US Must Act Rapidly to Ensure Participation in China's 2010 World Expo or Risk Major Diplomatic Blunder, Says Consortium

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Without immediate and decisive action on the part of American industry leaders, the United States of America will be glaringly absent from the first world's fair to be hosted by China - Shanghai Expo 2010, which opens May 1, 2010 and runs for six months. The BH&L Group, led by veteran world expo pavilion designers Barry Howard and Leonard Levitan, is lobbying to prevent this potential diplomatic blunder and has a viable design and plan in place for a US Pavlion at Shanghai. Private-sector funding and leadership are being sought.

First, we need a private sector champion…a

A message from the BH&L Group concerning US participation at Shanghai Expo 2010: "Beginning on May 1, 2010, and continuing for six months, the nations of the world will gather in Shanghai to participate in what is forecast to be the largest, most heavily attended Worlds Fair in history. Incredibly, without immediate and decisive action on the part of American industry leaders the United States of America will be glaringly absent from this global celebration. The result will be an insult to the Chinese government, global humiliation for the American people, and a serious blow to the sale of US products and services in the vast Chinese market. The repercussions could reverberate for decades."

"The time frame for developing and implementing an effective US presence is rapidly shrinking, but through close collaboration between corporate visionaries and experienced exposition professionals it is still possible to transform tragedy into triumph."

Private Sector Leadership and Funding Sought
"First, we need a private sector champion…a "CEO" with a love of country, the imagination to collaborate in a cutting-edge creative adventure, and the courage to underwrite the initial costs of generating the visual presentation materials necessary to illustrate our current vision. Some of this work has already been undertaken; the rest must be completed on or about January 1, 2009."

"Our founding champion will Chair our Advisory Committee, chart the course of the sponsorship drive and become the private sector "Commissioner General" for the duration of the Exposition."

"Second, with a fully articulated plan in hand, we will secure Congressional support and White House designation as the official United States Pavilion."

"Third, we will aggressively seek sponsorship from US corporations, foundations, prominent philanthropists, and the American People to fund the design, construction, and operation of the Pavilion. Sponsors will be afforded extensive exposure within the Pavilion, in all Pavilion publications, external marketing and on-site programs and events. Special "days" will be scheduled during the life of the Expo recognizing each participating sponsor They will also appear among the official list of Expo participants and within our virtual pavilion website."

The US Pavilion will be a 501(c) 3 tax-exempt entity.

The BH&L Group is a consortium of World Exposition experts, designers, technologists, and China specialists under the leadership of Barry Howard and Leonard Levitan, for more than four decades the creators of myriad national and industrial pavilions at world expositions. "Our core team is supported by a highly credentialed, 45-member Advisory Board, assembled by Dr. Robert Jacobson, our current Project Coordinator. The US State Department deemed us "the only potentially acceptable respondent" to its November, 2006 US Pavilion RFP, which ultimately lapsed without consummation due to agency inaction."

Educational and Business Mission of the Pavilion
"The Shanghai Expo's theme is "Better City, Better Life." It is our intention to demonstrate that the American ideal of social inclusiveness in combination with the application of innovative environmental and communication technologies in a free market economy is the foundation for sustainable communities that make possible the dreams and aspirations of human societies everywhere. To that end, our tools will include interactive and immersive systems, virtual and real-time activities, digital interface, live performance, and other experiential media."

In addition to the public presentations and programs accessible to all visitors, private sections of the Pavilion will facilitate the conduct of business and the VIP treatment of government officials, visiting dignitaries, corporate executives and their clients. We will staff the Pavilion with bilingual Chinese-American personnel and promote US products, services, and culture in all public and private spaces.

Additionally, in conjunction with our Chinese hosts, we will offer, via the Internet, global access to a Virtual US National Pavilion with its own features: interactive adventures, online participatory predictive services, and opportunities to meet with people around the world with similar interests. The Virtual US National Pavilion will showcase America's technological acumen to billions of visitors.

A Situation That Has Become Critical
"First, legislation enacted by Congress in 1990-1991, coauthored by Rep. Neil Smith, (D-Iowa) and Sen. Ernest Hollings, (D-South Carolina) forbade the use of public funds for US participation in Expos. The legislation stated that funding such events were not in the best interest of the American taxpayer. From that point forward, including an embarrassing withdrawal from the Millennium Exposition in Hanover in 2000, the US has been largely absent from the Expo world stage, and except for a few years in the last century, has not been a member of the Bureau for International Expositions (BIE), the international treaty organization that oversees Expos and to which every other nation belongs."

"Second, more than two years were lost by the State Department in the course of pursuing a repeatedly failed strategy in attempting to generate support for US participation in Shanghai."

"When must we begin? Now!"

The core members of the BH&L Group are Barry Howard, Leonard Levitan, Robert Jacobson, Ph.D., Urban Planning (UCLA), Paul Creighton, CEM, Clive Jones, MBA (UC Berkeley), and Gordon Linden, AIA, AICP, MBA (Golden Gate University). Profiles of the team members and a list of Advisory Board members are available.

Links for additional information:, BH&L story, Urso Chappell's Expo Museum, The Expo Book.


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Robert Jacobson, Ph.D.

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