Shanghai 2010 World Expo: The USA Pavilion
Following the 2008 Beijing Olympics, worldwide anticipation is growing over the impending 2010 World Expo in Shanghai. A 16 September 2009 briefing, moderated by Stapleton Roy, Kissinger Institute, featuring Jose Villarreal, U.S. Commissioner General, Shanghai 2010 Expo; Frank Lavin, Chair of the USA Pavilion Steering Committee, Shanghai 2010 Expo; and Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong, Chinese Ambassador to the United States, chronicled the preparations for the upcoming Shanghai 2010 World Expo.
Jose Villarreal anticipates the Shanghai World Expo will "rival, and perhaps eclipse," past world's fairs with 192 countries and 50 international organizations participating with over 70 million expected visitors. Unlike virtually every other country in the world, the U.S. government does not pay for U.S. participation in such expositions, which forces reliance instead on private sector donors.
From May 1st – October 31st, world leaders, dignitaries, businessmen, and tourists will flock to Shanghai to experience massive exchanges of culture and knowledge. Ambassador Zhou commented on his excitement for the upcoming expo and the critical participation of the United States. As the different provinces and ministries of China will send delegations to the Expo, this provides immense opportunities for international organizations, businesses, and governments to have access to the Chinese leadership. Such an international forum will also provide the world an opportunity to reconvene following the global financial crisis and advance the pace of recovery serving as an impetus for increased cooperation, economic growth, and competition.
The Shanghai 2010 Expo will be the largest world's fair in history according to Frank Lavin, with a capital expenditure budget of $45 billion. The Expo theme "Better City, Better Life," will center on the future of metropolitan areas by highlighting the latest green technological innovations to protect the environment and promote sustainability. The pavilions are a chance for the United States and other countries to tell their stories through exhibits displaying varied cultures, technology, history, politics, and societies.
The American pavilion is among the most anticipated attractions for the Chinese. The United States plans to "use this [Expo] as a platform to give the Chinese people on the street a feel for who we are as a people." The U.S. pavilion will exemplify American diversity by chronicling the story of a Chinese-American girl through her own eyes. It is also a platform for sponsors, as it falls under Department of State auspices but is an independent non-government undertaking sponsored by U.S. companies. These companies are leaders in their fields and most have a presence in China thus welcoming the chance to showcase what they have to offer. Jose Villarreal also hopes to host Chinese-speaking American college students as well as high school bands from every state in the union during the Expo.