Frank Lavin, Chairman of the Steering Committee, USA Pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo (CHEN WEN)
The Shanghai World Expo is not only a display of China's strength, but also "the greatest people-to-people public diplomacy event" for the United States in American history, says a former U.S. diplomat.
The event strengthens friendly ties of the United States with China and other nations, said Frank Lavin, Chairman of the Steering Committee, USA Pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo at an evening event organized by Asia Society in New York on August 26.
Lavin is now Chairman of the Public Affairs Practice for Edelman Asia Pacific. He served as Under Secretary for International Trade at the U.S. Department of Commerce from 2005-2007 and U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Singapore from 2001-2005.
Lavin provided an insider's view on the facts and figures of the six-month world fair that has, by August 14, the 106th day since it was opened to the public on May 1, attracted 40 million visitors.
Lavin said the total number of visitors to the Expo is estimated to be 70 million, of which 7 million were expected to visit the U.S. pavilion. By comparison, about 640,000 Chinese are to visit the United States this year, around one 10th of the number of fairgoers, said Lavin.
For the visitors to the U.S. Pavilion at the expo who have never been to the United States, their direct impression of the country comes from what they experience in the pavilion, said Lavin. So the Expo provided a platform for the U.S. to communicate its values to guests and "promote themes such as civic society, optimism, diversity and innovation," said Lavin.
(Reporting from New York)