Even before I arrived in Shanghai as U.S. Consul General last September, I knew that the Shanghai 2010 Expo was going to be a huge event, the largest World’s Fair in history. Living here, in one of the most dynamic cities in the world, we see every day how Shanghai is going all out to make this Expo a fair to remember, a six-month long international extravaganza that offers the promise of "Better City, Better Life."
Although this kind of international expo has gone out of style in the United States, I'm old enough to remember family trips to the New York World's Fair in 1964 and to Montreal in 1967. So I felt the breath of history-in-the-making today as Secretary Clinton paid her first visit to our USA National Pavilion, now under construction for the May-October 2010 run of the Expo. My colleagues and I at the Consulate and State Department have been working in partnership with a private sector team since March 2008 to ensure a U.S. presence at the Expo, so this was a big moment for us.
We have moved quickly in recent months -- from our groundbreaking ceremony with Commerce Secretary Locke on July 17 to our topping off ceremony 89 days later, when Ambassador Huntsman helped add the last metal beam to our structure. The construction crew promises that the outer building will be complete next month, after which we will tackle the even more important job of creating the content that will showcase the best of America to visitors.
Despite the cold, rainy weather early Monday, the Secretary's visit to the pavilion site attracted a number of representatives from the pavilion's all-important corporate sponsors. Without their support, we would have missed the chance to show off our country to a huge audience next year, an expected 70 million visitors. As Secretary Clinton reminded the sponsors, the Expo's theme of “Better City, Better Life” allows us to highlight the best of America’s business, culture, and values while touching on critical areas of U.S.-China cooperation such as working together toward a clean energy future. Thanks to these companies' support of our public-private partnership, I can say "See you at the fair."Related Entry: U.S. Consulate General Welcomes Shanghai Expo 2010