Obama Endorses Minnesota’s Bid For World’s Fair 2023

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — President Barack Obama has endorsed a Minnesota bid to host a World’s Fair in 2023 on the theme of wellness.

In memos Friday to the secretaries of state and commerce, the president says he finds that officially recognizing the proposed expo is in the national interest.

An organizing committee announced plans last year for “Minnesota World’s Fair 2023: Wellness and Well Being for All.”

Read more on CBS TV

Obama backs Minnesota bid for 2023 World’s Fair

President Barack Obama has endorsed a Minnesota bid to host a World’s Fair in 2023 on the theme of wellness.

In memos Friday to the secretaries of state and commerce, the president says he finds that officially recognizing the proposed expo is in the national interest.

An organizing committee announced plans last year for “Minnesota World’s Fair 2023: Wellness and Well Being for All.”

Read on St. Paul Pioneer Press

Presidential Memoranda — Minnesota World’s Fair 2023

MEMORANDUM FOR THE SECRETARY OF COMMERCE

SUBJECT:            Minnesota World’s Fair 2023:   Wellness and
Well Being for All

I have reviewed the reports and recommendations presented to me by you and the Secretary of State that recognition be given to the “Minnesota World’s Fair 2023: Wellness and Well Being for All,” and find that such recognition will be in the national interest.

I approve granting Federal recognition to the Exposition.

On that basis, please advise the appropriate agencies that official recognition is hereby granted.

I would also appreciate your taking the appropriate steps to notify the Congress of this action, in accordance with section 2(c) of Public Law 91-269.

BARACK OBAMA

Link to White House Release

Expo update! US to participate in Astana 2017, selects creative team; Dubai 2020 moves forward

ASTANA 2017


Astana Expo 2017
[Kazakhstan] opens June 10, and 111 counties have confirmed participation – including the United States, as per an announcement made at the 4th Annual Kazakhstan – US Convention.

A team including APCO, the Eurasia Foundation and BRC Imagination Arts has been selected to design, build and operate the USA Pavilion at Astana Expo 2017.

US Ambassador to Kazakhstan George Krol, has been announced as Commissioner of the USA Pavilion. Astana organizers state that 90% of site construction is completed and some countires are already in their spaces starting to install their exhibits.

Read more in InPark Magazine

Dubai Expo 2020 forecasts a unique attendance model for a world’s fair

Dubai Expo 2020 organizers project their six-month world’s fair will be visited 25 million times between opening day on 20 October 2020, and closing day on 10 April 2021. Dubai’s 25M figure is in line with visitation at comparable past expos (Milan 2015 visitation was 21M). But its attendance model is unique – because it forecasts that 70% of those visits will come from outside the UAE. That would constitute the largest proportion of international visitors in Expo history.

Read more on InPark Magazine

MILAN’S ANCIENT TRADE ROUTE WELCOMES WORLDS FAIR

CNN VIDEO (CLICK HERE TO VIEW) FOLLOWS THE SILK ROAD AND GIVES A GLIMPSE OF SOME OF THE MILAN EXPO HIGHLIGHTS.

The Silk Road finishes a long journey in Milan, where the Worlds Fair gathers to showcase modern products from every corner of the world.

WORLD’S FAIRS TODAY: A VISIT TO MILAN, LESSONS FOR DUBAI / FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL

The world’s fair has evolved from an industrial exposition into the Olympics of public diplomacy, and the United States should be there.

Matthew Asada, Foreign Services Journal

Read the article HERE

STATE MAGAZINE: FOOD FOR THOUGHT

The U.S. Department of State’s December magazine includes a write up on the U.S. pavilion at Expo Milan 2015. It shares that the U.S. pavilion was one of the year’s greatest public diplomacy opportunities in Europe and drew six million of the Expo’s 21 million visitors.

The theme of Expo Milan was “Feeding the Plant, Energy for Life” with the U.S. pavilion theme “American Food 2.0: United to Feed the Planet.”

It states: “As the Expo’s dust settles, those involved with (U.S. pavilion) can take satisfaction in its role in the global conversation about how to feed 9 billion people by 2050. Active U.S. participation at this world’s fair reminded the world that the U.S. is a leading force in overcoming this challenge…In the end there was no doubt:
Our participation was essential.”

Read the entire PDF State Magazine: Food for Thought

REPOST OF WALL STREET JOURNAL ARTICLE: THE U.S. CAN’T HOST A WORLD EXPO, AND FANS SAY THAT’S NO FAIR

The Wall Street Journal published an article on February 19, 2009 titled The U.S. Can’t Host a World Expo, and Fans Say That’s No Fair. Fast forward almost seven years and much of this article is still timely and relevant.

THE U.S. CAN’T HOST A WORLD EXPO, AND FANS SAY THAT’S NO FAIR

The Last One Was in ’84, but Few Remember; ‘Do They Still Have Those?’

By Daniel Michaels, Feb. 19, 2009

For the 1889 Universal Exposition in Paris, France produced an engineering marvel, the Eiffel Tower. Not to be outdone, America shot back with Chicago’s 1893 Columbian Exposition and the debut of the Ferris wheel. Attendance at the world’s fair topped one-third of the U.S. population.

Less than a century later, sparse crowds drove the 1984 New Orleans World’s Fair into bankruptcy. The stature of expos in the U.S. plunged so low that in 2001 Washington essentially pulled out of the expo race by quitting its membership in the world organizing body.

That’s not stopping Manuel Delgado from trying to organize a new one on U.S. shores. A marketing executive and Boy Scouts volunteer in Houston, he says hosting one of the international get-togethers would do wonders for America’s image abroad.

“Let’s face it, the whole world wants to bombard us with shoes,” he says, referring to the Iraqi reporter who hurled a shoe at President George W. Bush in Baghdad last year.

Mr. Delgado isn’t alone. A group in Las Vegas is drafting plans for a U.S. expo with the theme “The Future of My Future,” which will showcase innovations in vaccines and energy production. In San Francisco, graphic designer and expo historian Urso Chappell has been agitating for several years to stage a follow-up to the city’s 1915 fair, where visitors could float down a five-acre model of the new Panama Canal. So far, Mr. Chappell says he’s made little headway.

“All roads to a world’s fair in the U.S. are uphill,” says Mr. Delgado.

For starters, to host an officially sanctioned fair, a country must belong to the Paris-based Bureau International des Expositions, or BIE. But the U.S. government left the 154-nation treaty organization, and rejoining would require federal legislation. An unauthorized expo could face a global boycott, as happened four decades ago in New York.

Act of Congress

Expo fans say the U.S. could win credibility as a host candidate if it has a national pavilion at the next big fair, opening in Shanghai on May 1, 2010. The catch: To cut spending, Congress a decade ago forbade federal funding of a pavilion.

To get around that, the State Department in 2007 requested proposals for a privately financed pavilion. Last April, the department picked a team led by theme-park developer Nick Winslow and Ellen Eliasoph, an American lawyer in China. The two have been racing to coax sponsorships from dozens of big American companies, whom they decline to name. They’ve also been honing plans for a $60 million, 60,000 square-foot pavilion complete with a roof garden and 3-D multimedia theater featuring wind, mist and a rumbling floor. The pair have until April 15 to line up the funding.

A State Department spokeswoman says the U.S. wants to participate in Shanghai if possible, but can’t use taxpayer money. Mr. Delgado says having the pavilion in Shanghai is “critical” for his own project.

Another obstacle that expo boosters face in the U.S. is apathy. Las Vegas organizer Mark Fries says the universal reaction to suggestion of a new expo is: “Wow, do they still have those?”

The first world’s fair took place in London in 1851, and was later copied by Paris, Vienna and Melbourne, Australia. The expos attracted millions of visitors and offered countries a chance to flaunt their wealth and sophistication by displaying inventions, art and architecture.

Early U.S. expos introduced the world to the telephone, the zipper and electric lights, plus food and drinks including ice-cream cones, Dr Pepper and shredded wheat. New York’s “World of Tomorrow” expo in 1939 featured General Motors Corp.’s “Futurama,” a sprawling diorama imagining the America of 1960 with automated cars cruising down multilevel highways.

So many countries were eventually hosting world’s fairs that in 1928, governments signed a treaty establishing the BIE, which oversees competitions for one big expo every 10 years and more frequent small ones.

With the rise of television, jet travel and satellite communications, fairs’ magnetism as must-see windows on the future has waned. Theme parks and commercial spectacles such as auto shows, meanwhile, sapped expos’ ability to thrill. Fairs have scrambled for relevance by focusing on big ideas like energy and ecology. Expo 2000 in Hanover, Germany, for example, carried the theme “Man-Nature-Technology.” Japan built a pavilion from paper tubes that later got recycled.

In Houston, Mr. Delgado and his team of about a dozen people believe they know how to get people juiced for an expo in 2020. “We want really bizarre looking buildings,” says the 39-year-old native of Venezuela, who moved to Houston in 1997. He says his epiphany about organizing an expo came from fond memories of working at the 1992 “Age of Discovery” Expo in Seville, Spain, and meeting people from around the world. America’s expo amnesia has surprised him.

The Houston team is lobbying local politicians, whom they want in turn to press Washington for support. Mr. Delgado is also consulting local universities on urban-impact studies and investigating ways to tout Houston at the Shanghai expo.

“It’s a very fine line between being considered a visionary and a wacko,” says Mr. Delgado.

In Las Vegas, the 56-year-old Mr. Fries has spent four years sketching out a six-month expo, which he figures could cost $3 billion to stage inside the city’s vast convention center (that would avoid the issue of sweltering desert heat, says Mr. Fries). He says he’s not seeking support from casinos to ensure the idea isn’t dismissed as simply a gaming expo. And since Las Vegas itself already feels somewhat like a world’s fair, he adds, the expo would focus on “the individual,” not glitz.

Mr. Fries is also calling for the U.S. to rejoin the BIE, fearing a repeat of New York’s battle in 1964. That year, the bureau’s limits on expo duration and financing irked state development czar Robert Moses. After meeting BIE officials in Paris, he ridiculed them as “three people living obscurely in a dumpy apartment,” according to a biography of Mr. Moses. The BIE shot back by urging member-nations to shun the two-year event. Most did.

Washington finally joined the BIE in 1968, when San Antonio hosted the HemisFair, which celebrated the Americas. The 1982 fair in Knoxville, Tenn., boasted the world’s biggest Rubik’s Cube, but sparked little enthusiasm with its theme of “Energy Turns the World.” The 1984 New Orleans fair, where attendees could enter a 40-foot-high model of a pulsating human heart, needed an infusion of government cash to survive.

In 1995, a libertarian Washington think tank attacked America’s annual BIE dues of $25,000 as “pork-barrel spending.” Congress soon stopped paying. The U.S. skipped Germany’s 2000 expo, but made an appearance five years later at Japan’s Expo, with corporate sponsorships funding a pavilion. A talking life-size model of Benjamin Franklin greeted guests, and an eco-friendly concept car was displayed to illustrate the theme, “Nature’s Wisdom.”

Plans in Shanghai

Shanghai 2010 planners have reserved space for a U.S. pavilion. Chinese officials expect 70 million visitors, which would make it the biggest expo ever. BIE Secretary General Vicente Loscertales, who believes his agency was “collateral damage” of U.S. unilateralism a decade ago, now hopes President Barack Obama’s administration will find room for expos.

“Life is more than war and money,” he said on a recent visit to Paris’s Grand Palais, an ornate exhibition hall built for the 1900 expo.

Back in Houston, Mr. Delgado acknowledges his looming challenges by noting that Americans sometimes say a tough task “needs an act of Congress” to get done. He adds: “This is the first time I’ve done anything that actually requires one.”

LINK to original article.

POLITICAL NOTEBOOK: SIMMONS ON BOARD TO BRING FAIR TO MINNESOTA / POST BULLETIN

A well-known Rochester leader is among those seeking to bring the World’s Fair to Minnesota in 2023.

Retired Mayo Clinic physician and University of Minnesota Regent Patricia Simmons traveled to Milan, Italy, this month to see the 2015 World’s Fair up close. Simmons is on the advisory board for Expo 2023 — a nonprofit organization leading efforts to bring the fair to Minnesota.

The theme of the proposed 2023 World’s Fair in Minnesota would be health and wellness. Simmons said when she was first approached about helping with the World’s Fair effort, she was somewhat skeptical. But as she thought more about it, she realized the state is already slated to host the Super Bowl in 2018 and the Final Four in 2019.

“This has gotten some real traction among business leaders, community leaders and government leaders in Minnesota, so as the support has grown, as people have learned more about what it could be, what it could accomplish for our state, I agreed it was worth pursuing,” Simmons said.

It turns out that Rochester and Mayo Clinic could end up playing key roles in attempts to win the World’s Fair bid.

Expo 2023 Executive Director Mark Ritchie said the organization plans to submit a bid for the 2023 World’s Fair on May 15. As part of the bidding process, a delegation from the Bureau of International Expositions would visit Minnesota to inspect the plans — possibly as early as mid-November. Ritchie said he has met with Mayo Clinic President and CEO Dr. John Noseworthy about the possibility of the clinic hosting an international symposium during the visit. The symposium would focus on why Minnesota is the perfect place to host a World’s Fair focused on health and wellness.

“Not everyone on the planet has heard about Minnesota. They might have heard about Mayo Clinic,” Ritchie said.

The 2023 World’s Fair would span three months in the summer and bring an estimated 10 to 15 million visitors to the state. It would also generate an estimated 4 billion in tourism spending.

Ritchie said his organization is considering several possible 62-acre sites for the event in the Twin Cities. At this point, Richie said his organization does not plan to ask for public dollars for the event.

Even though the event will be in the Twin Cities-metro, he said the goal is to make sure that visitors are encouraged to visit other parts of the state as well — including Rochester.

“There is so much more to Minnesota that we want people to know about, to go visit,” Ritchie said.

Simmons said Expo 2023 would help show the world that Minnesota is a global leader when it comes to health care.

She added, “This provides us a stage to show what Minnesota is to the nation and the world. I think it provides a tremendous opportunity for Rochester because Rochester is the home of Minnesota’s most famous entity — the Mayo Clinic.”

Heather J. Carlson, Post Bulletin | November 2, 2015 – 6:48 am

Read article HERE