WASHINGTON – Government agencies and private companies discussed opportunities for U.S. participation in EXPO 2017, which will be held in Astana, as Expo National Commissioner and First Deputy Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan Rapil Zhoshybayev began his visit to the U.S. on Sept. 2 with a series of meetings in Washington, D.C.
As home of the world’s leading companies inventing and advancing green technologies, the U.S. is a country whose involvement in the exhibition would appear to be vital, given the exhibition’s theme of “Future Energy.”
The country’s special credentials in the clean energy sector include being the birthplace of the first wind generator, created in 1888 by Charles Brash in Cleveland, Ohio; and the first solar panel, presented in 1954 by Bell’s laboratory in Murray Hill, New Jersey. The U.S. was also the first country to launch production of hybrid automobiles. Today the U.S. is home to two of the world’s most successful green companies: Tesla and SolarCity.
The U.S., which has hosted a number of successful world fairs since the 1853 Exhibition of Industry of All Nations in New York, is no longer a member of International Bureau of Expositions (BIE). However, it still presents pavilions, usually privately-funded, at BIE-authorised expos. Obviously, an American presentation at EXPO 2017 in Astana would help demonstrate U.S. leadership in green and power-saving technologies.
While in Washington, Zhoshybayev held a number of meetings, including at the White House; the Department of State; the Department of Energy; the World Bank; the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E); the National Geographic Society; the Brand USA Public-Private Partnership company, which promotes tourism in the country; the U.S. Green Building Council; and leading U.S. corporations, including those engaged in promoting energy-saving technologies.
Meeting with Special Assistant to the U.S. President and Senior Director for Russia and Eurasia on the National Security Council Celeste Wallander, Zhoshybayev emphasised the high level of strategic collaboration, traditional atmosphere of trust and cooperation between two countries. He said Kazakhstan was interested in attracting American investment and technology in an effort to strengthen bonds in commerce and economy. Wallander noted the timeliness of the Kazakh delegation’s visit, with U.S. government and private companies beginning to discuss participating in the upcoming exhibition in Kazakhstan as EXPO 2015 in Milan draws to a close. The Future Energy theme and President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev’s Green Bridge initiative are compatible with U.S. President Barack Obama’s recently announced Climate Change Strategy, which foresees development of power-saving technology, the use of alternative energy and reducing greenhouse emissions in the U.S., she said.
At the Department of State, which coordinates U.S. participation in expos, Zhoshybayev briefed Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Nisha Biswal and Senior Advisor to the Secretary of State David Thorne on Astana’s preparations for EXPO 2017. Both American diplomats commended the relevance of the exhibition’s theme for the international community and welcomed prospects for cooperating in organising U.S. participation at the event.
With Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Cooperation at the Department of Energy Jonathan Elkind, the need for collaboration in engaging corporate participants in EXPO 2017 was highlighted. It was noted that there is a good chance that leading U.S. companies in the sector could use the expo to present their latest know-how to the world.
With World Bank Vice President Illango Patchamutu, Zhoshybayev discussed the latest developments in the world economy and the bank’s projects in Kazakhstan, including those related to EXPO 2017. Patchamutu confirmed the World Bank’s commitment to contributing to the success of the expo.
During the visit, a round-table discussion was organised in the office of Chevron, the multinational energy company, where members of Kazakh-American business associations were briefed on opportunities to participate in the Astana expo. As Zhoshybayev noted in his remarks at the meeting, Kazakhstan’s government considers the successful arrangement of EXPO 2017 a high priority and is therefore ready to create all necessary conditions for participants, partners and visitors of the fair. He noted that the event would facilitate the transfer of technologies, as well as stimulate research and development activities in the renewable energy industry in Kazakhstan and internationally.
At the National Geographic Society, the Kazakh delegation discussed the possibilities for promoting EXPO 2017 through the society’s world-famous publications. It was also announced at the meeting that an edition of the National Geographic magazine in the Kazakh language is being readied for launch.
Zhoshybayev also visited the technological centres of the two leading U.S. high-tech companies, Honeywell International, Inc. and the United Technologies Corporation.
A separate meeting with Kazakh students and diaspora was arranged to inform them about EXPO 2017 and call upon them to help promote this national project in the U.S.
Zhoshybayev’s programme in the U.S. also includes trips to New York and San Francisco, where he was to meet with senior officials in the UN family of organisations and numerous private companies specialising in renewable energy and high technology, including in Silicon Valley.