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April 20, 2010

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Learning from one another

JOSE H. Villarreal has been named commissioner general responsible for oversight of the USA Pavilion at World Expo 2010 Shanghai. He is the US government's official representative to China on issues related to Expo. A Texas attorney with a distinguished background in law, business and the non-governmental sectors, Villarreal currently serves as a senior advisor to the law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld.

In 1968 my hometown of San Antonio, Texas, hosted a World's Fair. This was a major occurrence in the city's history, and today there is still a monument that reminds us daily of this event, the "Tower of the Americas."

Perhaps an even better legacy, a large area that was used for the fair was renovated in the 1980s and converted into a beautiful park area for the citizens of San Antonio to enjoy.?The 1968 World's Fair, in my opinion, did result in a better city and a better life for its residents, and we still enjoy its benefits to this day.?

That was a very small event compared with what Shanghai is preparing.?When my good friend Hillary Clinton asked me to take on the role of Commissioner General of the USA Pavilion at the 2010 World Expo, I was delighted to accept.?

Partly this was because I knew from my hometown's experience what a great event a World Expo can be, but also because my daughter has made Shanghai her home, and I've been learning from her what a dynamic and exciting city Shanghai is.

One of the best things about World Expos is how much opportunity they provide for people from around the world to learn about each other and from each other.?

Back in the United States, I've been telling everyone I meet that they have got to come to the Expo - that it will be a historic event that they don't want to miss.

All the signs are that Expo will be a huge success, but while people will come for the Expo, I'm sure that they'll also leave with vivid impressions of Shanghai and China that they will take home with them a better understanding of the remarkable transformation of this city and country.?Similarly, we look forward to welcoming millions of Chinese visitors to the USA Pavilion, and we hope that their visit will deepen their understanding of the United States and our society and culture as well.?

At the same time Shanghai Expo's theme of "Better City, Better Life" is very well chosen and is a great opportunity to share ideas and information on new practices and technologies that will help everyone to take on some of the difficult environmental challenges that we all face going forward.

We like the theme because it not only gives us the perfect opportunity to highlight US innovation - particularly in clean energy initiatives - but also because the United States will have the chance to study and learn from other countries around the world.

Years from now I believe that guests will visit Shanghai, marvel at the magnificent China Pavilion and remember the Shanghai Expo and the better city and better future that we all worked together to create.?


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