WORLD EXPO MUSEUM
13 DECEMBER 2018
Vicente G. Loscertales
Bureau International des Expositions (BIE)
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is with great pleasure that I am here today for the opening of the First World Expo Forum for Development and International Cooperation.
I would firstly like to thank the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, the Shanghai Municipal People’s Government, and the World Expo Museum with whom the Bureau International des Expositions has worked to co-organise this important event.
This Forum is of particular importance for all of us.
For the World Expo Museum, this Forum marks an essential step in its young history. It cements its position as a global hub for international dialogue and exchange around Expos and their themes. It embodies its mission not only as a repository of past Expos but also as a wide-reaching and vibrant hub of knowledge.
For Expos, it is a meaningful opportunity to recall, renew and expand the ideas and practices that are shared and showcased in these events to create forward momentum.
For the BIE, it is an expression of our responsibility to fuel global debates and the development of shared practices, to foster cooperation and to spur education.
The theme of this Forum –“Innovation, Cooperation and Development: World Expo Towards the Future”– reflects the values of Expos, their meanings and their implications.
By Values, we mean Education, Cooperation and Innovation.
By Meanings, we involve Culture, Development and Progress.
By Implications, we imply Planning, Public Diplomacy and Community.
An Expo is a unique urban stage combining all these aspects: diversity and exchange, architecture and design, technology and innovation, education and culture.
Today, we will look at all of these aspects through four dedicated panel discussions.
Let me now briefly expand on each of them, before they are debated later today by a variety of speakers from around the world.
We will listen to a panel discussion entitled “World Expos and International Cooperation”. With this, we will look at diversity and exchange and will discuss how Expos gather a broad range of actors to address and find solutions to the challenges we face.
As a gathering of governments, institutions, businesses and citizens, Expos offer a unique opportunity to improve international relations and solidify solidarity between nations. As mega-events attracting millions of visitors, they are massive forums for public diplomacy and multilateral dialogue, where cooperation is vital.
It is therefore of great interest to develop this topic, to grasp the opportunities as well as the challenges of building a shared future through a common, international project.
With “Urban Impacts & Design in World Expos”, we will touch on a key topic that has been inherently linked to Expos since the very beginning.
As powerful catalysts of urban transformation, Expos shape the core of a city by creating new public spaces, spurring local development and initiating new forms of urban dynamism. Through large-scale investments in infrastructure, the creation of new urban areas, and regional development, the impacts of Expos are seen and felt by all citizens, before, during and after the event.
For architecture and construction, Expos also provide a blank canvas and an open laboratory for pushing boundaries and fostering creativity, encouraging bold decisions and creative independence for architects and designers to experiment with new forms, shapes and styles.
We will be hearing more on this and in particular, about Shanghai – our host today – which was truly transformed as a result of Expo 2010, as well as about Dubai - the host of the next World Expo – which will tell us its plans for a lasting legacy.
Another topic of discussion will be “Economic Impacts and Innovation in World Expos”, a subject also closely linked to the legacy of World Expos.
Showcasing new products, developing new markets and expanding trade relationships were at the core of the early World Expos. Since then, while Expos have evolved to cover a broader remit, innovation and business opportunities remain a driving force of these global events.
As forward-looking enterprises, Expos in the 21st century aim not only to present an inventory of what is currently available, but to project certain ideas of the future. In looking towards the future, we must imagine a better quality of life, a more harmonious society, and a healthier planet.
Expos are about serving all of humanity, by promoting creativity to develop new solutions, and by creating connections across borders. They showcase innovations that lead to changes in economic and social structures. They set off trends that change the way we spend our time, the way we live and the ways we communicate.
Expos also provide nations with a unique platform to define and deliver their “nation brands”. As such, countries can capture the attention of a wide international audience and transform foreign publics’ interest into understanding and appreciation.
The discussions we have today will enlighten us further on this essential aspect of Expos, and how, as platforms for global progress, they foster the sharing of ideas, best practices and innovations, as well as the promotion of new and fruitful relationships.
With “World Expos and Culture”, the role of Expos as unique venues for cultural exchange and promotion will also be discussed.
By gathering hundreds of countries from across the world and millions of visitors, Expos facilitate the meeting of cultures and foster new connections between citizens, institutions and governments. Expos
For visitors, the cultural activities and international exposure forms an integral educational experience like no other that is difficult to surpass. Everyone who visits an Expo embarks on an immersive journey, into the theme, and across the world. An Expo is the unrivalled venue for discovering the wealth and vibrancy of culture from all peoples and all nations.
What makes visiting an Expo so special is also how unique an experience it is, how Expos are cultural products of their time. Speak to anyone who has visited an Expo and they will have a different story to tell and a different interpretation of the theme. But at the same time, it is always shared with others. It is a place of connections, dialogue and interactions.
These cultural exchanges found in Expos are unlike any other event, whose experiences and benefits will be brought to the forefront this afternoon.
And so, it is in a spirit of immense excitement and gratitude to all participants that we move forward with this forum, through which we intend to further promote the universality of Expos, the connections they create, and the shared concerns and hopes of all nations.