International Specialised Expo

07/06/1991 - 07/07/1991

The activity of young people in the service of a World of Peace

Official Designation
Expo Plovdiv 1991


At the request of the Bulgarian Government, on 14 December 1988, the 104th General Assembly of the BIE recognised Expo 1991 Plovdiv, a Specialised Expo organised under the theme “Youth Inventiveness for a Peaceful World”.

This recognition took place despite the moratorium on new Expos (excluding horticultural expos) between 1989 and 1991, following the adoption of new rules by the BIE in 1988. Expo 1991, the third to take place in the Bulgarian city, was recognised by the BIE for the quality of the project and its fulfilment of the characteristics of a Recognised Expo.

Having already hosted the first World Exhibition of Young Inventors in 1985, Plovdiv thus hosted the second edition between 7 June and 7 July 1991. The Expo was organised by the Ministry of Economy and Planning, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Bulgaria, the Republican Council of Scientific and Technical Creativity of Youth, the International Foundation "Ludmila Jivkova" and the Institute of inventions and rationalisations. Once again, the Expo was organised in cooperation with the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), an agency of the UN.

A changing political context

From 1989, Bulgaria faced fundamental changes to its economy and society as with other countries in the Eastern Bloc. The Government embarked on political and economic reforms with Expo 1991 Plovdiv becoming an event that supported this transition process, in Bulgaria and in neighbouring countries. These ongoing changes sparked a high level of international interest in the Expo.

Efforts were made to encourage participations from young inventors from around to world. As early as June 1988, the crew of the second Soviet-Bulgarian space flight in June 1988 addressed young people, inviting them to participate in the Expo 1991.

Eight countries participated officially in the Expo, but a total of 36 countries were represented via individuals, companies, institutes or universities. Additionally, 16 international organisations took part in the Expo.

An outstanding scientific program

Over 3,000 inventions and innovations were presented at the Expo, with these being classified according to 14 themes. These included electronics and aerospace, chemistry and medicine, architecture and construction, mechanical engineering and metallurgy, energy, and food. Projects in the fields of ecology and tourism were also showcased.

Celebrating young inventors, the exhibits at Expo 1991 were limited to creations from those aged under 45. Some 10% of the projects on display were developed by schoolchildren aged under 18, 22% were from those aged 18-25, and 59% were from inventors aged 25-35. An international jury awarded the most innovate projects with 187 gold medals and 40 special prizes.

The exhibition was also an opportunity to organise scientific and cultural events, of which more than 180 took place. These included 45 conferences, and an international symposium entitled "Young Inventors and Innovators in the Context of Economic and Technological Development", organised by the Bulgarian Government and WIPO. This three-day symposium gathered representatives from 25 countries on 3-5 July.


Expo 1991 was an opportunity for Plovdiv to welcome scientists, entrepreneurs, inventors and technicians from all over the world. During the course of the Expo, a total of 140 reports and speeches were presented, based around the theme of invention.

The expansion and modernisation of the city’s International Fair grounds, which included the construction of four new pavilions, allowed Plovdiv to develop its conference and exhibition industry, and to increase the city’s influence on international trade.