In November 2012, the International Exhibitions Bureau (BIE) had designated Astana, the capital city of the Republic of Kazakhstan, as the venue to host Expo 2017. Astana EXPO 2017 is taking place between June 10 and September 10, 2017. The theme chosen for the Expo 2017 was „Future Energy” and, reflects one of the greatest challenges that humanity is facing nowadays. The aim of Astana EXPO 2017 is to establish a platform for the introduction of innovation, modern technology and knowledge in the field of transportation, heating systems, energy efficiency, reduction of carbon emission, green energy and aims to create a healthy and sustainable future. At the same time, the exhibition is dedicated to challenges and issues related to global energy which has a direct impact on human life, like global warming and climate change, development, energy security and lack of natural resources, access to water, biodiversity conservation and the promotion of global equality1.
EXPO is a global event which aims at educating the public, sharing innovation, promoting progress and encourage cooperation. It is a complex event that incorporates a wide variety of activities, exhibitions, diplomatic meetings, business meetings, public debates and live shows. It is addressed to a broad audience, nation states, companies, international organisations, the private sector and general public.2 Organisers of Astana EXPO 2017 estimate the event will attract over five million visitors from around the world. More than 100 countries, including Romania, numerous international organisations such as the World Bank, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), United Nation Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and lots of companies like, Shell, Air Astana, OMV, Romgaz and Rompetrol are participating in Astana EXPO 20173.
The opening ceremony of Astana EXPO 2017 took place on 9 June 2017. Over twenty foreign heads of state and government took part in the festivities, including King of Spain, Felipe VI, President of China, Xi Jinping, President of Russia, Vladimir Putin and the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, as well as national ministers, ambassadors and commissioners. During the 93-day exhibition duration, over 3000 thematic and cultural events will take place, including national days, concerts and shows, seminars and thematic forums, workshops and thematic weeks.4 One of the main activities of Astana EXPO 2017 is the „Future Energy” Forum, which will last for the entire duration of the exhibition. The „Future Energy” Forum is divided into two parts, 6 weeks of conferences and discussion dealing with a specific theme are held every even week, and every odd week of the Exhibition, for a period of 6 weeks, is considered a Thematic week and deals with a selected topic. In the Forum’s activities will participate, politicians and statesmen, representatives of the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan, international organisations, representatives of industry, business, research institutions, academia and non-governmental organisations.
The Exhibition Site will comprise two Thematic Pavilions, each of which will further be divided into 4 thematic zones. The theme of the first Pavilion is about how the energy created by the space and Earth can be used by mankind under the conditions of contemporary energy sector development. The theme of the second Pavilion is the realization of the problem of global energy crisis which has led to natural resources depletion and environmental pollution. The aim of the themed Pavilions is to facilitate the interaction between visitors and participants and to expose the general public to an interactive experience, combining innovative technologies, thematic exhibitions, conferences and so on. Moreover, each participant at the exhibition had the possibility to develop their own pavilions. Romania has designated a pavilion of approximately 400 square meters which is intended to present and promote, through its domestic companies, innovative solutions for heating and energy efficiency. The Romanian Pavilion has the slogan „Energy of Light” and presents Romania as a country of innovation and inventions. The Măgurele ELI-NP laser project will be the central element of the pavilion, considering that it is the most important investment in research in Romania, in recent years.
Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Meleşcanu attended the opening of the official ceremony for Romania’s National Day at EXPO 2017 Astana ‘Future Energy’, where he also emphasized the importance of the cooperation between the EU and the Republic of Kazakhstan. Moreover, the official visit of the Romanian minister marked the July anniversary of 25 years of diplomatic relations between Romania and the Republic of Kazakhstan.
Astana EXPO 2017 is an international platform that aims to inform the international community at national, corporate and individual levels about the need to promote and present new technologies in the field of energy and, to promote cooperation and, to build long-lasting partnerships. At the same time, Astana EXPO 2017 is a cultural experience and an opportunity for the Republic of Kazakhstan to become a partner in the new economic environment, based on the concept of development of the „Energy of the Future”.