Public Diplomacy

California plans to bid for 2020 World Expo

image Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, in China on a weeklong trade mission through Asia, announced California is preparing to bid to host the 2020 World Expo.

The plan, which is not due until late 2011, would propose using Moffett Field, a decommissioned (1994) air field on San Francisco Bay and is adjacent to Silicon Valley.

“Shanghai has demonstrated that when you host the World Expo, the world comes to you, and I want the world to come to California. Our state is a leader in entertainment, agriculture, the environment, high-tech, green-tech and bio-tech, and we are ready to showcase our innovation to the world,” said Governor Schwarzenegger. “As the hub of innovation, Silicon Valley is the most natural place to hold the Expo, which will promote the international exchange of ideas, create jobs and increase revenues in our state.”

“The World Expo is the Olympic Games of the economic, scientific and industrial world, and we think it is time for Silicon Valley to serve as an ambassador for the United States and host this event,” said Jim Wunderman, President and CEO of the Bay Area Council. “For 30 years, the Bay Area and Silicon Valley have been the pre-eminent hot spots for the innovation that drives the world’s technological advances.  Imagine what a Silicon Valley Expo will look like when we put all of the region’s collective brainpower to work.”

"The Silicon Valley is a great way to highlight everything California has to offer," said Schwarzenegger spokesman Jeff Macedo. "He sees the World Expo as an excellent way to bring more jobs and tourist spending dollars to California."

But first, the U.S. needs to get reinstated with the governing body of world expos, the aptly named Bureau of International Expositions (BIE). This requires working with Congress and the State Department.

Personally, I’m excited about the prospect of my state hosting this event. Hopefully, this expo will come together a bit less haphazardly and with more transparency than America’s submission to the Shanghai expo.