspection; an exercise in self-criticism to save the shadow of an immobile past, a reflection of thought that connects us to the world and its circumstances, and which through scientific knowledge leads us to fly towards a better future.
Parsifal Islands; professor of international relations at the faculty of higher studies of Acatlán and member of the scientific council of the Mexican synchrotron of Hidalgo