About the Author: Beatrice Camp is Consul General at the U.S. Consulate in Shanghai, China.
Shanghai is going all out for the May-October 2010 World Expo, and the United States’ commitment to participate made big news here. The Shanghai Expo, the next in a long line of world fairs, is the first to be hosted in China. The United States itself has hosted a number of historically significant world fairs, including Chicago 1893, which introduced the Ferris Wheel; St. Louis 1904 (the venue for the famous movie Meet Me in St. Louis); Seattle 1962 (the Space Needle); and New York 1964 (the Unisphere). In line with the Shanghai Expo theme of “Better City, Better Life," the USA Pavilion is focused on “Rising to the Challenge" through sustainability, teamwork, health, and opportunity.
We may have taken our time before confirming our participation, but we moved with rocket speed since the middle of the year. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appointed José H. Villarreal as the U.S. Commissioner General on July 1. Following his appointment, José visited Shanghai and signed our participation contract with the Expo Bureau on July 10. Exactly a week later, the Commissioner General and I were on stage with Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke and Chinese officials for a groundbreaking ceremony on the site of our future pavilion. Secretary Clinton joined us in spirit by sending a letter of congratulations. We’re reciprocating by shipping her a shovel and a hard hat.
The USA Pavilion is dependent on private sector funding, and many of our corporate sponsors participated in the groundbreaking ceremony. Despite the 99 degree temperature at the construction site on July 17, it was an exhilarating moment. We lingered after the ceremony for photo ops with business supporters, wielding the red-bow-bedecked shovels and celebrating the launch of a pavilion that will present America’s story to an expected 70 million visitors over a period of six months. As Secretary Clinton noted in her letter of congratulations, "The Shanghai Expo represents all that the nations of the world can accomplish when we work together, the global challenges we can meet through collective action, and the progress we can achieve through international cooperation."
I’m looking forward to 2010 and to a USA Pavilion that will bring the best of America to China and to this dynamic city.