Shams El -Mutwalli Dubai
Saood Al Noori is an Emirati who works as the Associate Director of the International Participants Team at Expo 2020, where he oversees the participation of 33 countries, including Japan.
Expo 2020 is the first expo to be held in the Middle East and will bring together 190 different countries to explore Emirati culture, as well as contribute to advances in innovation, art, and culture through events and attractions.
During the time he spent living in Japan, he remained a consultant for Expo 2020 and even fostered an aspiration of someday becoming the UAE ambassador there.
The UAE National Service filmed and promoted a video of Al Noori in Japan, approximately three years ago.
“My biggest motivation and drive was my passion about connecting the UAE with Japan, and visiting Japan for the first time made it clear to me that in order for me to actually begin to understand Japanese society, it would be required for me to immerse myself in their culture” he told Arab News Japan.
Al Noori fulfilled this mission through his mastering of the Japanese language.
While studying the basics of hiragana and katakana was a breeze “once the class shifted gears and entered the sphere of kanji, I began lagging behind many of my classmates, who were Chinese and were very familiar characters, but I never gave up”
Living in Japan allowed Al Noori to observe a cultural connectivity between Japan and the UAE.
Both cultures value the respect for elders, upholding good, and showing a true appreciation for what life has given us.
Al Noori’s interest in Japan began with Anime, and Japanese online games. These brief encounters with the Japanese culture, resulted in “an unmatched passion towards the Japanese people and their culture” Al Noori said to Arab News Japan.
His appreciation of Japanese culture also informed his understanding of the theme for the Expo 2020 Japan pavilion.
The theme ‘Join. Sync. Act’ communicates “to me the importance of the collective effort and it was one of the ways I felt immersed in Japan, in order for me to function in society, I had to be part of it” by participating in the Japanese way of life, he said.
Al Noori also commented on the traditional Arabesque and Japanese Asanoha patterns used in the architecture of the pavilion.
“I believe this is a great way to bridge both kinds of architecture into the ultimate goal of bringing the two cultures together, and it aligns harmoniously with Expo Dubai’s theme of ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the future’,” Al Noori said.
Al Noori’s current role at Expo 2020 is very much informed by his expertise in Energy, as he graduated with a Master’s Degree in Environmental Technology with a focus on Energy Policy, allowing him to fully grasp the technical, economic and legal aspects of energy use.
Al Noori intends to use his understanding of supply and energy-related problems to advance the current relationship between the United Arab Emirates and Japan.
He intends to do so by focusing on the “multilateral energy engagement between the UAE and Japan, just as was previously done between the UAE and New Zealand in the building of a solar plant in the Solomon Islands,” Al Noori said.
Although Al Noori intends to follow through with Expo 2020 until it is conducted successfully, he does hope to progress from there.
“I would want to move to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation to position myself as a diplomat in their ranks, working my way to be a specialist in UAE Japan relations and hopefully one day, with passion and commitment” to achieve his dream of becoming an ambassador, he said.
Al Noori pointed out how there are opportunities in the UAE that encourage young Emiratis to follow in his path.
Whether they choose to specialize in sustainability, diplomacy, or culture exchange finding ones path will provide the motivation to succeed, he said.