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"A Grand Gathering of World Cultures"

A reception unveiling the photo exhibition on the Shanghai World Expo 2010 was held in the Palais des Nations on 26th April. Mr. He Yafei, Permanent Representative of the People's Republic of China to the United Nations Office at Geneva and other international organizations in Switzerland, Mr. Sergei Ordzhonikidze, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, Mr. George Deikun, UN-Habitat senior adviser, made opening statements at the reception.  

About 500 participants including Mr. Wang Qun, Chinese Ambassador, Mr. Juan Somavia, Director-General of the International Labour Organization, Mr. Micheal Jarraud, Secretary General of World Meteorological Organization, Dr. Hamadoun I. TourĂ©, Secretary-General of ITU, Mr. William Lacy Swing, Director-General of the International Orgnization for Migration,  Ms. Wang Binying, Deputy Director-General of the WIPO, Mr. Martin Khor, Executive Director of South Centre , permanent representatives and Ambassadors from diplomatic missions, officials from Canton of Geneva and local people were presented at the reception.  


                 (Ambassador He Yafei make a statement)                                                            (scene of the reception)

In his opening statement, Ambassador He Yafei first expressed, on behalf of the Chinese government, sincere gratitude to the international community for their condolence, sympathy and support in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in Qinghai Province of China. He said, over the last two weeks, the Chinese Government and people had made all-out efforts in disaster relief. Chinese President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiao had rushed to the quake-hit region to inspect relief work and visited affected local people. We are confident that, with the joint efforts of the Chinese people and support from the international community, people in quake-hit region will overcome the disaster and rebuild their homelands. 

Ambassador He said, the Shanghai Expo is an unprecedented grand gathering of human civilizations with many new records in the Expo history: 192 countries and 50 international organizations will take part; in addition to the opening and closing ceremonies as well as the Summit Forum, there are 189 National Pavilion Days and 39 International Organization Days; 20,000 cultural performances will be held, averaging 100 per day; over 70 million visitors are expected, of which 3.5 million are from abroad; leaders from more than 100 countries will participate. 


                   (Ambassador He Yafei and Mr. Ordzhonikidze)                                               (Ambassador He Yafei and Dr. Hamadoun I. TourĂ©

Ambassador He said, with the theme of "Better City, Better Life", the Shanghai Expo will also be a great event for promoting green development. There will be dozens of forums featuring on low-carbon economy, green growth, new energy and new technology. The Shanghai Expo will provide creative ideas and solutions for building green cities and promoting green development in 21st century. 


        (Ambassador He Yafei and Ms. Betty King, PR of U.S.A.)         (Ambassador He Yafei and Mr. Loshchinin, PR of Russian Federation)         

Ambassador He emphasized that the Shanghai Expo will offer a wonderful opportunity for China to enhance mutual understanding with the world and vice versa. Over the past 30 years of reform and opening up, China has made remarkable achievements in economic and social development. However, China remains the world's largest developing country with a huge population, a weak economic foundation, unbalanced development. Last month, the Chinese Central Government committed in its Report of Government Work to do everything to ensure that the Chinese people live a happier life with more dignity. To that end, the Chinese Government will continue to carry out people-oriented scientific development and strive to build a socialist harmonious society. Hosting the Expo 2010 provides us with an important opportunity to participate in the dialogue among world civilizations, and learn from others. As Premier Wen Jiabao said, it is our hope, by hosting the Shanghai Expo, that the world will know China better and China will know the world better, so as to enhancing the friendship and cooperation between China and the world. 

Ambassador He finally welcomed friends of all countries to the beautiful Shanghai to participate in this grand event to witness a successful, splendid and unforgettable World Expo. 


 (Mr. Ordzhonikidze make a statement)

Mr. Ordzhonikidze said that the Shanghai World Expo 2010 will celebrate our common humanity and UN is privileged to host this preview of such a remarkable gathering of the cultures of our world. The Shanghai World Expo will be the largest in history and the first-ever held in a developing country. Under the theme of "Better City, Better Life", it highlights our collective urbanization challenge. The particular experience of Shanghai, as a mega-metropolitan city, in handling the consequences of rapid urbanization provides valuable examples and lessons in this regard. The spirit of innovation and scientific advance is indispensable for us to realize the Millennium Development Goals and to confront climate change that are among some of our most urgent challenges. We need to integrate our cities fully, as engines of green economic growth, in confronting these challenges. The United Nations will be an integral part of the World Expo with its "One Earth, One UN" Pavilion.  

 (Mr. Deikun make a statement)

Mr. Deikun first reiterated the heartfelt condolences of all in the international community in Geneva for the tremendous loss of life and damages in the aftermath of the catastrophic earthquake in Qinghai Province of China, and applauded the heroic efforts of the Chinese people and support from the international community in assisting residents of the quake-stricken region to rebuild their homes, communities and lives. He said, the World Expo in Shanghai which will open in few days with the theme "Better Cities, Better Life" will provide a unique opportunity to show case the wide ranging efforts of the UN system in seeking answers to the challenges of urbanization, climate change, growth and economic development and social inclusion for all. With the theme "One Earth, One UN", the pavilion of United Nations will highlight the UN vision of the future for a better life. 


                      (Ambassador He Yafei receives interview)                                                       (Mr. Ordzhonikidze receives interview)

The participants went through the exhibition with great interests, many of them fascinated by the diversity and beauty of the Expo pavilions. Ambassador He and heads of some international organizations received interviews with the Chinese and local media. They expressed their expectations on and good wished for the Shanghai Expo. 


 (Mr. Juan Somavia and Haibao, Shanghai Expo mascot)

The exhibition is jointly sponsored by Chinese Mission to UN at Geneva, UN office at Geneva, UN Commissioner Office for Expo 2010, UN-Habitat and will last until 7th May. Under the title of "A Grand Gathering of World Cultures", it is composed of pictures featuring the general content of Shanghai Expo, the UN pavilion, as well as the national pavilions of countries around the world.
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