By Bernd Debusmann Jr
The US State Department is conducting an outreach programme to help the US business community see the benefits of participating in the event
US ambassador John Rakolta Jr officially inaugurated construction of the American pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai on Tuesday, the State Department has announced.
Rakolta was joined at the event by State Department counsellor T. Ulrich Brechbühl.
“The US pavilion will showcase how freedom and liberty of thought have enabled success and innovation for American entrepreneurs and innovators,” Rakolta said at the event. “We will share this message with the millions of visitors who will come to Dubai to attend Expo 2020, and we look forward to welcoming them to the pavilion.”
As part of outreach efforts to the UAE business community, Rakolta and Brechbühl also met with members of the American Chambers of Commerce in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, as well as the US-UAE Business Council. Representatives of Expo 2020 Dubai and PepsiCo – one of the first sponsors of the pavilion – were on hand for the meeting.
“The Department of State is helping tell America’s story at what will be a World’s Fair for the ages,” Brechbühl said. “We are proud to fly America’s flag at the first World Expo to be held in the Middle East, and we are confident that this pavilion will showcase the best of American liberty, innovation, and culture.”
Earlier in March, the State Department announced the selection of Thinkwell Group and Globa Ties US for the exhibition, operations and cultural programming at the US pavilion.
The start of construction work at the US pavilion follows months of uncertainty surrounding America’s participation in the event due to a lack of funding and a failure to receive emergency support from the government.
By law, the State Department is not allows to provide funds for such international gatherings.
In January, however, it was announced that the pavilion would be funded “by the generosity of the Emirati government”.
The State Department did not disclose any further details on the UAE contribution, but Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had earlier spoken of $60 million needed to set up the pavilion for the six-month fair.