Surpassing original estimates of attendance, the United Nations Pavilion at Expo Aichi 2005, which closed its doors on 25 September in Aichi, Japan, drew some 2,100,000 visitors to a vivid, comprehensive overview of 38 agencies, funds and programmes of the UN system, the lead agency for the event said today.
“I am sure that the visitors to the UN Pavilion have gone away with a strong impression of the vitality, dedication and engagement that inform our actions,” Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), said at the closing ceremony for the Pavilion.
The Expo was dedicated to theme of “Nature’s Wisdom” and UNESCO chose “Celebrate Diversity” as its central theme. The centerpiece of the pavilion, a widescreen video gallery, allowed the visitor to experience the impressive wealth and diversity of natural and cultural resources to be shared among the peoples of the United Nations.
At the same time, the visual journey celebrated the work of the UN System in peace and security, cultural and biodiversity, and people and their environment. More than 5,000 students took part in the debates and guided tours organized at the Pavilion.
Over 3,000 people attended the opening ceremony. Among them were senior representatives from the Japanese Government, UN agencies in Japan, other governments, the private sector and civil society, as well as about 2,000 schoolchildren from 10 schools in Aichi Prefecture.
UN Day (27 June) marked one of the high points of the Expo, UNESCO said. On that day, Mr Matsuura represented Secretary-General Kofi Annan in commemorating the 60th Anniversary of the signing of the UN Charter.
During UN Day, some of UNESCO’s Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity were presented at the central Expo Dome, including Azerbaijani Mugham music, Korean Pansori epic chants, Georgian polyphonic singing and dance, and the Japanese Ningyo Johruri Bunraku puppet theatre.
“In fulfilling its coordinating role for the United Nations Pavilion, UNESCO has sought to create an environment in which all parts of the UN system could work together and show how their actions are complementary. Above all, however, I hope that visitors’ interest in the United Nations – what it does, what it stands for, what it achieves – has been stimulated and developed,” Mr. Matsuura said.
Expo 2005 Aichi was held just outside of Nagoya and opened on 25 March. Over 100 countries, local governments, corporations and organizations participated.