Shanghai World Expo: Part 1 Martin Alintuck interview
Introduciton to the
Shanghai World Expo
4-part interview with USA Student Ambassador
Our interview with Martin Alintuck, President and CEO of the USA Pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo continues with more insights, cherished moments and what’s next! If you missed Part 1, read more.
Please tell me about your experiences meeting other leaders of surrounding pavilions. Do you have a favorite memory to share and if so, tell me about the events leading up to and what happened?
I have had many inspirational experiences meeting with other Pavilion leaders. We share anecdotes and compare notes about the challenges of ensuring that so many people have a great experience. Every week I try to visit a new Pavilion with some of my Student Ambassadors. Just last week, we had a memorable dinner with the organizers of the Guandong Pavilion. Guangdong, being the largest trading-partner of any of China’s provinces, has a special interest in the US. It was a great chance to speak about our Expo experiences, and we talked about ways in which our Pavilions could interact and build friendships. I believe that through these new relationships, the spirit of the Expo is personified.
How many visitors have gone through the turnstiles to date? What is your overall goal? Are you on target to accomplish that goal?
As of today, we have welcomed more than 3.5 million guests. We average about fifty thousand guests per day and estimate that by the end of the Expo, the USA Pavilion will have welcomed more than seven-million guests. That will be 10% of all Expo visitors. By reaching those 7 million guests in a brief six-month period, we will have touched more Chinese citizens than our US Embassy and all of the US Consulates in China combined will over the next 10 years.
Can you tell me about the corporate sponsors? Who are they?
We have approximately seventy sponsors in total. As you probably know, by law, the USA Pavilion would need a congressional appropriation to receive public funds. Given the financial situation of the time, without the support of our sponsors, our presence would be lacking. Our Global Corporate Sponsors are Chevron, Citi, GE, Johnson & Johnson and Pepsico. In addition to these, we have numerous premier and supporting corporate sponsors, a complete list of which can be found at http://www.usapavilion2010.com/globalsponsors.html. Texas, Hawaii, Tennessee, Chicago, Houston and San Antonio have all joined us as our City and State Sponsors. Our sponsors do not submit bids; all of them have joined as they recognize the importance of the U.S. presence at this Expo, and this is truly an exemplary case of public-private partnership.
What is your favorite Pavilion besides the USA of course? Describe it to me and tell me why you like it so much.
As I mentioned before, I often go on pavilion tours and over the course of the Expo have experienced quite a few of them. They are each unique and do a great job representing their individual cultures and heritages, as well as the overall Expo themes, to the world. For the European pavilions, there are many creative designs being showcased. I am awed by the presentation of the China Pavilion, as it showcases China’s rich history and current technologies. I personally enjoyed the Shanghai Pavilion which takes guests on a tour from Old Shanghai to Modern Shanghai surrounded by 360 degrees of images. You feel as if you are really on a rickshaw or on a boat on the river. It’s hard to do it justice but it is amazing.
Does the USA Pavilion live up to the theme of this year’s Expo “Better City, Better Life”?
We are very proud of the extent to which the USA Pavilion illustrates this year’s theme of “Better City, Better Life.” We specifically designed the pavilion to appeal to our Chinese hosts and to be a functional urban building with numerous green features, such as solar heating systems, water recycling facilities, and using renewable materials. In fact, with the support from Alcoa Foundation, the USA Pavilion will be carbon neutral for the six months of Expo. In addition, the USA Pavilion houses an urban rooftop garden inspired by the one First Lady Michelle Obama planted at the White House. Whether you are a little girl trying to inspire her local community or President Obama encouraging our guests to unite in our common humanity and shared curiosity, the USA Pavilion is focused on rising to challenge to create a better City and a better life for our current generation and beyond and I am immensely proud of the impact it has on each and every guest. You don’t have to look any further than the smiling faces and the excited reaction of our Chinese guests as they leave the USA Pavilion, to know we are changing perceptions and making a positive impact.
Where does Martin go after the end of the Expo? Are you already planning the next one? Can you tell me about it? Location? Year? What will be the theme and how will the USA fit into the grand design. Will you remain CEO for future Expos?
Let’s get through this Expo first! I do plan to remain in China post the Expo, and I hope to use my China expertise and Harvard Kennedy School background to play a leadership role in connecting the peoples of the US and China. In terms of future Expo involvement, we are still reviewing our strategies going forward but we have learned a lot from the Shanghai experience and I think we have some great insight that will help us in Yeosu, Korea in 2012 and beyond.