The Committee of 100 has been named a Strategic Partner in the national campaign to support the USA National Pavilion at the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai. This designation by the U.S. State Department recognizes C-100’s extraordinary ability to mobilize its network of prominent Chinese Americans with influence in both the U.S. and China to help take the USA Pavilion from dream to reality. One result of Committee involvement will be an exhibit devoted to presenting Chinese American contributions to America. C-100 is also acting as a bridge between the Chinese and American governments, given its close contacts with influential policymakers in both countries.
The six-month long event opens May 1, 2010 and is expected to attract as many as 70 million visitors, most of them from China. The U.S. was one of the last countries to sign the agreement to participate in the Shanghai Expo, because by law no federal monies may be allocated for the Expo and private funds have been hard to come by during these rough economic times. However, the Chinese reserved a 60,000 square foot exhibition space, and as of mid-July half the budget of $61 million has been raised to build the USA Pavilion.
As MSNBC reported on July 17: “The funding shortfall means that groups supporting the U.S. efforts cannot remain complacent. Jeffrey Li, a Chinese-American executive and Novartis chief in China, is leading a committee to mobilize grassroots Chinese-American support for the U.S. pavilion. "The Chinese people will not understand why the US cannot ‘afford’ a pavilion, he said.” Li and Shirley Young, retired General Motors Executive and C-100 Governor, are leading the Committee’s Shanghai Expo initiative. Young said that the Committee will be using social networking tools to reach out to Chinese American organizations in order to rally their members to support this project. “We believe that the USA Pavilion in China is a historic event that will touch the hearts of all Chinese Americans and make them proud to contribute to its success.” The Committee, through members Janet Yang and Maya Lin, is also involved in designing the exhibit on Chinese American contributions.
Shovel-ready at the USA Pavilion - Committee members Daniel Chao, Yue-Sai Kan, and Howard Li
From left to right: Howard Li, Daniel Chao, Yue-Sai Kan, Jose Villarreal, Tian Linzhi (on Board of USA Pavilion Inc), Consul General Beatrice Camp, Brenda Foster (President of U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai), Kevin McGovern (on Board of USA Pavilion Inc), and Ellen Eliasoph (on Board of USA Pavilion Inc)
America’s first step to success was taken on July 17, with the groundbreaking ceremony for the Pavilion attended by members Daniel Chao (C-100 Vice Chair, Operations), Yue-Sai Kan (President, Yue-Sai Kan Productions), and Howard Li (CEO and Chairman, Waitex International). Presiding over the ceremony were former member Gary Locke in his role as Secretary of Commerce and U.S. Consul General Beatrice Camp. Locke, like Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, has thrown his weight behind the Pavilion and came to Shanghai with funding pledges from American companies who were persuaded by his presentation at the American Chamber of Commerce in Beijing.
Locke had earlier written C-100 Chair John Chen, encouraging the Committee of 100 to lend its best efforts to insuring American presence at the Expo because “the U.S. Pavilion will demonstrate America’s commitment to retaining its leadership in the Asia-Pacific region and to a forward-looking, positive relationship with China.” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also asked the Committee for its support of the Pavilion: “I believe it is crucial for the United States to be present along with the other 180 nations participating in this major global event with its environmental theme of ‘Better City, Better Life.’” She designated Ambassador Elizabeth Bagley to spearhead U.S. participation in the Expo.
As part of C-100 fundraising efforts for the Pavilion, member Roger Wang, has stepped forward to contribute $2 million on behalf of his company, Golden Eagle International Group, and has become a Founding Partner of the USA National Pavilion.
Committee members have set up regional meetings to mobilize members. Richard King and his wife, Carol Edgar, organized a reception June 9 in San Francisco for Bay Area members Pehong Chen, Tony Sun, Dennis Wu, Geoff Yang, and Linda Tsao Yang and guests to talk with Young and Ambassador Bagley. On June 19, C-100 Vice Chair for New York Clarence Kwan invited members David Chang, Henry Tang, Savio Tung, and Alice Young to a meeting with Frank Lavin, the Chairman of Steering Committee of USA Pavilion. In Shanghai after the USA Pavilion groundbreaking on July 17, Kan hosted a dinner with many of the major American and Chinese players in the Expo project, including diplomat Xu Bo, the Assistant Commissioner General of the World Expo and U.S. Commissioner General Jose Villarreal, who was appointed by Secretary Clinton to oversee the Pavilion’s construction and sponsorships. Villarreal told the group that the Pavilion will portray America’s innovative spirit by highlighting clean energy, new technologies, and creativity in the arts.
From left to right: Consul General Beatrice Camp, her husband David Summers, Brenda Foster and Yue-Sai Kan
Committee members have also held extensive discussions with the USA Pavilion team and have met with U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman and Congressman Mark Kirk, co-chair of the U.S.-China Working Group, as well as the Mayor of Shanghai and head of the Shanghai Expo Bureau. C-100 Chairman Chen and other Committee members have met with U.S. State Department officials as well as Chinese diplomats to offer Committee of 100 help and discuss U.S. participation.
To alert the American public to the Expo opportunity, C-100 has contacted leading media, including the Washington Post, NBC, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Financial Times. The Washington Post article on May 7, “U.S. Running out of Time to Join Shanghai Expo,” brought early attention to this story.
Young has been interviewed by the American and Chinese press in recent weeks. An AFP May 7 article, “Clock Ticking For US On Shanghai World Expo,” cites C-100 and Young:
Shirley Young, who serves [as a Governor] of the Committee of 100, said that the Chinese-American group had identified some 20 companies from which to solicit money.
Young, a former vice president of General Motors (GM), said she had been shocked when she learned last year that the U.S. may not have a pavilion.
"It would be a huge loss of face to the Chinese. China has given the United States the most prime spot for the pavilion, so this is an issue of enormous sensitivity," Young said.
Co-chairing the private organization formed to raise funds for the USA National Pavilion is Ellen Eliasoph, who said: “We are greatly honored by C-100's support of this effort. C-100's creativity, cross-cultural insights and powerful corporate network will be great assets to the USA National Pavilion. The Committee's participation will help ensure the authenticity of our important show component depicting the rich legacy and remarkable achievements of the Chinese community in America. We know that Chinese visitors to our Pavilion will be especially thrilled and proud to know that C-100 is playing a key role in the project.”
You can view some of the finished pavilions at the official Shanghai World Expo website: http://en.expo2010.cn.