Urso Chappell’s ExpoMuseum Blog: October 2008

27 October 2008

Sad News about the Expo 2010 United States Pavilion

I've received word tonight that the group that the State Department had chosen to fund, plan, design, build, and staff a United States Pavilion at Expo 2010, has announced that they've run out of both time and money.

Expo 2010 opens in May 2010 and it was estimated that the cost of a US Pavilion would have been about 100 million dollars. Under current government rules, all of that money would have had to have come from private industry.

It now looks like there will be no United States Pavilion at history's largest world's fair, a world's fair in perhaps the most important country of the 21st country, an exposition that will host over 200 other countries and 70 to 100 million visitors.

We need to change United States policy toward international expositions. Not only do we need to be able to fund pavilions for government monies, we need to rejoin the Bureau International des Expositions, an organization that now boasts over 100 member nations.

23 October 2008

Nicholas Kristof Article in New York Times

An interesting article by Nicholas Kristof appeared in today's New York Times. Entitled "Rebranding the U.S. with Obama," he talks about how public opinion of the United States will undergo a big change if Barack Obama is elected president of the United States. It includes this fascinating interchange between Mr. Kristof and a Chinese friend about Barack Obama's likely win:
She: Obama? But he’s the black man, isn’t he?

Me: Yes, exactly.

She: But surely a black man couldn’t become president of the United States?

Me: It looks as if he’ll be elected.

She: But president? That’s such an important job! In America, I thought blacks were janitors and laborers.

Me: No, blacks have all kinds of jobs.

She: What do white people think about that, about getting a black president? Are they upset? Are they angry?

Me: No, of course not! If Obama is elected, it’ll be because white people voted for him.

[Long pause.]

She: Really? Unbelievable! What an amazing country!

Setting aside the political aspect of the article, I think it serves to illustrate how people's attitudes about a country can be changed with simple information.

Imagine the potential of a United States Pavilion at Expo 2010 in Shanghai. There's so much opportunity there, not just economically but also diplomatically. I would love to be working in the United States Pavilion and overhear Chinese people leaving the pavilion saying "What an amazing country!"

Now, imagine that there's no United States Pavilion because the funds couldn't be found. Expo 2010 will host over 200 countries for six months in Shanghai. They're expecting 70 to 100 million visitors. What will the Chinese people think if the richest and most powerful country in the world couldn't find the money to participate in China's first world's fair.

15 October 2008

NBA and AEG at Expo 2010

From the Los Angeles Times today:
SHANGHAI -- The NBA and the Los Angeles sports and entertainment firm AEG announced plans Tuesday to help develop a $280-million arena and recreation center for the Shanghai World Expo in 2010 -- the first of a dozen multipurpose arenas that the new joint venture hopes to build in China.


Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be any new news about plans for a United States Pavilion at the site.