Partner Newsletter August 2021


Look at Me Now!
Meet the Team - Q&A with Michelle Manning, Expo Taskforce
Expo Spotlight - The Mascot Journey with Angela Domenici
Programming Update - Download the Calendar of Events 
Expo Update - Programme for People and Planet
Life in Dubai
What is Expo?
Discover Expo's Online Marketplace

Look at me now!



Young, imaginative, and unstoppable, Wattle the Koala's  personality and character embody the spirit of our country. She is a visionary and dreamer with an unquenchable thirst for knowledge.

Jali the butterfly represents the roots of our people. He is Wattle’s wise and faithful sidekick and follows her wherever she goes. Jali means tree in the Bundjalung Indigenous language, and like a tree Jali is an old spirit that connects the above and the below.

This month Pavilion Director Pete Sams welcomed Wattle and Jali to the Pavilion.  Since making the Pavilion their home, Wattle and Jali have been busy meeting the new team, making friends with media and welcoming guests and partners to the pavilion.

Meet the Team

Q&A wth Michelle Manning, Dubai Expo 2020 Taskforce


From boarding school in South Africa to volunteer work in Vanuatu, Michelle Manning is a self-confessed adventurer who brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Dubai Expo 2020 Taskforce.

What’s your background?

Hi, my name is Michelle. Home is Kununurra and Halls Creek is country. I’m a descendant of the Jaru people. My skin name is Nyawurru. In the Kimberley region, a persons’ skin is given through their mother, and determines ones’ relationships and cultural obligations within an Aboriginal society, still practised in traditional settings today. With kinship connections throughout the region, I’m a proud Kimberley kid.

My 20 years of employment within Indigenous Affairs in multiple states and territories has served across the mining industry, non- government organisations, private sector, state and commonwealth departments. I have had the privilege to work with Traditional Owners in rural and remote settings and in recent years moved from the country to experience exclusive Canberra opportunities that has included a role in the Minster for Indigenous Affairs Office.

Today and every day I acknowledge the traditional custodians of Australia, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. I pay my respects to our continuing cultural and spiritual connection to the waters, land and community. I’m grateful for and thank our leaders and elders, across this land for their courage, sacrifice, strength, knowledge and wisdom that has seen (and continue to see) social change for generations to come.

So what’s your role in the Expo team? How long have you been working in the team for?

I’m currently on a 12 month secondment to the Expo 2020 Dubai Taskforce from the National Indigenous Australians Agency. My role in the Taskforce is to support the development, planning and implementation of Australia’s Expo 2020 program- so a range of things. This includes providing advice and identifying opportunities for the taskforce to incorporate Indigenous elements into the Pavilion programming.

A significant role has been leading Australia’s contribution to Te Aratini Festival of Indigenous & Tribal Ideas. This forum will facilitate comprehensive dialogue on issues that matter to Indigenous peoples across four themes of culture, commerce, community and conservation with an overarching focus on the inclusion of Indigenous businesses.

I’ve had the opportunity to lead a number of art projects that has afforded Indigenous Australian artists the opportunity to showcase their artwork and share their stories with the world. I have also participated in the preparations of the Australian Sports Program.

What does a typical day look like for you?

Lots of stakeholder conversations and lots of emails!!

Will you be travelling to Dubai ahead of EXPO?

I’m currently based in Canberra and plan to travel to the United Arab Emirates later this year in October for a few months. I’m really looking forward to seeing the team’s hard work come to life and to experience my first ever- World Expo!

What’s the most challenging aspect of working on Dubai EXPO?

There have been many challenges. I’m certainly being stretched by a new experience, in a positive way. As a process based person, it can be hard to navigate a new space with barest guidance and the broadest remit. There has been no formulae with the many tasks that have landed in my lap but rather the need to be organised, take initiative and learn of the many resources around you.

What’s the most rewarding or what are you most looking forward to?

To learn of the synergies across commonwealth departments and participate in different and inspiring conversations. The National Indigenous Australia’s Agency’s core business is domestic with the fundamental objective of improving the lives of Indigenous Australian’s. Different objectives and conversations, that require an international lens has beena big shift. The endless possibilities of Indigenous inclusion and the opportunity to pursue greater economic equality for Indigenous Australians- is super exciting. Furthermore, it’s been rewarding to learn of DFAT’s Indigenous agenda through many initiatives, including the recent and revised launch of the Indigenous Diplomacy Agenda.

How do you like to spend your free time? Any special interests?

I am passionate about people- I love meeting new people and hearing their stories. A seven hour phone call certainly sets the record and attests my ability to enjoy a chat. So good coffee and thought-provoking conversation is up-there on my recreational favourites.

I also enjoy new adventures. Nothing like jumping out of a perfectly good plane, that’s next level adventure- although I have done bungy jumping. Adventure like- road trips to a new place (there are many pockets of paradise in this great country of ours, not to mention international destinations), whale watching or a winery tour. I’m always keen on ‘first time’ experiences!!

Without trying to sound cliché, my life has been full of exclusive opportunities- including boarding school in Bloemfontein, a broad range of roles within Australia, volunteer work in Vanuatu and more. All of my experiences have added great depth (and interest) in the understanding of people and cultures, our diversity can be powerful and is intriguing. Always grateful for the true champions that have had an influencing role through my journey- a Blue Sky Dreaming!

Expo Spotlight

With Angela Domenici, Australian Pavilion Mascot creator 



Watch now to discover the creative journey of bringing Wattle and Jali to life for mascot creator Angela Domenici.



Download Expo Calendar of Events here

Discover the latest programming updates for the Australian Pavilion here


Expo Update

Programme for People and Planet revealed


Expo 2020 has revealed the six-month calendar for its Programme for People and Planet, harnessing the connecting powers of World Expos, nations around the world and the UAE to catalyse a legacy of transformative change.

Designed with and for the global community, the Programme for People and Planet addresses the most critical challenges and opportunities facing the world today.

Through 10 Theme Weeks and 18 International Days, participants and Expo 2020 visitors will explore solutions to fundamental global issues – ranging from fighting climate change and biodiversity loss and making human habitats more sustainable, to bridging the digital divide and ensuring equal access to education and healthcare.

Featuring global leaders and game-changers, with TED-style talks, exhibitions, forums and workshops, each activation forms a piece of a larger puzzle that participants will endeavour to collectively solve at Expo 2020, inviting visitors to join the UAE to build bridges, thrive together and live in balance as we create opportunity for all.

Underpinned by the themes of technology and innovation, youth and women and girls’ empowerment, the programme will assemble an unparalleled array of perspectives, fostering exchanges of impactful ideas between leading experts from all Expo’s 191 participating nations and partners, as well as business leaders, grassroots actors, and the wider global community.

Visitors will also be able to explore the topics raised in the Programme for People and Planet by taking a curated Visitor Journey. Aligned with the 10 Theme Weeks, these self-guided tours will be available on the Expo 2020 app and will showcase the different ways in which countries, businesses and other organisations are responding to the key challenges we face as a global community.

Unlocking bold aspirations to shape a healthier, safer, cleaner and more equitable future for all, the Programme for People and Planet will demonstrate that each and every one of us, whether attending Expo physically or participating remotely via virtual and digital channels, can – and must – be an agent of change.

For more information on the programme, and to start your journey to becoming an agent of change, visit the Programme for People and Planet webpage.


Life in Dubai

With Commissioner General Dubai Expo 2020, Justin McGowan


Sport has always been a passion of mine. Participating, coaching or cheering from the sidelines… I’m in for all of it. We are a proud sporting nation leading the way from grassroots youth programs right up to the pinnacle of elite international competition, we strive to build stronger communities through participation and engagement with all types of sport.

Australia promotes and champions the role sport can play in engaging individuals regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, cultural background and physical ability.

There are so many options to get involved with Sport when you’re visiting Dubai, from local football, tennis and netball leagues, to the 30x30 fitness challenge.  Dubai is a diverse sporting landscape encompassing traditional events that promote Dubai’s rich cultural heritage as well as globally recognised show-piece tournaments.

At Expo 2020 Dubai, Australia will have a dedicated daily sporting program led by fellow Australian Mick Haddin, who’s most looking forward to teaching the world how to kick an Aussie Rules football and welcoming everyone on site for daily fitness classes!



What is Expo?





Discover Expo's online market place

An Expo 2020 Dubai tool for businesses to connect, collaborate and compete for business opportunities globally

Inspired by the Expo 2020 Dubai theme, ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’, the Online Marketplace aims to drive collaboration and growth by enabling businesses of all sizes to advertise their capabilities, market for business globally and connect with others within the supply chain.

Expo 2020 Dubai has committed 20 per cent of its spend to local and international Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs), representing billions of dirhams (AED) in opportunities.

The Online Marketplace is a powerful platform for finding the very best products and services on offer globally, including the freshest and most innovative ideas developed by SMEs worldwide.

This is just the beginning of the journey to 2020 and beyond.  Register here