ASTANA – Visiting more than a hundred countries in one day is now possible thanks to world expositions such as the one happening this year in the Kazakh capital. The long-awaited EXPO 2017 kicked off June 10 with numerous pavilions open for public view.
For the 25-year-old country, the exhibition has become the most important event in its history. Kazakhstan has had the experience of hosting large-scale events like the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) summit in 2010 and the Asian Winter Games in 2011, but the expo supersedes all the others by its magnitude.
Right after hosting the 17th Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev greeted his guests June 9 – 17 heads of state and government who arrived for the show. They witnessed the dazzling opening celebration, concert and fireworks that went late into the night.
The fair officially opened to the public the next morning with a contrast of African jazz, Russian stilt walkers and Asian dancers just to name a few – all nearly at the same time and leaving little chance for one person to cover everything.
The Kazakh pavilion, represented by an eight-storey sphere, is certainly the main attraction and The Astana Times recommends starting one’s tour there. The pavilion tells the story of the young country, including its ancient history through unique art installations, and enigmatic 3D shows and video clips unveiling future energy.
After the Kazakh pavilion, it’s a personal preference where to visit next. It’s nearly impossible to finish the tour in one day; we suggest buying an unlimited ticket (tickets can be purchased via the official website tickets.expo2017astana.com) and spending at least a few days. Make sure to wear sneakers or other comfortable shoes to walk the distance.
Each pavilion offers a unique concept about future energy, an idea each country interprets in a different way. For instance, the U.S. pavilion sees it as the source of infinite energy that’s within all of us.
“It’s imagination, innovation; it’s invention that has driven America and that drives other countries that we see here gathered in Astana for EXPO 2017,” pavilion director of communications Anthony DeAngelo told the paper.
“We are focused on the power that lies within all of us as individuals, as nations, to power the future. We are also focused on our student-ambassadors,” he added.
Nearly 40 undergraduate and graduate students from 33 American universities are in the capital for the event. They all speak either Russian or Kazakh and have a deep affection for this part of the world, he said.
“They have come for three months for the expo not only to meet the Kazakhs, but also to give them and the people around the world an opportunity to really meet the future of America and that source of infinite energy that is going to power the future energy,” added DeAngelo.
The Russian pavilion, focusing on the Arctic, nuclear power and renewable energy sources, features a real iceberg brought from the Arctic.
“This iceberg is over four metres in height,” said Russian pavilion guide Aigul. “This is only a small fragment transported in a container and it was broken off by a Russian icebreaker ship. With the help of such icebreakers like the Russian Leader that will be finished in 2025, Russians want to research the Arctic.”
The South Korean pavilion boasts the longest lines, as the average visit takes about half an hour. It features the concept “Energy of the future. Smart life.”
The Japanese pavilion, the biggest in size, is named Smart mix technology and focuses on research to develop areas of future energy.
“Among our favourite pavilions was the Israeli pavilion,” said Russian IT technologist Sergei Andreichenko. “It was a spectacular show, very artistic and beautiful. We also enjoyed the Egyptian pyramid and the Thai pavilion. But I think everyone will find something for him or herself.”
Small food kiosks are located in front of each pavilion and there are restaurants on the expo grounds, although some are still under construction. A first-floor international bar and second-floor food court are open near the exit from the Kazakh pavilion.
The more than 1,500 volunteers at the site every day, most of whom speak English to accommodate foreign guests, will make sure no one gets lost.
Each pavilion offers its own solutions for future energy and is worth checking out. In addition, every week organisers are offering various concerts, shows and entertainment. For more information, visit the official website www.expo2017astana.com.
Expo 2017 Astana was an International Exposition which took place from June 10 to September 10, 2017 in Astana, Kazakhstan. The expo's theme was "Future Energy", and aimed to create a global debate between countries, nongovernmental organizations, companies and the general public on the crucial question: "How do we ensure safe and sustainable access to energy for all while reducing CO2 emissions?"
The theme chosen for the Expo 2017 was "Future Energy". The theme was aimed to concentrate on the future of energy, and on innovative and practical energy solutions and their impacts.
The Expo 2017's subtitle was "Solutions for Tackling Humankind’s Greatest Challenge." Therefore, the Expo showcased future energy solutions tackling social, economic and environmental challenges.
On November 22, 2012, Astana was chosen by the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) as the venue to host Expo 2017. It will be the first time that a major international exhibition of this kind is coming to a country from the former Soviet Union. More than 100 countries and 10 international organizations were expected to participate. Around 2-3 million people were expected to visit the international pavilions from June to September 2017.
25 hectares (62 acres) was planned for the pavilions of Expo 2017. The site has a convenient access to Astana's city center, the international airport and the railway station. The Expo Site is also linked with a network of Kazakhstan's inter-city roads to ensure a quick access from all the country. Construction of the pavilions will begin April 2014[needs update] with 20 companies from Kazakhstan and 49 companies from around the globe.
Designs were considered for the grounds of Expo 2017 from architects in the UK, USA, Germany, Austria, Netherlands and China. But the lead design contract was awarded to Chicago-based Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture.
On April 24, 2014, the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev took part in a capsule-laying ceremony of the Astana Expo 2017 Exhibition Center construction in Astana, which will be located near the Nazarbayev University.
Astana submitted its registration bid to the BIE in December 2013, as planned.
On June 13, 2015, the Chief Executive Officer of Astana Expo 2017 organization committee, Talgat Yermegiyaev, was indicted for corruption. The new CEO is Astana mayor Adilbek Zhaksybekov.
Kazakhstan's largest airline, Air Astana, was named the "Official Air Carrier of Expo 2017”.
In preparation for the Expo 2017 the administration of Astana launched several "smart city" projects. The projects imply introduction of digital technologies in such areas as payment, education and healthcare.
The Energy Best Practices Area (eBPA) Pavilion at Expo 2017 showcased the 17 best energy-generating projects. These projects were selected from 136 submitted from more than 25 countries. Exhibition Expo 2017 would help develop intensively and contribute to Kazakhstan entry into the top 30 developed countries of the world. We can be certain that electricity consumption will increase worldwide. We need energy to light and heat our homes, to cook our food, to drive transport and provide power plant with energy and nowadays due to technological advances, we have so many gadgets to charge. That is why without energy all this would be impossible on the scale needed. The issue of resources of energy has become a concrete topic of modernity. As it is known, oil and coal are limited (not infinite). However, by the help of this fossil fuels we made the major routine things for life and it is hard to realize that we should halt that process of obtaining energy in this way. For the reason that, digging it intensively can harm core of Earth, which can cause climate change. Hence, only alternative sources of energy which can meet the energy requirements of the future. Without energy, humanity will be extinct. Day by day the population on Earth is going up significantly and people’s demand on energy consumption is rising accordingly. Despite the world society, recognize the necessity and merits of using renewable energy sources, alternative energy still be contingent on the economy of the countries and their policies towards this matter. Even our country is rich in mineral resources and fossil fuels we still depend on unpredictable actions in geopolitics and prices of oil. To make it more predictable and convenient, the proposal of replacing natural sources by renewables since they do not pollute an environment and are endless is considered by government. Therefore in 2017 Kazakhstan is organizing exhibition “EXPO-2017”.
Over 100 companies, including Zaha Hadid Architects, UNStudio, Snøhetta, HOK, and Coop Himmelb(l)au, participated in a competition to design the grounds of Expo 2017. Chicago firm Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture (AS+GG) won the competition for the design idea. The main project, according to the design was realised by Swiss company IT-Engineering
Several national and international construction companies were awarded contracts to build the grounds. The main contractor Mabetex Group, and Sembol, CC Bazis-A LLC, ABK Kurylys-1 LLC, Turquaz-YDA Stroy LLC, Sredazenergostry LLC have completed the construction part. The financing of project is done by the Kazakhstan Government and some private investor like Plast Invest Production LLP, Sonik Company LLP, PolimerMetal-T LLP and Alyugal LLP..
The number of countries that confirmed their participation in Expo 2017 by September 2016 reached 101, which is higher than anticipated.
U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz and Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Nisha Biswal announced in November 2016 at the Embassy of Kazakhstan in Washington, D.C. that APCO Worldwide, a global communications consultancy, was selected as the chief organizing partner for the U.S. Pavilion at EXPO 2017. The USA Pavilion in Astana will be organized and operated by a U.S. private-sector company. However, traditionally it is managed solely by the U.S. Department of State. The official theme of the USA Pavilion is “The Source of Infinite Energy”. The USA Pavilion worked to inspire the next generation of ambassadors.
115 states and 22 international organizations confirmed their participation in EXPO 2017 in Astana. This turnout exceeded the organizing company's expectations of 100 countries and 10 international organizations. Since June 10 through September 9, the EXPO-2017 International Specialized Exhibition was visited by over 3,86 million people. The average daily attendance amounted to 22,840 visits.
The countries who participated in Expo 2017 were:
Multinational corporations who sponsored Expo 2017, were Samsung, Cisco Systems, and Shell. Kazakh sponsors include NCOC, Air Astana, JSC Kazkommertsbank, JSC Samruk Energy, and JSC Kazpochta.
Expo 2017 attracted €125 million in sponsorships from large international companies. The sponsors of Expo 2017 included Samsung, Shell, Chevron and others.
APCO Worldwide won the bid to manage the USA Pavilion that was spirited with the theme "Infinite Energy".
Astana Expo 2017 and UN World Tourism Organization signed a memorandum of cooperation. The memorandum envisions organizing a joint conference on “Tourism and the Energy of the Future” in late June during the exposition. International organizations that confirmed their participation in Expo 2017 also include the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), an intergovernmental organization headquartered in Abu Dhabi.
Ambassador for Expo 2017
In March 2016, unified middleweight World Champion Gennady Golovkin became an official Ambassador for Astana Expo 2017. Gennady Golovkin is originally from Karaganda, Kazakhstan.
The Expo 2017 grounds and pavilion space have been converted into commercial space for corporate, startups, education and research entities. The anchor tenant of the converted Expo grounds is the Astana International Financial Centre. The AIFC governor has suggested the facilities could be home to blockchain and concurrency technology companies and startups.
On 1 July 2010, during the 147th session of the General Assembly of the BIE, held in Paris, Kazakhstan announced its intention to participate in the bidding process to host the International Specialized Exhibition at Astana in 2017, hence giving cities with counter-bids six months to respond. One other candidate city applied:Liège in Belgium. The winning candidate was selected by the BIE on 22 November 2012 in Paris.
The following cities bid to host Expo 2017: