Tonight, the 173rd General Assembly of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) is set to make a momentous decision, determining the host of the World Expo 2030. Busan, Riyadh, and Rome stand as the final contenders, each presenting unique visions that intertwine cultural aspirations, economic potential, and geopolitical considerations.
Busan: A Symbol of Resilience
South Korea’s vibrant port city, Busan, is not merely vying for an event but narrating a saga of resilience and innovation. The bid, encapsulated by the theme “Transforming Our World, Navigating Toward a Better Future,” pledges to unite sustainability with technological progress. South Korea’s journey from post-war reconstruction to a global cultural powerhouse lends weight to its candidacy. Recent international endorsements, including Japan’s support, may signal shifting geopolitical alignments, potentially swaying the final vote in Busan’s favor.
Riyadh: Ambition Meets Controversy
Saudi Arabia’s bid, themed “The Era of Change: Together for a Foresighted Tomorrow,” mirrors its ambitious Vision 2030 goals. With substantial infrastructure plans and endorsements from notable countries like France and China, Riyadh’s earnestness is evident. However, human rights concerns loom over the bid, echoing the controversies similar to those faced by the 2034 FIFA World Cup hosting decision. The Kingdom’s efforts to revamp its global image might clash with the ethical considerations of BIE members.
Rome: Cultural Richness and Democratic Ideals
The Eternal City of Rome, steeped in history and culture, presents a compelling case with its focus on regeneration, inclusion, and innovation. Emphasizing human rights and democratic values, Rome’s bid benefits from Italy’s successful Expo history, notably the Milan Expo 2015. The united front across Italy’s political spectrum in support of the bid could appeal to BIE members who prioritize cultural heritage and democratic principles.
As BIE members cast their votes, their choice will echo the world’s collective priorities and values. Busan’s candidacy exemplifies a narrative of technological growth amid adversity. Riyadh’s bid presents a complex interplay of development aspirations with lingering human rights issues. Rome offers a harmonious blend of rich cultural heritage and democratic ethos. The selection of the World Expo 2030 host city will do more than designate a venue; it will signal the direction of global aspirations and commitments during these pivotal times.