Partner Newsletter July 2021


Look at Me Now!
Meet the Team - Q&A with Clare Cooney, Program Director
Expo Spotlight - Q&A with Mike Pivac, Managing Director & CEO of FBR
Programming Update - Women in Urbanism and Architecture
Expo Update - Mobility Pavilion
Life in Dubai
Expo News
Discover Expo's Online Marketplace

Look at me now!


The Australian Pavilion team have been finalising a number of pressing tasks to ensure everything runs seamlessly ahead of October 1, and as the team continues to grow, people from all professions including, operations, marketing, events and F&B are bringing a wealth of knowledge, experience and expertise to ensure the Australian Pavilion provides a world class experience for all. 

Other exciting updates include the arrival of all kitchen equipment, which allows the chefs to begin recipe testing and tasting our exciting offerings such as Fitzroy Street Blend coffee, TimTam & Milo milkshakes and the Aussie Bao Sausage Sizzle!

Meet the Team

Q&A wth Clare Cooney, Program Manager


Clare Cooney has an exceptional talent for information recall, which as our Program Manager is a necessity, especially considering Clare has built our expo program from the ground up. Thanks to Clare and her team, the Australian Pavilion will present over 100 compelling, diverse and innovative events, symposiums and workshops. 

Q. Your job title is Program Manager  – tell us what that actually means ?

A. As Program Manager, I’m working with our partners to develop the program of activities and events that Australia will host and co-curate at Expo 2020 Dubai. This means working with the other government agencies and organisations taking part, the Expo Organising Committee and other participating countries to build a program that showcases Australian innovation and our contributions to addressing global issues. I’m also coordinating Australian participation in the Expo-led ‘Program for People and Planet’.

Q. How long have you been working in the EXPO team ? What’s your background?

A. I’ve been on the Expo team for about two years. This is a particularly exciting project for me to be part of as Expo 2020 will be the first event of its type and scale to be held in the MENA region. I studied Arabic and Islamic Studies and I have been living in or working with the region for around 15 years. I previously taught social sciences at university in Saudi Arabia, worked for the UAE Consulate in Melbourne, and was a Regional Specialist with Global Victoria.

For the past few years, I’ve been based back in my hometown of Melbourne, which has meant being able to spend time with family and old friends as well as drinking lots of coffee and getting out to hear live music or dance salsa as much as possible. Last year, I also became mum to a Majd, a small budgie with a big personality, and spent a fair bit of time trying to train him. (In fact, he trained us, and ended up acquiring the lounge room as a playroom/bedroom.)

Q. What does a typical day look like for you ?

A. Lots of Webex in the morning followed by emailing, more Webex and a real-life meeting or two.

Q. Will you be travelling to Dubai ahead of Expo ?

A. I arrived in Dubai two months ago and will be here for the duration of Expo.

Q. What the most challenging aspect of working on Dubai Expo ?

A. COVID-19. Aside from that, the most challenging aspect is probably also the most rewarding; Australia has a lot to offer across multiple sectors, and the breadth of the Expo program means that the project has a large and diverse group of stakeholders.

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

A. This sounds cheesy, but we have a really great group of people working on the project, so being part of this team has in itself been a very rewarding experience. I’ve also really enjoyed connecting with the Expo teams from other countries and learning more about their approaches, not only to the delivery of their Expo participation, but also to different topics that will feature in the Expo program - from gender equality to digital technologies, space exploration and sport.

Q. Tell us a fun fact about EXPO

A. Less than 10 weeks to go!

Q. What are some of the program highlights so far ? Any special interests ?

A. Our corporate partners will be showcasing some world-leading innovations at Expo in fields such as construction, food science, health and water technologies. Other elements of the program that I’m excited about include our collaboration with the Expo Women’s Pavilion (on architecture, water and sport), with UN-Habitat (inclusive urban planning), and with UAE universities (water management in arid regions, robotics, radio astronomy, architecture). 

The Expo-led Space Week program and RewirEd Summit are also shaping up to be highlights of the first half of the program, as well as the sports and live music programming. Lots happening!

Expo Spotlight

Q&A with Mike Pivac, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of FBR


The first time you see the Hadrian X operate, you might experience a small rush of adrenaline as if you’ve just stepped into a time-machine and seen a glimpse of the future. A future where construction moves with incredible speed and accuracy, where three bedroom, two bathroom home structures are built in less than three days.  Managing Director and CEO of the Hadrian X, Mike Pivac is passionate about advancing the future of industrial automation with innovative technologies and we’re thrilled to be showcasing FBR at Expo 2020.

Q, We understand that FBR, designs, develops, builds and operates dynamically stabilised robots to address global needs. Where are you located, how many staff do you employ and how long have you been in business?  

A. FBR is located in Perth Western Australia, and we currently employ 60 staff. I have been working on this project for the last 9 years, the past 5+ years as a publicly listed Company. The technology itself has been under development for the past 15 years.

Q. What’s your role and what does your typical day look like?

A. I am the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of FBR. My day typically starts at around 7am, responding to emails that have arrived overnight from abroad, and also to the Team, so they are hitting the ground running each day without waiting for my responses. Meetings and calls continue through the day, and in between I move around within the different departments to get a real feel for the work being undertaken, and to engage one on one with as many of our Team as I can. I do not have a desk, preferring to work from wherever my presence is needed at the time. 

Q. Tell us about FBR’s involvement with Expo Dubai 2020

A. Having followed Expo since I was young, I always saw the event as the ultimate global showcase of exciting things that were soon to be a part of our everyday lives. I believe that what FBR has created will become part of the Construction universe in the years ahead, so it makes sense that Expo be the obvious platform to present our creation to the world. Our involvement in this event is going to be one of the real highlights of our journey so far and working closely with the Expo team in Dubai and Australia to make this happen has been an energising experience for myself and the FBR Team.

Q. What are you hoping to achieve through your involvement?

A. We would be excited to be involved with Expo2020 regardless of where it was held, however the UAE and the GCC region more broadly is a very important market for FBR and coincides well with our market entry strategy and timing. Having millions of visitors attending, and being able to use the Australian Pavilion, which is a showcase in itself, as a platform to present FBR to the world is an amazing opportunity. Of course COVID19 has presented us with an unexpected set of challenges to work around, and we are hopeful of being a strong and valuable participant for the Expo Team. They have been understanding and supportive throughout the past year as all of their own plans have been disrupted, however I am confident that the energy and drive they continue to demonstrate will ensure a successful event regardless of what comes their way. 

Q. Australian businesses are renowned for being innovative and resilient, tell me how COVID affected your business and how you responded to these challenges.

A. The past 12-15 months has been challenging on so many fronts. With so much uncertainty to deal with, I saw the need to respond very quickly to the Pandemic and resize FBR in a way that would give us time to better understand the environment ahead, enable us to continue with a refined development program, whilst keeping a real world demonstration capability within the team. We were literally loading vehicles and preparing to deploy the Hadrian to the first ever real world residential building environment when I decided to delay the event until we had some clarity on what the landscape would be for FBR in the months and years ahead and what resources would be required to deliver on our objectives. This proved to be the right strategy, as we have now conducted a number of residential and commercial projects with the Hadrian X for real customers over the past year. Here we are now in July 2021, and while there has been progress globally on dealing with the Pandemic, we are far from being back to where we were from a travel and business development perspective, which is a real barrier when you are developing a product with a global market in front of it. We have all become accustomed to using virtual platforms for meetings but it is less than ideal, so we are hopeful of a gradual return to a more predictable business environment, growing FBR and scaling the business internationally. 

Q. What do you see as the biggest benefit of doing business with Australia ?

A. Australia is a very important market for FBR, and even though we are limited internationally right now, we have a very buoyant construction environment underway here, so we are being kept very busy refining and improving our technology and product offering, and working with partner organisations to establish a fruitful pathway for the future.

Q. Tell us about the Hadrian X

A. The Hadrian X is the world’s first and only fully mobile, truck mounted, stabilised and autonomous brick and block laying robot, designed to integrate into the current building process to save time, improve accuracy, reduce masonry waste, and vastly improve construction site safety. 



Turning the spotlight on innovative and pioneering women  


We’re teaming up with Griffith University, UN-Habitat Arab States Office and the Expo Women’s Pavilion to host a series of activities spotlighting women’s leadership in the development of socially and environmentally sustainable built environments.

The NeOasis Design Challenge, to be launched next month, is directed towards combatting desertification through sustainable urban and architectural development and invites students and early-career professionals to respond to design challenges set in locations across Australia, the Arabian Peninsula and Africa. During Urban and Rural Development Week at Expo 2020 (November 2021), we will host the Sustainable Urban Development Symposium, bringing together government, academia and industry.

For more information on how you can be part of the conversation, keep an eye on our website.

Expo Update

Mobility Pavilion revealed


Australia is a nation built on mobility. From our earliest histories to the modern day, the movement of people and ideas is embedded in our nation's DNA. As one of the world's most multicultural societies, Australia brings a powerful understanding of how the transfer of people, innovations and culture work together to build economies and enrich lives. The Mobility District will create connections to drive the world forward, breaking down the divide between the physical and digital worlds to build a harmonious, global society where information, ideas and goods are exchanged faster than ever before.  For more information on what to expect at the Mobility Pavilion, head over to the Expo website

Life in Dubai

With Commissioner General Dubai Expo 2020, Justin McGowan


Just as it is in Australia, camping is a favourite pastime for locals and visitors to the UAE. Venturing out into the Arabian desert to experience the tranquil surrounds, golden desert sands and a star filled sky is a must do.  Camping season runs alongside expo and is the perfect way to experience the Emirati lifestyle of yesteryear. Experience the joys of camping without venturing too far from the city at the tranquil Al Qudra Lakes. At the Al Marmoom Desert Conservation Reserve you can take in the lush surroundings and wildlife, including more than 200 species of birds that call the lake home. This is one of the most developed camping spots in Dubai.  Alternatively traverse 45km out of the city and head to the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, and take off on an exciting adventure through Dubai's golden dunes. Located on an old camel farm, the reserve offers camel rides, barbecue meals, and starry views. Visitors will need to book a tour with verified providers in advance to camp here. These organised tours offer comfortable tents and traditional meals, and a front row seat to the stunning desert wildlife.


EUR 20,000 BIE-Comos Prize


Does your innovative project connect minds to create a brighter future?

The BIE-Cosmos Prize Expo 2020 Dubai – designed to promote and reward not-for-profit projects from individuals or groups that exemplify Expo 2020’s theme of ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’, as well as one or more of its subthemes of Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability – is now open.

All entries can be submitted by completing the application form, in English or in French, before 31 August 2021. Shortlisted candidates will present their work and achievements at Expo 2020 Dubai, with an international jury selecting the winning project, to be announced on BIE Day on 30 March 2022. A donation of EUR 20,000 (AED 86,593) will be granted to the recipient of the BIE-Cosmos Prize.

The BIE-Cosmos Prize is a collaboration between the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) and the Expo ’90 Foundation of Japan, which commemorates Horticultural Expo 1990 Osaka and its value of “Harmonious Coexistence between Nature and Humankind”. It has been awarded at all World and Specialised Expos since 2008, with the aim of giving visibility and support to projects that promote this principle and the theme of the Expo.

As the first World Expo in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region, Expo 2020 Dubai will be the world’s most impactful global incubator for new ideas.  For more information visit the expo website here


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