EXPO 2020 Dubai: Rural areas in 2040: Addressing global challenges of rural areas with Smart Villages

European Union at Expo Dubai 2020
Start/End date
Other (UAE)

Dubai is one of the most forward-thinking, technologically advanced cities in the world. A man­made marvel, it is no surprise that Dubai is on its way to becoming a model smart city. Besides smart cities, we must, however, also consider smaller players: Smart Villages - a concept co-initiated and co-created at EU and world level, which is about citizens taking ownership and responsibility. Artificial intelligence (AI) is the way forward and can have a significant positive impact on rural and remote communities.

In this two-part event on 1st November (18:00 - 20:00 CET), organised under the auspices of the 2021 Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the EU, major global industry players come together with high-level European institution representatives and national politicians for an insightful debate on the opportunities and challenges of smart villages.

The event will focus on the role of AI. Concrete examples will be provided of how digital & AI solutions are improving life in rural areas, connecting them with cities and enabling them to play an active role in the systemic transformation towards a more sustainable and circular future.The debate will be followed by a three-dimensional, holographic presentation of their vision for smart villages.

The event will also be live-streamed online.


18:00 - 19:15: Welcoming Speeches & Debate

19:15 – 19:30: 3D Hologram Presentation, Vision for Smart Villages

19:30 - 20:00: Q&A Session with the Audience


  •     Dubravka Šuica, Vice-President of the European Commission and European Commissioner for Democracy and Demography
  •     Jože Podgoršek, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Development, Government of the Republic of Slovenia, Presiding minister of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council of the EU
  •     Omar Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, UAE
  •     Matic Volk, Commissioner General of the Republic of Slovenia for EXPO
  •     Franc Bogovič, MEP & Chair of the EP RUMRA & Smart Villages Intergroup
  •     Chenesai Mangoma, CEO of Chenesai Africa & Creative Industries Trade Strategist (online participation)
  •     Doris Letina, Vice President of the European Council of Young Farmers (CEJA), (online participation)
  •     Tony Jin, Huawei Chief Representative for the EU Institutions
  •     Gregor Novak, CEO Suncontract, Slovenian Energy company (SME)
  •     Gregor Mauko, Director Toyota Adria
  •     Representative of Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) (invited)

Moderator: Ladeja Godina Košir, Founder and Executive Director at Circular Change and chair of the coordination group of the European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform (ECESP)

The event will be followed by a reception at the Slovenian Pavilion.