This summer, the capital of Kazakhstan, Astana, will be sharing space with hundreds of other countries and organizations, all in the service of science, technology, dialogue – and fun.
EXPO 2017, the international specialized exhibition, has finally opened. Representatives of 115 countries and 22 international organizations, participating in the fair, were invited to the June 9 official opening ceremony of the exhibition, which has as its theme “Future Energy.” President Nursultan Nazarbayev personally welcomed heads of state and governments from 17 countries as well as UN Secretary General Antonio Gutteres.
The expo officially opened to the public the next morning with performances and shows presented by artists from all over the world. The contrast of cultures, colorful dresses, dances and energetic music created a truly festive atmosphere.
The 5,000-square-meter Kazakh Pavilion of the exhibition is located on the ground floor of the world’s largest spherical building, with the diameter of 80 meters. The pavilion includes the Future Energy Museum, where visitors can learn more about Kazakhstan and its people, as well as about the world’s main energy types.
The area features the exposition Future Astana – an exploration of the capital of Kazakhstan in 2050 – plus a space energy hall, a creative energy zone with 28 Kazakhstan scientific projects, projects on the concept of green economy and a media wall with the initiatives of the head of state in the field of energy and environmental protection.
The Nur Alem spherical building is divided by floors. The eighth floor of the pavilion presents Astana as a city of the future. The seventh floor shows space energy; the sixth, solar energy. The fifth floor represents the theme of the wind as a constituent of the atmosphere. The fourth floor demonstrates the use of biomass in creating energy; the third floor discloses the kinetic energy of the Earth; the second floor explores hydropower.
The Kazakh national pavilion and its size attract great interest among expo visitors. However, each participating country has a unique feature describing their capacity, developments and vision towards the future energy.
For example, Russia brought to the expo a four-meter block of ice from the Arctic, which was chipped off by an iceberg. For the entire three months of the exhibition, the Arctic ice block will be in the hemisphere located in the center of the installation.
“We will reveal the Future Energy theme through the example of the unique region of Russian Arctic, which is considered the most promising region in the country in terms of developing alternative energy. In addition, the region is rich in minerals,” Georgy Kalamanov, general commissioner of the pavilion, said.
Also in the Russian pavilion, guests can walk with Amur tigers with the help of modern technologies, both a marvel and a way to draw attention to the problem of conservation of threatened species.
The opening ceremony of the surprising U.S. pavilion was attended by Deputy Assistant Secretary for Central Asia at the U.S. State Department Daniel Rosenblum, pavilion commissioner and U.S. Ambassador to Kazakhstan George Krol, President of the pavilion Joshua Walker, Chairman of the Astana EXPO 2017 Company Akhmetzhan Yessimov, Commissioner of EXPO 2017 Rapil Zhoshybayev, as well as sponsors and student ambassadors.
“Congratulations to our partners in Kazakhstan and the U.S., who made a huge contribution to the implementation of our pavilion in reality. Joint efforts reflect the strength, resonance, mutual support and energy of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Kazakhstan,” Krol said.
“We are pleased to present our pavilion to people from all over the world and Kazakhstan. The source of America’s endless energy is people, and we hope that the guests will enjoy communication with student ambassadors and interactive displays of our pavilion,” Walker explained.
A 1,100-square-meter exhibition space of the U.S. pavilion is broken down into three rooms: The Room Full of Energy, Energy of Life and Pavilion Post Show.
The first room features pictures and photos from the U.S. and shows a film about the most daring ideas and developments of tomorrow.
Energy of Life offers the fascinating and entertaining “Source of Infinite Energy” show.
The Post Show zone tells about Kazakhstan’s cooperation with U.S.
Interestingly, the U.S. pavilion was built solely through donations.
According to Korean Ambassador to Kazakhstan Kim Dae-sik, the Korean pavilion is the largest of all international pavilions. Its area of 1,804 square meters depicts the latest technologies and innovations with the help of various energy-saving methods.
“South Korea, in the role of a pioneer, plans to offer Kazakh residents its solution to the energy problem based on advanced information and communication technology,” the ambassador said.
The Korean pavilion consists of two floors. The exhibition hall on the first floor is divided into three zones. Seeds of energy symbolize the energy technologies of South Korea. A walk through the pavilion begins with an animated film by artist Kim Jung Gi, describing the history of the country’s energy development. In the second hall, visitors witness a theatrical performance mixed with animation that tells the love story of a Kazakh young man named Astan and a Korean girl named Ary. At the end of the exhibition hall, visitors encounter a living forest.
Next, there is a hydrogen-powered car of the future, which was specially brought to Kazakhstan from Korea.
United Kingdom National Commissioner Charles Hendry hopes his country’s pavilion will inspire young people to seek new solutions to improve the lives of fellow humans around the world and make their days easier.
In the pavilion designed by the famous architect Asif Khan, visitors can see a huge 17-meter projection generating images with a panorama of 40,000 pixels wide.
The highlight of the pavilion is a display of developments made in graphene, a material that can dramatically change how we produce and consume energy.
“The main thing we want to show is the history of Great Britain in the context of technology. Many great discoveries were made in our country. For Kazakhstan, the expo is a great international event and an opportunity to demonstrate itself as a reliable partner, both in business and in science. The expo facilities are fascinating,” Hendry said.
Foreign participants of the expo and tourists also shared their impressions and thoughts about the exhibition in Astana.
Zahid from Singapore says he admired Italy’s pavilion.
“I am very glad to be part of this fascinating event! Astana is a modern city full of young and progressive people. I went through all pavilions and each of them impressed me greatly! I visited Milan two years ago during the expo, and I fell in love with this country. In Astana, Italy demonstrates rich cultural programs. I liked it,” he said.
Yu Jin arrived in Astana from South Korea to spend holidays with her local friends and visit the expo.
“Pavilion of the United Arab Emirates is amazing. I learned many interesting facts about this country. I think that every citizen of Kazakhstan shall visit this enormous and wonderful site! It is a great experience! I also was very pleased to meet kind and open-hearted people,” she told Edge.
There are also many visitors from other regions of Kazakhstan. Aliya, 28, came to Astana to see Kazakhstan’s pavilion and visit the Cirque du Soleil show.
“I adore artists of this magnificent team! It was unbelievable! I want to thank city’s administration for giving us such an opportunity to enjoy performances and shows of world’s best artists! Expo is great, Kazakhstan has been preparing for this event over five years. I hope our foreign guests and exhibitors will enjoy their stay in Kazakhstan. I wish everyone a good mood and unforgettable experience!” Aliya said.
EXPO 2017 started June 10 and will last until Sept. 10.