Expo Mission Accomplished for USA Pavilion
( 2010-10-28 )

The USA Pavilion has achieved its goal of public diplomacy in China with the Expo serving as an unparalleled platform to communicate with the vast public of the country, the United States commissioner-general to the Expo said.

But the eagle-shaped structure, for which the world's largest economy scrambled together $61 million from corporate funding for construction and operation, is unlikely to remain on its original site in the Expo Garden, according to Jose Villarreal.

"The Expo authority is mandating that all the Expo Garden be removed, except for a few permanent structures such as the China Pavilion," Villarreal said in an interview with China Daily, adding that the regulation and rules have yet to be finalized by Expo authorities.

It will be infinitely cheaper to build from scratch than try to move it, though many participants hope their pavilions could be removed and replicated somewhere else in China or their own countries, he added.

"We'll try to preserve elements of it, extract whatever value we can extract from the pavilion, give away some of its valuable assets, and try to dispose of the building in an environmentally sensitive way," Villarreal said.

The centerpiece of the exhibition, The Garden, an immersive action movie that tells the story of a young girl's efforts to engage her community in turning a derelict wasteland into a flourishing oasis, will be made into DVDs and distributed free to local TV stations and websites, he said.

"In terms of whether we met our objectives, the answer is a resounding yes," the official said. "We especially met our public diplomacy objectives. We were able to tell an America story in an interesting way to a large number of Chinese citizens, many of whom have had very little exposure to America."

The US was one of the last among the countries to confirm its attendance at the extravagant fair due to a law barring the country from using public money to build its pavilion, which forced it to rely on corporate funding and private donors.

Villarreal said he was grateful for what Chinese authorities did to help the country put on a show for the Expo.

"I try to tell everybody who will listen that the Chinese Expo authorities have done an absolutely astonishing job in managing all of the needs related to the Expo," he said. "They were very attentive to our needs. We were the last guys to sign the participation agreement and we needed a little extra help to complete our project on time. They were with us every step along the way, hand in hand."

And after 180 days of operation, the 5,600-square-meter pavilion has welcomed more than 7 million visitors. That is one of the largest for a foreign participant at the Expo, which attracted more than 190 nations.

"It's quite a staggering number wherever I tell people in the United States that we have hosted this many people," Villarreal said.

"The Expo gave us an unparalleled and historical opportunity to communicate with the large segment of Chinese population, not just directly with people who have visited it but the amount of press that we have got throughout China has been extraordinary," he said.

During the fair, the official traveled around China and held talks with people from all walks of life.

"All of that speaks to the level of commitment that the US has to growing, enhancing and bettering the relationship between China and the US," Villarreal said.

"This was a wonderful opportunity, not just for the US but the rest of the world, to demonstrate a commitment to cooperation on the big issue of the day - the global environment."

(Source:China Daily)


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