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November 1, 2010

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Event to inspire Better City, Better Life ... globally

AS the curtain finally lowered on Shanghai World Expo yesterday, many visitors were bidding a reluctant farewell to one of the most memorable Expos in history.

Under the theme of "Better City, Better Life," the Shanghai Expo drew together 246 participating nations and international organizations eager to showcase their history and culture.

Organizers sought to promote the ideas of pluralism, harmony, tolerance, originality and coexistence, and hope the spiritual and physical legacy of Expo will inspire people to create an even brighter future.

Latvia's President Valdis Zatlers said the Shanghai Expo had surpassed all his expectations.

It mixed history with the modern world perfectly, conjoined the present and the future and built a bridge between the Oriental and the Occident, Zatlers said.

Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said the Shanghai Expo had achieved many successes, which brought benefit to not only China but the whole world.

Latvian Education and Science Minister Tatjana Koke lauded China's organization work, saying it was incredible that the Expo could receive more than 1 million visitors a day.

For Lin Xuewen, secretary-general of United Chinese Associations of Eastern US, "incredible" was the word used most often when describing his experience at the event.

"It was incredible to see the video in the multimedia exhibition of the China Pavilion about China's vast migration from rural to urban areas over the past 30 years. I felt so overwhelmed by the incredible changes as if I was riding a time machine. Truly amazing," recalled Lin.

"Some US friends who visited the Shanghai Expo told me that they realized that China not only has good food and great Kung-fu, but also a rich cultural heritage and modern technology," he added.

The Shanghai World Expo provided a stage for a rich assortment of cultures to promote their diversity, learn from each other and appreciate each other on an equal footing.

Latvian minister Koke said that the Expo provided a chance for people to know more about the world.

"Thanks to the Expo, visitors had a chance to experience different cultures and get a glimpse of the whole world in a day or so," she said.

Elizabeth Wishnick, an associate professor at Montclair State University in New Jersey, said the Shanghai Expo was a "window for ordinary Chinese to be exposed to different cultures across the world."

And the legacy of the Expo may help provide a blueprint for cities of the future.

The theme of "Better City, Better Life" raises questions on how to cope with industrialization, climate change, population growth and security, ideas which will be invaluable to cities of the future.

Executive Director of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) Joan Clos said the Chinese government and the Shanghai municipal government held an excellent Expo, with its theme matching UN messages.

Vicente Loscertales, secretary-general of the French International Expositions Bureau, said: "China has been able to fully interpret and to put into practice the core values of education, innovation, cooperation which are the foundation on which an Expo develops its legacy."

Jose Freches, commissioner general of the France Pavilion, said: "Better City, Better life is an actual theme, how to organize cities of tomorrow to allow people to have better lives in big cities.

"It's a concrete theme for all the planet. The Shanghai Declaration will be adopted by all countries who participated in the exhibition," he said. "I'm sure the Shanghai World Expo has made a great contribution to this idea."


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