For decades, European countries assumed that China is a benign force in international relations.
Shanghai Expo Official Speeches
US Ambassador Jon Huntsman, May 14, 2010
Now, you had to be there to really appreciate what became a four-hour wait almost immediately after opening the Pavilion. It’s a theme within the Pavilion that speaks to the best of America. It speaks to innovation, sustainability, diversity, creativity. It projects great enthusiasm. And I know the Secretary is going to enjoy it enormously.
I want to thank the Chinese Government and the city of Shanghai for their very, very hard work in organizing the 192 countries and countless organizations that are part of the Expo. It has allowed us to participate in a meaningful and significant way, in public and commercial diplomacy, in ways that would otherwise be absolutely impossible.
So to put this in perspective, as it plays out over six months, I guess the only way to properly describe it is it will likely be the biggest event that ever was with 70 million people funneling through the various national pavilions during that time.
So is it an opportunity for the United States to hit a homerun on the public diplomacy side and on the commercial diplomacy side where the creation of jobs is so critically important for us right now? Absolutely.
I also want to point out that we have about 70 student ambassadors who were there to greet me the day that I opened it, all fluent in Chinese – I tested them – and greeting wave after wave of visitor groups, and they, too, also represent the best that America has to put on display. But most important to me, and what I think the Secretary is going to see when she is there, is that we have a very unique opportunity to leave a lasting impression with the people of China, which is what we try to do through public diplomacy.
It’s hard to quantify, in any meaningful way, the effect that this will have on the younger generation in China who have never been to the United States, who have had very little exposure to the United States, as they funnel through the Pavilion and are left with lasting impressions about who we are and what uniquely makes us American. That’s the one aspect of the U.S. Pavilion that I think is so powerful today and is going to resonate for many, many years to come.
So as U.S. Ambassador in China, I’m absolutely delighted that our public diplomacy efforts have been ratcheted up substantially by the ability to put on display the best that America has to offer through this American – through this U.S. Pavilion. And none of it would have been possible without the good work of Ambassador Bagley and Jose Villarreal, who you’ll be hearing from in just a moment.
Secretary Clinton Speaks at the U.S.A. Pavilion - May 21, 2010
Secretary Clinton offers remarks during a dinner in honor of the U.S.A. Pavilion sponsors and others who helped develop the U.S.A. Pavilion in the 2010 Shanghai Expo in Shanghai, China. Full text.
Creating People-to-People Diplomacy with Student Ambassadors
The USA Pavilion Student Ambassadors, a group of 160 Mandarin-fluent university students, who represented 38 U.S. states and 84 American universities, were an essential element of our public diplomacy effort in Shanghai. Engaging guests in Chinese invariably left an indelible impression and strengthened people-to-people diplomatic efforts. The Student Ambassadors interacted with upwards of 43,000 guests per day and experienced every aspect of pavilion operations and community outreach.
In August 2010, Fudan University researchers surveyed 660 visitors to the USA Pavilion.
Key findings include:
• 95% of respondents agreed that visiting the USA Pavilion was worth their time and effort despite the long queue wait time
• 93.4% felt the USA Pavilion represents the true American spirit
• 92.4% agree Chinese corporations should use American corporations as role models
• 98.8% of respondents were impressed with the performance of the Student Ambassadors
• 95.2% want to travel to the United States
The full report is available at: http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/160954.pdf.
Tensions evident in the recent European Union-China virtual summit reflect the increasing skepticism in Europe toward China and the worries over Ukraine and economic ties as well as human rights and environmental issues.