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Global participants spice up Yeosu Expo

The world’s largest marine-themed expo, the International Exposition Yeosu Korea 2012, will make its appearance against the backdrop of the open sea. With official participants representing 105 nations and ten international organizations as well as some 11 million visitors confirmed, the global event has been arousing increasing interest across the globe.

Previously, marine-themed exhibitions were held in Portugal and Spain, but Yeosu will be the first to host a marine Expo on a site constructed upon the sea.

The 2012 Yeosu Expo has successfully carried out a full-fledged dress rehearsal to check overall preparations for the international event (photo: Yonhap News).

“It is a well-known fact that international marine powers including the EU, the U.S., China, and Japan have begun to turn their eyes to the ocean in the 21st century and search for a futuristic economic model through changes in policy in the marine sector,” said Choi Seung-min, a researcher at the Korea Ocean Research & Development Institute. “Taking the circumstances into consideration, Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea is perfectly timed.”

“Compared to most other international mega events taking place in the heart of a big city, the largest global festival focusing on marine science, technology, and culture will provide an opportunity for the international community to appreciate the function and value of the ocean and coast at the southern tip of the Korean Peninsula,” said Kang Dong-suk, chairman of the Organizing Committee for Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea.

International Pavilion at the Expo site (photo courtesy of the expo 2012 Yeosu Korea Organizing Committee)

The three-month-long festival starting on May 12 is set to decorate the site with a total of 76 exhibition booth in a bid to translate the spirit of the theme, ‘the living ocean and coast,’ into action. The diverse collection of booths will bring everything about the sea including marine technology, information, and culture to the stage.

About 50 nations including the U.S., China, and Japan have established independent pavilions, and 56 developing nations worked together to create joint national pavilions in which three ocean clusters -- the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian oceans -- present content that reflects each's heritage. The participation of each country in preparation and decoration of the pavilions assures it is a global festival enjoyed by world citizens.

The American pavilion has been in the spotlight while it is set to show a surprising combination of music and video on a 21-meter super-sized screen, allowing visitors to experience exhibits and programs representing the unique and diverse nature of America’s coastal communities and also learn about how studies of the deep sea have continued in the U.S. Through the exhibition, the U.S. team will deliver a message that the passion and cooperation of the members will be the key solution to addressing the issues we are to encounter. The American pavilion organizes performances by the U.S. 8th Army Marching Band and western bands on July 4, the American national holiday. More information about the American pavilion is available at (http://www.pavilion2012.org ), or (www.facebook.com/USApavilion2012 )

National booth established in the international pavilion (photo courtesy of the expo 2012 Yeosu Korea Organizing Committee)

”The Japanese have faced the severity of the sea, not only benefiting from its bounties,” wrote the Japanese pavilion on its official website, adding that they are resolved to enhance their resilient national image by showing their fast recovery from the recent natural disaster to the world and further revitalize their own country. Under the theme “Our future is a tapestry of forests, villages, and seas,” the Japanese pavilion will reveal how they have lived and will live in harmony with the ocean in three different zones. More information can be found at http://www.yeosu-expo-japan.jp/en.

The Chinese pavilion will project video images onto a screen through which the Chinese mascot white whales will show up and tell a story emphasizing the importance of the symbiotic relationship between humans and the ocean. On June 28, a Chinese holiday, marine-themed performances featuring different provinces will be held at their pavilion. More information is available at http://finance.sina.com.cn/focus/2012WorldExpo  but only in the Chinese language.

Some disabled students were invited to a promotional event at the Australian pavilion (photo: Yonhap News).

Australia, where 85% of the population lives within 50 kilometers of the ocean, established a pavilion under the theme of ”Australia: in harmony with the ocean” to show how their lives have been influenced by the ocean and coast and highlight the coastal marine environment which requires careful stewardship for the future. The booth is designed to engage visitors in experience programs such as a surf boat and a dive adventure. The unique Australian food and traditions in addition to cultural performances will be introduced on May 27, an Australian national holiday. More information is available at http://www.australianpavilion.com  or, http://www.facebook.com/#!/australianpavilion .

Switzerland, a ‘water tower’ for Europe, has been an inexhaustible source of clean water coming from its mountains, glaciers, and springs. The Swiss pavilion intends to share their 150 years of know-how in the use, protection, and purification of water. The heart of the pavilion is an ice core from a 400-year-old glacier in the Swiss Alps. The cylindrical protection wall displays the phrase ‘Ice - as old as Korea’ representing its long history and countless value. More information about the Swiss pavilion is available at (http://www.swisspavilion.or.kr ).

Thailand mascot 'Sutsakon' carried out a promotional activity for the Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea (photo: Yonhap News)

Italy, a nation where marine cities take the center stage, will introduce their unique technologies in fisheries and yachting, as well as marine traditions, especially focusing on explorers such as Christopher Columbus, Vespucci Amerigo, and Giovanni da Berrazzano who discovered new routes to different continents. An Italian marine craft in harmony with colored stone such as coral, pearl, and aquamarine will be displayed, allowing a glimpse of classical Italian antiquities which brought prosperity to the nation. There will be a diverse collection of musical performances influenced by the Mediterranean and EU regions, exposing visitors to cultural diversity on August 2, the Italian national holiday. An Italian ship will also cruise throughout the sea on the same day.

Besides the national pavilions, ten international organizations took a share of the pavilions on the site too. International organizations active in ocean conservation such as the UN, OECD, IOC, WFP, and IPCC will host exhibits to display their current activities and suggest directions for future efforts.

More details about Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea are available at the official website (www.expo2012.kr).


By Lee Seung-ah
Korea.net Staff Writer

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