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Chile pavilion leads the way for Latin American nations

2009. 26 July

by Yang Jian
( A decision by Chile President Michelle Bachelet in May to build a 2,500-square-meter Chile Pavilion for the Shanghai World Expo rather than renting a pavilion from the organizer as planned has made the Latin America country a focus among all the Expo participants.

The stand-alone pavilion will cost Chile more than US$6 million, quintupling that of the cost to rent a pavilion.
The Shanghai Expo organizer rents pavilions to participants for about 4,000 yuan (US$585) per square meter.

The global financial crisis has not dampened Chile's enthusiasm for the Expo. On the contrary, it is increasing its investment, because President Bachelet sees the 2010 event as a "long-term investment for its relationship with China," said Hernan Somerville, Chile's commissioner general.

The president was one of the main supporters for the country's Expo showcase, and he will come to Shanghai at the end of November to oversee preparations.

President Bachelet has said that it is of key significance for Chile to participate in Expo because it will be the most important event in the world in 2010, Somerville said.

"The cultural and business exchanges between Chile and China will be the best gift to celebrate Chile's Bicentennial on September 18, 2010," he added.

Somerville said the preparations are "totally on schedule" and the pavilion will be completed by the end of the year.

The only South American country to commit to its own pavilion also pledged to make the pavilion one of the best. "The Chile Pavilion will be second only to the China Pavilion," Somerville said.

The pavilion, which will be named "The Seed of the New City," will be constructed of merging cylinders in silver and brown and will feature a roof garden.

The main theme of the pavilion will be "exchanges among people around the world."

Visitors will pass through three areas in the pavilion, representing the three stages to understand the theme.

In the first area, they will watch a video about urban life around the world. Some urban problems that are shared, such as the environment and work stress, will be highlighted.

The second part will be the key of the pavilion, where visitors enter a huge seed. The solutions to urban problems will be displayed.

In the third area, Chileans from all walks of life will talk with visitors to discuss their daily lives.

The country's mysterious Eastern Island and its ancient Inca culture will also be exhibited at the Expo.

At Expo Seville in Spain in 1992, the Chile Pavilion exhibited a piece of millenary ice in the 40 degrees Celsius weather, which amazed visitors.

At the Shanghai event next year, Chile will attract visitors with three special wells. People will be able to look into the wells in the pavilion in Shanghai to see scenes and hear the sounds of some Chilean cities on the opposite side of the earth.

Another three wells will be built in three Chile cities. Chilean people will also be able to see the scenes in the Chile Pavilion in Shanghai. People in both countries, therefore, will be able to greet each other. It will be like people can see through the earth, Somerville said.

The Chile Expo team is planning to build a duplicate of its Expo pavilion in Chile, where the landscape and scenery of China and Asia will be displayed.

"China is a long distance from Chile, and Expo will be the best opportunity to bring people of both countries together," Somerville said.

The duplicate will be permanent and will remind Chilean people of the Shanghai Expo as a symbol of friendship between the nations, he said.