Italy, Vatican Express Interest in Participating in EXPO 2017

Italian government and business leaders expressed interest in EXPO 2017 during a Dec. 9-10 visit to Rome by Kazakh First Deputy Foreign Minister Rapil Zhoshybayev.

10245448_569386579863915_4950627464304183147_nDuring the visit, Zhoshybayev, who also serves as the national commissioner for EXPO 2017, met with Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Lapo Pistelli and noted the continuing development of mutual economic and trade cooperation despite negative trends in the global economy. The parties discussed experiences involving preparations for hosting major international events, the Italian companies partaking in EXPO 2017 and companies from Kazakhstan in the upcoming EXPO 2015 in Milan. Zhoshybayev presented Pistelli an official invitation letter to the Italian government to the 2017 exhibition from President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

Pistelli noted that Kazakhstan is a key Central Asian partner of Italy’s and expressed his support for Kazakhstan’s international initiatives.

Also, the commissioner met with Italian Minister of Culture and Tourism Dario Franceschini to brief him on ongoing efforts to develop tourism in Kazakhstan.

The two parties discussed potential joint tourism projects, the prospect of opening direct flights between the two countries, as well as promoting Kazakhstan’s tourism potential in Italy. Following the meeting, it was agreed to sign a contract on cooperation between the state owned national company Astana EXPO 2017 and the Italian Association of Tourism during the meeting of the intergovernmental commission in January 2015.

While visiting Vatican City, Zhoshybayev held a meeting with Secretary of State, Cardinal of the Catholic Church Pietro Parolin. Kazakhstan’s deputy foreign minister noted the high level of understanding and trust between Kazakhstan and the Vatican. He invited the cardinal to attend EXPO 2017 and handed a letter of invitation on behalf of President Nazarbayev to His Holiness Pope Francis.

Parolin expressed interest in taking part in the international exhibition in Astana and offered to organise an exposition of Leonardo Da Vinci’s Codex Atlanticus as part of it.

The Codex Atlanticus is 1,119 pages and was donated in 1637 to the Biblioteca Ambrosiana of Italy, which was founded by Cardinal Federico Borromeo in 1609 as one of the first public libraries in the world. Leonardo’s entire life as an artist and scientist appears in the extraordinary collection, which covers a time frame stretching from 1478, when Leonardo was still working in his native Tuscany, to 1519, when he died in France. The folios deal with various subjects ranging from mechanics to hydraulics, studies and sketches for paintings, mathematical and astronomical calculations, philosophical musings and fables and plans for inventions, such as parachutes, war machines and hydraulic pumps. Currently in Italy, the sheets are displayed in different themes and have rotated every three months since 2009. The full exhibition will run up to Milan’s international EXPO 2015.

The cardinal also noted that the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions in Astana has become a unique and authoritative platform for dialogue between civilisations and religions.

The internationally recognised congress has become a true trademark of Kazakhstan and evidence of the country’s and its first President’s efforts to promote peace, harmony, humanism, tolerance and the coexistence of religions. Kazakhstan has specifically built a Palace of Peace and Harmony, where leaders from different parts of the world gather for interreligious dialogue every three years. This building has become a popular destination for tourists visiting Astana and something city residents are truly proud of.

Parolin assured that the Vatican will be appropriately represented in the upcoming fifth congress in Astana, which will be held on June 10-11, 2015.

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