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Expo 2017

Au revoir, Astana

Sabina Griffith

Astana, Kazakhstan. Whenever you mentioned the place during dinner with friends, questioning eyes were guaranteed. That was before Expo 2017.

With a focus on ''Future Energy,'' EXPO 2017 in Astana, Kazakhstan, was a perfect fit for the ITER Project. In keeping with France's role as Host to the project, the ITER exhibition was hosted in the French Pavilion, which received 600,000 visitors in three months. (Click to view larger version...)
With a focus on ''Future Energy,'' EXPO 2017 in Astana, Kazakhstan, was a perfect fit for the ITER Project. In keeping with France's role as Host to the project, the ITER exhibition was hosted in the French Pavilion, which received 600,000 visitors in three months.
Now, one month after the gates closed on the Astana World Fair—which was visited by four million people between 10 June and 10 September—the city is more, much more, than a dot on the world map.

"Energy of the Future" was the theme of this year's World Fair, and so it was only logical that ITER stake its claim. The ITER Project exhibition was hosted in the French Pavilion, just as the ITER Project is hosted by France. With more than 600,000 visitors, the French Pavilion—the largest of the exhibition—was one of the most frequented, and the ITER exhibition proved to be a very special attraction for tourists, political delegations, poets, activists, and even actors.

Even though the vast Fair with its iconic architecture is shuttered, the images will continue to live on in visitors' minds. The buzzing opening weekend with artists on the streets and music in the air; the huge ITER model unveiled in the Chinese Pavilion with its superb animation on fusion energy; the signature of a Cooperation Agreement between the ITER Organization and Kazakhstan's National Nuclear Center; and finally dancers from the Cirque du Soleil defying gravity in the central Kazakhstan Pavilion.

And of course the ITER exhibition itself, where the visitors stood and stared, marvelling at ITER and the promise of fusion energy before moving on. But not without turning to say: "C'est magnifique!"  


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