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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » October 24, 2002
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Festival of Cultures
October 24, 2002 By Maria Szymańska   
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Wroc³aw has been bidding for the right to organize Expo 2010, attracting guests from almost all over the world. In December, it will be clear whether the capital of Lower Silesia will host the large multicultural exposition.

The official presentation of Wroc³aw as a candidate for Expo took place Oct. 11. Ambassadors, diplomats and politicians gathered at the Stanis³awowski Theater in Warsaw to find out what Poland can offer to the World Exhibition. Minister of Foreign Affairs

W³odzimierz Cimoszewicz spoke on behalf of the Polish government. He stressed the enormous importance Poland attaches to the organization of Expo 2010. "The Expo in Wroc³aw would be the first ever international exhibition of this importance organized in a country of the former Eastern bloc," said Cimoszewicz.

Thanks to an original presentation prepared on this occasion, the audience gathered at the Stanis³awowski Theater was able to move into the future. On a large screen, they saw the Poland of the year 2010. They could see the prospective success of Wroc³aw's Expo and the Polish people who have changed under its influence.

The film depicting the dreams of the organizers of the Expo Poland project, which had already made a strong impression on the viewers during a similar presentation in Paris, was warmly received by the audience in Warsaw. It is difficult to say what appealed to the audience the most- visualizations of plans reaching far into the future, the presentation of Poland's most beautiful landscapes or the fact that the film showed the Poles' strong belief that in eight years' time the great exhibition should be organized in this country.

Three days later, those behind the idea to host Expo in Wroc³aw, at a special presentation organized for the press, showed the other aspect of the undertaking, the one which is most interesting to the Polish people. They tried to convince the participants that the Expo event, if organized in Poland in 2010, would have a favorable impact on the whole Polish economy. They also provided concrete examples of benefits which have already been observed.

In the opinion of members of the Expo 2010 Office, the decision to grant Wroc³aw the right to host the world's largest exhibition would contribute to the acceleration of integration processes within the European Union. In 2010, when Poland is an EU member, the Expo would not only present our country to the world but would also confirm that the idea of European integration is a good one.

According to the organizers, the Expo event in Wroc³aw would reinforce the image of Poland as a strong democracy. It is also one of the best methods for attracting foreign investors. "One of the large pharmaceutical companies has already invested in the vicinity of Wroc³aw, creating 1,000 new jobs, only because Wroc³aw's aspirations to organize the Expo convinced the company management that this is the right investment location," said Pawe³ Moras, director of the Expo 2010 Office, arguing that the Expo project has already started to pay off.

For Wroc³aw residents, Expo means new jobs, more investments and new infrastructure. "Wroc³aw is not prepared to receive such a huge number of guests. As a result, new roads, the city beltway and a rail line linking downtown Wroc³aw with Expo grounds will have to be constructed," said Moras.

Wroc³aw has prepared its proposal very carefully. At the press conference, Dr. Tomasz Ossowicz, the director of the Office for Wroc³aw's Development, stressed that the topic selected for the world exhibition in Poland, Culture-Science-Media, was one of the strongest trump cards of the Polish organizers. "Thanks to this topic, even the poorest countries of the world would have a chance to participate in the exhibition. Each would be able to show what is the most precious to them- tradition," Ossowicz argued.

Wroc³aw is competing against strong rivals- Moscow, Buenos Aires, Shanghai and Yosu in Korea. Around zl.10 million, a relatively small amount, was set aside for the promotion of the Expo 2010 Wroc³aw Poland project. Compared to the funds allocated by Moscow, our efforts look very modest. We can only hope that the right to organize the world exhibition will not be awarded to a giant once again and, following the example of Seville, which once beat Toronto, Wroc³aw will also leave its more famous competitors behind.

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