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Who Will Host the 2030 World Expo?

As the sun sets on the race to host the 2030 World Expo, the excitement is palpable with Rome in Italy, the Saudi capital Riyadh, and South Korea’s Busan eagerly awaiting the announcement. The World Expo, a historical mega event dating back to the 1851 Great Exhibition in London, brings nations together every five years to address contemporary challenges. This year’s host selection has seen fervent lobbying from Italy, Saudi Arabia, and South Korea, each vying for the honor to showcase the future.

2030 World Expo

Intense Lobbying Efforts: The battle for hosting rights has been particularly intense, with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman leading the kingdom’s efforts despite concerns over its human rights record. Rome and Seoul have not been left behind, with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and Italy’s Premier Georgia Meloni making final pitches for their respective cities in Paris.

Controversy Surrounding Riyadh’s Bid: The potential selection of Riyadh as the Expo host has sparked controversy, drawing criticism from activists and human rights organizations. Concerns over Saudi Arabia’s human rights violations, including the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, have led groups like MENA Rights Group and Freedom House to urge against choosing Riyadh. The decision could send a message about the acceptance of such actions on the global stage.

Global Campaign and BIE’s Role: The Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), based in Paris, oversees the Expo hosting process. With 182 member states, each having one vote, a global campaign is essential for victory. The candidates will present their final pitches before member states vote to choose the host on Tuesday.

Themes and Timelines: Busan aims to host the Expo from May-October 2030 with the theme “Transforming Our World, Navigating Toward a Better Future.” Rome envisions its Expo during the same period with the theme “People and Territories: Regeneration, Inclusion, and Innovation.” Riyadh proposes an Expo from October 2030 to March 2031 under the theme “The Era of Change: Together for a Foresighted Tomorrow.”

As the world awaits the decision, the chosen host city will play a crucial role in shaping the narrative of the Expo’s future. Whether it’s the historical backdrop of Rome, the vibrant aspirations of Busan, or the controversial bid of Riyadh, the 2030 World Expo promises to be a significant event shaping global dialogue and collaboration. The final decision rests with the member states, marking the culmination of a vast and dynamic global campaign.

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