The Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) held its 161st General Assembly in Paris on 13-14 June 2017. Delegates representing the 170 Member States of the BIE attended the meeting.

Steen Christensen, President of the General Assembly of the BIE (centre), Dimitri Kerkentzes, Deputy Secretary General of the BIE (right)

Opening the session, the President of the General Assembly Steen Christensen first paid tribute to Ambassador Wu Jianmin, an esteemed Chinese diplomat and former President of the BIE, who died in June 2016.

Reports were submitted by the Presidents of the four BIE committees (Executive, Administration & Budget, Rules, Information & Communication), and progress reports on current and upcoming Expos were presented to the General Assembly. As the General Assembly was held in the months after the closing of the candidate list for Specialised Expo 2022/23 and World Expo 2025, delegates had the chance to receive presentations on all the bid projects for the first time.

World Expos

Giving an update on Expo 2020 Dubai, Senior Vice President Manal Albayat presented the General Assembly with a progress report for the next World Expo. Ms. Albayat assured BIE Member States that site preparations and confirmations of international participation are making good progress, adding that Expo 2020 is continuing to develop its local and international engagement efforts, notably via youth programmes and corporate partnerships.

Manal Albayat, Senior Vice President Expo 2020 Dubai

Concerning the bidding process for the following World Expo, due to take place in 2025, each of the four candidates gave a presentation during which they outlined their World Expo vision. This was the first opportunity for all four candidates - France (Greater Paris), Japan (Osaka), Russia (Ekaterinburg) and Azerbaijan (Baku) – to directly address BIE Member States.

Specialised Expos

Following the opening ceremony of Specialised Expo 2017 Astana on 9 June, Expo Commissioner Rapil Zhoshybayev and Deputy Chairman Yerbol Shormanov presented delegates with an overview of the opening and the Expo’s first few days. Over 1.3 million tickets have already been sold, according to the Expo organisers, who concluded by inviting all attendees to visit the Expo during the Summer.

Rapil Zhoshybayev, Commissioner of Expo 2017 Astana

The three candidates for Specialised Expo 2022/23 each gave presentations to promote their Expo projects. Following a vote by Member States, Poland (Łódź), the United States (Minneapolis) and Argentina (Buenos Aires) will continue to promote their respective Expo projects until the 162nd General Assembly elects a host country in November 2017.

Horticultural Expos

Delegates were also presented with an overview of the planning of Horticultural Expo 2019 Beijing, less than two years before it opens. The Commissioner General, Wang Jinzhen, announced that over 20 countries have already confirmed their participation, and reiterated the objective to have 100 international participants. The Deputy Secretary of the Executive Committee of Beijing Expo 2019, Peng Hongming, informed delegates about progress on the construction of the site, unveiling plans for several iconic structures, including the Chinese Pavilion.

The Commissioner General of Horticultural Expo 2019 Beijing Wang Jinzhen

Triennale di Milano

Set to coincide with Beijing’s Horticultural Expo, the next edition of the Triennale di Milano international exhibition was announced to the General Assembly by Andrea Cancellato, Director General of the Triennale. To be held between 1 March and 1 September 2019, the 22nd edition of the Triennale will be entitled: “Broken Nature: Design, architecture, and art take on climate change and inequality”. Paola Antonelli, Senior Curator of Architecture & Design and Director of R&D at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, has been appointed General Curator of this next edition of the Triennale. Ms. Antonelli also addressed delegates, introducing the theme and explaining its relevance to the international community.

Andrea Cancellato, Director General of the Triennale di Milano

World Expo Museum

For the first time since the World Expo Museum opened to the public on 1 May, its Director, Lorelei Liu, gave an update to BIE delegates on its current status and future plans. Ms. Liu told the General Assembly that the Museum has already welcomed 90,000 visitors and has hosted cultural events including the WE TALK Expo forum.

Lorelei Liu, Director of the World Expo Museum

More news to follow on all presentations made at the 161st General Assembly.