As we begin the second half of Expo, I am reminded of the incredible accomplishments we have achieved in the first three months. The USA Pavilion has welcomed more than 4 million visitors to the USA Pavilion, averaging 42,000 people per day. Additionally, we have hosted senior Chinese officials from every province in China.
In August, our first group of Student Ambassadors departed and a second group arrived. I would like to recognize the outgoing Student Ambassadors for their exceptional hard work and commitment to the USA Pavilion – they are an essential part of our public diplomacy effort at Expo 2010 Shanghai. Totaling 160 students for the duration of Expo, these are Mandarin-speaking, college students drawn from across the U.S. who are the face our pavilion and our goodwill ambassadors.
In the beginning of August, I had the distinct pleasure of welcoming a delegation from Houston, Texas headed by Mayor Annise Parker. On the eve of “Houston Day” we took a cruise of the Huangpu River with Houston’s goodwill ambassador to China, Yao Ming. The following day, we celebrated “Houston Day” at the USA Pavilion with a special ceremony in our 1776 GE Imagination Theatre with representatives from the Greater Houston Partnership and Chinese government officials.
We also hosted Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Arturo Valenzuela, for a day at Expo. In addition to touring the USA Pavilion, Assistant Secretary Valenzuela visited North American and South American pavilions and met with various Commissioner Generals and Consul Generals from South America.
We have hosted great cultural performance including INK, a dance performance mixing American and Chinese artists, and Indy Rock group PaperDoll. We look forward to events and activities which will share American culture, values, and ideals. This includes performances by American R&B; singer Otis Clay and other programs encouraging cultural exchanges between the U.S. and China.
The USA Pavilion also plans to support Expo’s theme “Better City, Better Life” by launching a series of carbon offset projects in China this month to fulfill our commitment of the USA Pavilion being carbon neutral for the duration of Expo.
I look forward to keeping you updated on more exciting events taking place here at the USA Pavilion.
Ambassador José H. Villarreal
United States Commissioner General