Giovanni Criscione

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Image courtesy Jeffrey D. Allred/Deseret News

Giovanni Criscione is a business professional in protocol, international affairs, investment management, and fundraising.

He was the senior protocol director for Expo 2020 Dubai, which was set to open in October 2020; however, the worldwide pandemic postponed the opening to October 2021. Expo 2020 concluded on March 31, 2022. He himself had to quarantine with a serious case of COVID-19 in March/April 2020.

With the delay of Expo 2020, it was “no longer just about showcasing nations or themes, but also about modeling resiliency in the face of global catastrophe.”[1]

An estimated 24 million visitors came to Expo 2020 — “a triumph considering that it seemed almost on the verge of collapse as the pandemic put global travel to a halt.”

In January 2019, Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, would be visiting Dubai and wanted to meet with UAE leaders and top management of Expo 2020. Criscione was able to help organize the meetings. Later that year in October, Elder Larry S. Kacher, a General Authority Seventy of the Church, and his wife, along with others, visited for a site tour of Expo 2020.

When Criscione was asked by church leaders what led the UAE government to allow the church to build a temple in Dubai, he received an answer from Her Excellency Al Hashimy who said it was a government decision.
It was, in her words, “the only real and right decision out there.”
Criscione often quotes His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, “We don’t wait for opportunities, we create them.”[2]

Although he was offered to continue his work with future world expos, Criscione and his family preferred to stay in Dubai where he runs an international consulting firm. He is also a member of the board of governors of South View School in Dubai. He is head of fundraising with Double River Investments in Dubai.

In 2011, he was serving in the mayor’s Cabinet, as international relations, public affairs and protocol manager for Expo Milano 2015. He had the opportunity to meet Her Excellency Al Hashimy, minister of state for International Cooperation and director general of Expo 2020, and she offered him the job.

Previously, Criscione had been an adviser and member of the Fifth Committee of the General Assembly of the United Nations, representing Italy. He had worked as protocol and public relations program specialist for the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Turin, Italy.

Criscione, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was educated in his native Italy. He holds a Doctor of Law degree in international and trade law and economics. He holds a master’s degree in international studies and diplomacy.

External Link

Deseret News, “The Latter-day Atlas who helped hold up World Expo,” by Heather B. Moore