UK launches eXpo Factor competition for Expo 2020 Dubai

10 September 2021:

The UK has today announced the launch of the eXpo Factor competition in partnership with global social business Debate Mate to drive forward the UK Pavilion’s education programme at Expo 2020 Dubai.

The competition launches today and runs up until UK National Day on 10th February 2022, when at least four winning students from across the UK aged between 9-18 years old will travel to Expo 2020 Dubai.

The eXpo Factor is made up of four distinct phases, the first of which will see students discuss and present their take on what makes Britain extraordinary to their classmates, teachers and a Debate Mate mentor. The winners at each school will be invited to submit their contribution virtually.

The winners will then work together virtually to refine their existing ideas before pitching to a digital panel. The students will then be whittled down to a select set of finalists to attend a live competition in December 2021, before taking part in a ‘Best of British Bootcamp’ prior to being flown over to Dubai in February.

Once there, they will get the opportunity to take part in discussions on stage with leading voices on issues such as sustainability, mobility and equality of opportunity. The winners will also be invited to attend the ‘Chemistry of Happiness’ World Majlis event, as well as an invite-only, VIP evening reception on the UK Pavilion.

The eXpo Factor is part of the education programme at the UK Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai. Education related activity is integrated across the UK National programme, with key activity taking place in December 2021, with ‘In the Future, How will we Learn?’. This takes the form of a selection of events in which UK innovations will be showcased and a diverse set of speakers will discuss the major issues set to shape the future of education.

The speakers, who will be contributing both in-person and virtually, include Andria Zafirakou, 2018 Global Teacher Prize winner, who will chair a summit asking what makes teachers great.

Professor Sir Steve Smith, UK Government International Education Champion and the Prime Minister’s Special Representative to Saudi Arabia for Education will also be driving a session focused on the future of higher education.

Other experts chairing summits and contributing to broader activity during ‘In the Future, How will we Learn?’ include:

  • Alison Watson MBE, Founder and Chief Executive of Class of Your Own
  • Brajesh Panth, Chief of Education Group at the Asian Development Bank
  • Dave Reay, Professor of Carbon Management & Education, University of Edinburgh
  • Carrie Anne Philbin MBE, Director of Educator Support at Raspberry Pi Foundation

Laura Faulkner OBE, UK Commissioner for Expo 2020 Dubai, says: “Never has it been more important to examine how global education needs to adapt to equip our children for tomorrow’s world. The UK Pavilion’s Education Programme will be exploring the big questions of the 21st century, such as what the classroom of the future will look like, the role of the teacher and AI in learning. We will also give children the opportunity to provide their insights into some of the most significant challenges of our time through our partnership with Debate Mate, and bring together global experts to discuss the future of learning, from primary to university and beyond.”

All events will be hosted in the stunning UK Pavilion, a must see highlight at Expo 2020 Dubai that occupies a prime location in the Opportunity District, near to the central Al Wasl Plaza and the huge dome that sits atop it. The UK’s participation theme is ‘Innovating for a Shared Future'.

The first World Expo to be held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region and the largest event ever held in the Arab world, Expo 2020 Dubai will run for six months from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022 – bringing 190-plus countries together in a spirit of hope, optimism and shared purpose. Further details of ‘What will we Eat?’ and the rest of the UK programme will be announced throughout the year as the event grows closer.

For more information and to take a virtual tour of the UK Pavilion visit:

Watch this video from the Department for International Trade on the event themes:

Join the conversation at @UKPavilion2020 #Expo2020



Debate Mate
Debate Mate is based in London and has been established as an innovative, global education supplier that provides leadership and communication training across a wide variety of sectors. It’s built an industry-leading education network, curriculum and teaching methodology which addresses the communication requirements of youths and businesses worldwide. Its programme format is based on the fundamentals of competitive debating and its facilitators are experts in their field, providing a format that exemplifies the quintessentially British debate system that has gone on to influence the world.
Working with its charitable arm, Debate Mate Schools, Debate Mate uses the brightest university students to run after-school debate clubs in areas of high child poverty across the world. Over the last nine years, the organisation has successfully taught over 25,000 young people to debate in Dubai, Mexico, Rwanda, China, Israel, the UK and beyond.

The UK at Expo 2020 Dubai
The UK is participating in Expo 2020 Dubai, taking place from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022. More than 190 nations are taking part with 70% of the visitors expected from around the world. The overarching theme for Expo 2020 Dubai is ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’. Under the theme ‘Innovating for a Shared Future’, the UK’s participation will boost the country’s global reputation, drive future partnerships and provide long term economic benefit.

The UK’s participation in Expo 2020 Dubai will be led by the Department for International Trade (DIT), with support from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, the Department for Culture, Media & Sport, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, the Department for Transport, the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and the Devolved Administrations. The UK’s presence will consist of a self-build country Pavilion, based in the ‘Opportunity’ district and an accompanying business, cultural, tourism and education events programme.

Find out more on the UK at Expo 2020 Dubai website 


How to cover Expo 2020 Dubai in person at event time or report on the event remotely

 To attend Expo 2020 or cover Expo 2020 remotely using content and assets generated by Expo, you must be accredited.

 To kick off your journey with Expo 2020, please ensure that you:

1.         Register to access the Media Information System, Tawassul at

Tawassul is regularly updated, providing the latest content assets, including press releases, photographs, audio and video, the electronic media kit, and information on broadcast and photography operations. It also provides you with important information and updates on facilities and services such as media accreditation, visa information for international accredited media, and permits. Access to other media-related systems (Media Asset Management System and Media Bookings System), which will be launched in Q2 2021, will only be permitted to accredited media (see below). Information about these systems can be found on Tawassul.


2.         Once registered, submit an Expo 2020 Media Accreditation expression of interest.

Within this expression of interest, please appoint an Accreditation Liaison Officer (ALO) from within your organisation who will act as the single point of contact with Expo 2020 for media accreditation. Following this, approved media organisations will be provided login details and instructions for the accreditation system to enable them to submit applications.


For support, contact Expo 2020 Dubai’s Media Services team at or +971 (0)56 689 2101.