Minnesota, Poland and Argentina compete to host World's Fair In this June 9, 2017, file photo, world leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, pose for a photo with others as they attend the opening ceremony of the Astana Expo 2017 exhibition in Astana, Kazakstan. (Mikhail Metzel/Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP, File/Victorgrigas/Wiki Commons)
Minnesota, Poland and Argentina compete to host World's Fair
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Minnesota is hoping to host the first World's Fair on U.S. soil in nearly 40 years. But it will have to overcome many bids. One is from Poland's third-largest city, Lodz. And it is challenged by the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires. That is where a winner will be selected in the coming days.

World's Fairs have introduced several landmarks. Those include the Eiffel Tower, Space Needle and Ferris Wheel. But they have lost some of their cultural relevance in an age of globalization and cheap air travel. World's Fairs are now called World Expos. They are the largest events held every five years and as specialized expos for smaller ones in other years. The events still draw millions of visitors. They allow hosts to show off.

The Bureau of International Expositions will choose the site of the 2022 or 2023 specialized expo on Wednesday in Paris. Minnesota's theme is health and wellness. Lodz's theme is the reinvention of cities. Buenos Aires' highlights creative industries in the digital era.

Here's a closer look:

WHAT ARE EXPOS?

Expos are global events aimed at "educating the public, sharing innovations, promoting progress and fostering cooperation." That's according to the BIE. They're meant to bring the world together to find solutions to some fundamental challenge of humanity. Visitors tour pavilions where participating countries and organizations showcase their contributions on the theme. Experts and diplomats attend conferences on the sidelines.

Six-month-long world expos are held every five years. There are also smaller, three-month "specialized expos" on specific themes that fall in between. World leaders often visit. This is what the BIE is currently considering. 

"Expos remind us that there is much more that binds us together than separates us." That's according to Jim Core. He is director of the international exhibitions unit at the U.S. State Department.

Many Americans have lost sight of how big these events are. That's because the U.S. hasn't hosted one since New Orleans did so in 1984. But the Milan World Expo in 2015 drew around 20 million visitors. This summer's specialized expo on Future Energy was in Astana, Kazakhstan. It drew 4 million people. The 2020 Dubai World Expo is expected to draw about 25 million. That's according to BIE.

HEALTHY MINNESOTA.

Minnesota has proposed a specialized expo for 2023. It's theme is "Healthy People, Healthy Planet." It would trade on the state's reputation as a center of innovation and excellence in health and wellness. That's according to Mark Ritchie. He is the former Minnesota Secretary of State. He is the leader of the bid committee. Minnesota is home to world-class health care institutions. These include the Mayo Clinic, medical device makers such as Medtronic, and insurers such as UnitedHealth.

The site would be near the Mall of America. It is one of the country's biggest shopping centers. It is located in the Minneapolis suburb of Bloomington. The committee projects that it will draw around 12 million visitors. This includes nearly 220,000 international visitors. This would produce a total impact on the local economy of $1.5 billion.

The State Department is vigorously lobbying on Minnesota's behalf. It is a bigger diplomatic effort than Poland's or Argentina's, Ritchie said. It has hosted events in Washington, Paris and other cities. Its embassies and consulates around the world are promoting the bid. It also brought foreign ambassadors to Minnesota. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan will be in Paris to cast the U.S. vote.

The U.S. left the Bureau of International Expositions in 2001 as congressional interest waned following the end of the Cold War, said Matthew Asada. He is the State Department's expo program officer. But President Donald Trump signed a bill in May. He wants the "U.S. Wants to Compete for a World Expo Act.” He wants to rejoin and put the U.S. back in the game.

REVITALIZED POLAND.

The bid theme of the central Polish city of Lodz for 2022 is "City Re: Invented" and focuses the revitalization of post-industrial cities. The city's expo website says the event would kick-start a second wave of modernization and share Poland's expertise in "urban regeneration" with the rest of the world.

"Lodz is writing an extraordinary story of how to successfully combat a permanent social and infrastructural crisis," the website states. The city expects about 8 million visitors.

Lodz is Poland's third-largest city. It is an hour away from the capital Warsaw. It became a thriving industrial city in the 19th century. It lost momentum after communist rule ended in 1989. The demise of its big textile plants fueled unemployment and decay. But the city says it has undergone a rebirth lately. This includes the restoration of many of the inner city's richly decorated tenement houses from the late 1800s and revitalization around the main railroad station.

CREATIVE ARGENTINA.

Buenos Aires has offered a 2023 expo on "Creative Industries in Digital Convergence." If approved, it would be the first expo in Latin America under the auspices of the BIE. It began operations in 1931. Several were held in Latin America before then, though.

"It will be a celebration of human creativity, in which no one should be left out," Argentine government minister Gabriela Ricardes said last month in a presentation to the Organization of American States.

Buenos Aires expects over 6 million visitors, including 250,000 international tourists. "They will be able to discover the latest innovations in the technological industries, the newest proposals from the world of creativity, and multimedia, artistic, scientific and technological content from Argentina and the participating countries," its expo website says.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why would any city or country want to host a world’s fair?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (38)
  • 24mstier
    11/28/2017 - 09:41 a.m.

    One reason you would want a world fair in your town is it would draw in a lot of visitors to your town and you would get good publicity. Another reason you would want a world fair in your town is you could see many things you never seen before. The last reason you would want it is you could try new things they brought with them from other countries.

  • 24thowes
    11/28/2017 - 09:41 a.m.

    I think they want more population or if they make a landmark it could be in the place the World Fair is in. I also think that they want people to realize how nice it actually is in these places. They also probably don't want to travel to another country if people plan on going so this could matter a lot where they go.

  • 24kgibbs
    11/28/2017 - 09:43 a.m.

    One reason that I think that they would want to host a world's fair to get more money from all the people that come to see the fair. Another reason is that they could also get maybe more people for a good tourists place. Another reason is that the business would get more money and popular.

  • 24kzorza -sjo
    11/28/2017 - 09:44 a.m.

    I think that a country or state would want to host the World Fair because it would bring in a lot of tourists. It would then bring in more money to the state or country. The country or state would gain income and grow economically.

  • 24wgierke
    11/28/2017 - 09:44 a.m.

    The reason is stated in the text. The reason a place would wan't to host the world fair is to educate the public. Also it reminds us there are more things that bring us together than break us away of each other. Those are the two reason a country or city want to host a world's fair.

  • 24tweber
    11/28/2017 - 09:44 a.m.

    One reason would be that it allows hosts to show off. It was also draw in many tourists. Drawing in much more money. The hosts also want more World Expos.

  • 24wwurz -sjo
    11/28/2017 - 09:44 a.m.

    You could make a lot of money off of tourists. You can make certain fundraisers for the theme the world's fair is. For an example if it was wildlife themed you could make a "save the wildlife!" fundraiser.

  • 24lculbertson
    11/28/2017 - 09:45 a.m.

    I think that it would be cool to host the fair. I also think it would bring a lot of people to where it is. I think that it would strengthen your city or country.

  • 24llambert
    11/28/2017 - 09:45 a.m.

    What types of innovations?Why are they looking so far ahead?Why did their expectations change for so far in the future?

  • 24dduroy
    11/28/2017 - 09:45 a.m.

    They would want to host the world fair because it brings more people into their city that they are hosting in. Which means that they will get more money because of the fair and the attractions around. Then it also means more people will get more business which means more money for them.

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