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Secretary Clinton at the U.S. Pavilion at the World Expo Shanghai *updated*

May 22, 2010

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From the NY Times:

By all accounts, the United States would have been a no-show at the Shanghai Expo had Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton not opened her Rolodex and raised about $60 million in private cash to finance a pavilion here. So it seemed fair that Mrs. Clinton got a rousing cheer from a group of Chinese children when she visited the building on Saturday.


With its gunmetal-gray walls and convention-center aesthetics, the pavilion hardly stands out in a fairground studded by beguiling structures like Britain’s Seed Cathedral, a cube with 60,000 sprouting transparent rods that make it look like a dandelion ready to be scattered to the winds.

Still, the American organizers say the pavilion has drawn long lines and 700,000 visitors since the Expo opened May 1, which attests either to the enduring attraction of the United States or the wisdom of Woody Allen’s observation that 80 percent of success is showing up.

For Mrs. Clinton, scratching together the money for the project was a simple matter of avoiding a diplomatic snub. The Chinese government spent $45 billion buffing up this glamorous but gritty metropolis to play host to a world’s fair, and it is treating the six-month-long event with almost the same importance it attached to the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

America’s participation was in jeopardy because Congress restricts the spending of public money on world’s fairs, and under the Bush administration, the project had virtually no private financing. On Mrs. Clinton’s first visit as secretary of state last year, Chinese officials implored her to do something.

“It’s like a coming-out party for countries and cities,” Mrs. Clinton said, referring to world’s fairs of the last century in Chicago and St. Louis. “There’s a real historical significance to this.”

To avoid violating federal rules, Mrs. Clinton assigned most of the one-on-one fund-raising to two longtime Clinton fund-raisers: Elizabeth F. Bagley and Jose H. Villarreal, both of whom were on hand.

As she walked in this morning, Mrs. Clinton greeted Indra K. Nooyi, the chief executive of PepsiCo, and senior executives from Chevron, Johnson & Johnson, and General Electric, each of which kicked in $5 million. She met major sponsors again at a dinner on Saturday night.

Mrs. Clinton also toured China’s pavilion, a monumental deep-red building with a traditional Chinese inverted roof. “It would have to be very big to fit all the provinces of China in it,” she told Shanghai’s mayor, Han Zheng, who thanked her for making sure the United States had a presence.

Nearly 200 countries are represented at the Expo, which stretches along both banks of the Huangpu River. Two countries branded as rogue nations, Iran and North Korea, are conveniently located next to each other…

Here’s a website which has photos of some of the pavilions. I have included some photos below too.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during a dinner at the USA Pavilion at the World Expo site in Shanghai May 22, 2010.

British Seed Cathedral- each plastic tube contains a different seed

close up of the seed cathedral

seeds in the plastic tubes of the seed cathedral

The Chinese pavilion

Korean Water Cube (it's filled with water so when you're inside you feel like you are in the ocean)

Seed Cathedral.

Seed Cathedral

Seeds in the Seed Cathedral. Wicked Cool!

USA Pavilion

This is an ACTUAL road in Shanghai close to the Expo

Expo security. No, I'm not kidding

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Moshe Aaron permalink
    May 22, 2010 4:45 pm

    Cool photos. Unfortunately I heard that after the Expo they are just going to demolish all the pavilions. Can you imagine?

  2. HillaryFan permalink
    May 22, 2010 4:49 pm

    Amazing photos Stacy, thank you!

    That seed cathedral is very cool. At first when I saw the photos a few weeks ago I thought it was really weird looking but now that I see that each tube has a different seed in it, I kind of see it in a different light now.

    I don’t mean to be mean, but the USA pavilion seems rather bland compared to so many of the others. I know there has been a lot of criticism of it, that it is basically just corporate advertising but given Congress wouldn’t pay for it, they had no choice I guess but to plaster corporate logos all over the place, although that sends kind of a weird message at an awkward time (the whole Wall Street corruption thing). Other countries had their governments pay for their expos so they didn’t have to place corporate advertising in their pavilions.

    • discourseincsharpminor permalink
      May 22, 2010 7:46 pm

      I agree. It’s not the best image to put out there – “We are only as much as our largest corporations. Want a Coke?” – but with no government funding, it was the only available choice.

      I think our pavilion is rather ugly by pavilion standards – it makes me think of a bus terminal – but it is sad that they’re being torn down – even the pretty ones – after the Expo.

  3. Steve permalink
    May 22, 2010 4:50 pm

    Very cool photos. Everything looks so modern.

  4. Lilly permalink
    May 22, 2010 5:20 pm

    WOW !!! It looks superb! Thank you, Stacy for those pictures 🙂

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