EXPO 2017. Lithuanian Rays of Future Energy Radiated In Astana


Romas Jankauskas

Head of the Exhibitions Division of the Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Lithuania, Commissioner of the Lithuanian section at EXPO 2017, Chairman of the EXPO 2017 Steering Committee

The visitors could explore original environment and interesting events

Slightly paraphrasing the topic of the exhibition, the Lithuanian pavilion was titled as the Rays of Future Energy from Lithuania and ranked among ten most popular pavilions throughout the exhibition. This time the size of the Lithuanian pavilion was average, taking up a little more than five hundred square metres. However, not really large size of the pavilion did not prevent huge flows of visitors and gatherings of professionals of all kinds of fields. Aside from the permanent exposition, the pavilion also hosted temporary exhibitions, concerts, presentations and conferences.
The pavilion, installed according to the project, offered by Klasikinis portikas, the winner of the project tender, was as complex and original as the neighbouring pavilions of Italy, Finland, Switzerland or other states, while its original façade (created by Aurimas Švedas) was well-visible from distance, inviting visitors to come take a look. And once you entered the pavilion, it offered loads of information and things to look at.
The central installation of the pavilion was surrounded by an information ring, featuring seven high definition monitors, showing videos about Lithuania, its energy industry, the use of renewable energy resources, cogeneration power plants, participation at international projects and, most importantly, how Lithuania managed to ensure complete energy-independence in such a short time – first of all thanks to the LNG terminal, as well as LitPolLink and NordBalt links.
The artistic light installation, which required 12 kilometres of cables and 3.5 kilometres of LED strips, created a special atmosphere of infinity. People liked staying here meditating or taking pictures.
Youth was particularly attracted to the interactive area, offering games on touchscreens and environmentally-friendly projects, developed by young designers, shown in a holographic pyramid or VR headsets, enabling to see the development of a cogeneration power plant, to “take a walk” in the Castle Tale, painted by the artist Čiurlionis or simply “fly” over Vilnius old town, the dunes of Neringa and other most beautiful places in Lithuania. Virtual trips around Lithuania were probably most impressive.
The visitors of the pavilion were also interested in Lithuanian bicycles, bicycle batteries, perfected by Lithuanian engineers, and, of course, high-quality Lithuanian solar batteries. They could be seen not only in the pavilion, but also the conference and exhibition hall above, referred to as the Solar Bar by the flows of visitors of the events. The room featured a solar battery wall, which generated energy for lighting, also tables, the bar itself and other furniture – everything made of Lithuanian solar batteries.

Lithuanians helped to host the reception for the Latvian National Day

The cafeteria-bar, serviced by Skonio slėnis company, impressed the visitors with their modern approach and a variety of choice, while the Eiffel Tower-shaped pancakes, “printed” using 3D technology attracted not only children, but adults as well.
Lithuanians were among the minority of the exhibition participants, who managed to overcome all obstacles and open their kitchen on time. While the German restaurant helped out Austria or the Netherlands, Latvians hosted their National Day and invited their guests, including the President of the country, to enjoy some delicious treats, supplied by Lithuania. The food, prepared by the Lithuanian kitchen, together with the most famous Latvian chefs, coming from Riga, was truly impressive.
Talking about important guests – their numbers were quite large. The opening of the exhibition was attended by seventeen state leaders, including the Presidents of Kazakhstan’s neighbours China and Russia, other CIS countries, the King of Spain and others. Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, visited the exhibition several times. The National Day events were attended by the Presidents of Germany, Finland, Poland and Latvia, also the Prince of Monaco, parliamentary representatives of Czech Republic and Spain, as well as other important guests.
Official delegations and all visitors were welcomed at the Lithuanian pavilion by a team of smartly-dressed tour guides, introducing the screens in the main light installation, featuring most important facts about Lithuania, its energy development and energy independence. Visitors were mostly attracted to the virtual reality videotheque and the interactive game zone. They could also refresh themselves with Lithuanian Vytautas and Akvilė mineral water. The majority were really keen on trying out the main means of transport of the pavilion’s guides – the original Lithuanian scooters.

Astana Celebrated the Lithuanian National Day

23 June was marked as the Lithuanian National Day. The events of the day were attended by Lithuania’s official delegation, led by Kęstutis Navickas, Minister of Environment. The programme of the National Day featured the official opening ceremony, visiting Kazakhstanian and Lithuanian pavilions, the festive concert of NIKO New Ideas Chamber Orchestra (led by Gediminas Gelgotas) at Kazakh National University of Arts and a diplomatic reception of the official participants of the exhibition.
The participants of the celebration were pleasantly surprised to hear the national anthems of Kazakhstan and Lithuania, performed live by the orchestra. The musical cooperation, created especially for the exhibition by the orchestra and Lithuanian performers, also earned thunderous applause.
During his speech, the Minister of Environment highlighted the importance of renewable energy resources and green technology in reducing the emissions of greenhouse gasses and implementing the commitments to reducing the climate change. Rapil Zhoshybayev, Commissioner of Expo 2017, who has worked at the Embassy of Kazakhstan in Vilnius for many years, welcomed the participants of the National Day in the name of the host country and highlighted the importance of the diplomatic and economic ties, which have been successfully developed for already twenty-five years.
In the eve of the National Day, Kęstutis Navickas, Minister of Environment of the Republic of Lithuania, met his colleague Gani Sadibekov, Vice-Minister of Energy of the Republic of Kazakhstan, visited Astana Solar company’s solar battery plant and a household waste recycling plant. Irena Šiaulienė, Deputy Speaker of the Republic of Lithuania, participated at the conference of the Lower Changer of the Parliament of Kazakhstan – Mazhilis – on the “Legal Basis of Innovation Economy”, while Darius Skusevičius, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs, met his colleague Roman Vasilenko, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Traian Hristea, Head of the EU delegation in Kazakhstan, and Abay Baigenzhin, Honorary Consul of the Republic of Lithuania in Kazakhstan.
The events of the National Day took the entire Friday, while the cultural programme was extended to Saturday as well. The impressive concert of the NIKO chamber orchestra was hosted at the main hall of the Kazakh National University of Arts – an idea, suggested by Aiman Mussakhajayeva, Rector of the University and world-famous violin player. Numerous of other impressive performances also took place in the main area of the Lithuanian pavilion – the LED installation, referred to as the infinity room or the magic box.

The Solar Bar: a place for official and cultural events, as well as informal communication

The Lithuanian pavilion hosted various thematic events, introducing the international art audiences to Lithuanian achievements in art, culture, science and industry.
During the daytime the Solar Bar hosted official meetings and openings of various exhibitions, while in the evenings employees from various other pavilions used to come here for some informal time.
After the National Day, on 27 June, the pavilion’s conference and exhibition hall hosted a conference, introducing tourism opportunities in Lithuania, attended by Taleb Rifai, the current Secretary-General of the United Nations’ World Tourism Organization.
Since then the Solar Bar of the Lithuanian pavilion used to host various events every Tuesday afternoon and each of them attracted lots of attention. In almost three months the pavilion featured a presentation of the Lithuanian Song Festivals, a performance of Remigijus Šilinskas, playing the unique wooden folk instrument – skrabalai, also song and dance ensembles, Malūnėlis folk dance ensemble from Kaunas Children’s and Pupils’ Leisure Chamber and an original music band Subtilu-Z. The pavilion also exhibited the pictures of Asija Radavičienė, the artist of Kazakh origins, now living and working in Lithuania. After a successful start at Expo 2017, these paintings were exhibited at the National Museum of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
Representatives of modern Lithuanian art also attracted lots of interest, featuring the installations of the painter Irma Leščinskaitė, the architects Gerda Antanaitytė and Andrius Laurinaitis, as well as the composer Linas Rimša. The visitors could also enjoy the works of Lithuanian press photographers. These were featured at Infrastructural Poetics, an exhibition, dedicated to renewable energy, as well as the personal exhibition of Andrius Repšys. Visitors were especially fond of the pictures taken by him in Kazakhstan using drones. The landscapes, captured by the photographer, featured not only the capital Astana, but also other cities – Karaganda and Almaty. New technology enabled to capture the most beautiful and interesting views, which mesmerized both Kazakhs and other participants of EXPO 2017.

Abay Baigenzhin, Honorary Consul of the Republic of Lithuania in Kazakhstan, awarded with a medal of honour

Lithuanian pavilion also constantly hosted official discussions and presentations. At the beginning of July representatives of the Ministry of Environment introduced the obligations regarding reducing the climate change and their implementation, representatives of Solitec company hosted a presentation of the highest quality Lithuanian solar batteries, while the Lithuanian energy strategies were introduced by researchers from Lithuanian Energy Institute and Aleksandras Stulginskis University from Kaunas.
At the end of the exhibition, the Lithuanian pavilion hosted an award ceremony of Abay Baigenzhin, the famous Kazakh doctor and the Honourary Consul of the Republic of Lithuania in Astana. Abay Baigenzhin was awarded with an order of concord “Pro augenda concodria” (For developing concord) and the ceremony was organised by the Lithuanian Concord Fund and the Embassy of the Republic of Lithuanian in Kazakhstan.

Lithuanian pavilion in the eye of the media

Lithuania’s participation at the exhibition was often covered by Lithuanian and Kazakh news media, reports on the activity at the pavilion were broadcasted on television and radio shows Labas rytas (Good Morning), Pradėk nuo savęs (Start With Yourself), etc.
The major events at the Lithuanian pavilion at EXPO 2017 were introduced on the official Lithuanian EXPO 2017 Facebook page. Throughout the entire exhibition, the page acquired several thousand followers, offering them the opportunity to be the first to see the pictures from the weekly events and official visits at the Lithuanian pavilion. Videos of the major events were especially popular. The visitors of the exhibition had an opportunity to find themselves among several hundreds of the original Feel the Light photos on Lithuania EXPO 2017 Facebook page as well. The effort and information, provided by the staff of the Lithuanian pavilion, received lots of positive feedback: the most popular photos and videos got lots of Likes, visitors of the exhibition also posted numerous messages, expressing their support and gratitude for an interesting concept of the pavilion and excellent team work in introducing Lithuania.

Commemoration of important dates and travelling on the paths of exiled Lithuanians

The team of the Lithuanian pavilion showed active support to events, initiated by other states: helped to plant trees from Poland at Astana Botanical Garden on the Day of Astana, participated at a costume parade and a talent show, organised by the Swiss pavilion, as well as international football tournament and other events.
As a tradition, on 6 July the Lithuanian pavilion celebrated the Statehood Day (Coronation Day of the King Mindaugas) and sang the Lithuanian Anthem. A delegation from the pavilion also visited Lithuanians in Karaganda. Among the most memorable events of the day was travelling on the paths of exiled Lithuanians, the Genocide Museum in Dolinka (not far from Karaganda) and a folk music evening at the Lithuanian Yard cultural and business centre, nearly completed by the businessman Vytautas Varasimavičius.

Lithuanian pavilion appreciated by professionals

At EXPO 2017 Lithuanian pavilion has been constantly mentioned among the most popular, most visited and most interesting pavilions, while the light installation inside earned the main award in the category of “Elements and Details” of the EXHIBITOR Magazine.
The international EXHIBITOR Magazine has been published in the United States of America for almost three decades. EXPO pavilions are evaluated by an international commission, this year featuring professionals from the USA, UK, Germany, Portugal, Argentina, Turkey and other states of the world. For the fourth time in a row the prize in the category of the best large pavilion was taken by the German pavilion, the editorial office of the magazine also gave a sympathy prize for France, while more than 50 thousand online voters elected Qatar as their favourite – perhaps for its shiny facade.
The prize in the category of “Elements and Details” is awarded by a professional commission, independently selecting their winner based solely on aesthetic and expert motives. Travis Stanton, the Editor of the magazine, sent a personal letter to the pavilion, congratulating Lithuania with this honourable award and highlighting the fact that we should truly be proud of it. According to him, the jury report states that the Lithuanian pavilion creates a moment of light, energy, and speed all frozen in time in an architectural space of high aesthetic value. The LED room gives the sense of being inside one of the country’s lasers. It was a phenomenally futuristic element. World expos are all about stand-out moments, and the LED installation in Lithuania’s pavilion, meant to represent the country’s lasers, was arresting and undeniably memorable on every level.
After the exhibition, Lithuania gave the World Expo Museum several souvenirs from the Lithuanian pavilion – the original scooters and the LED rays used at the pavilion. These, together with the exhibits from the previous exhibitions in Shanghai and Milan – the sculptural compositions I can and Balance, created by the artist Vytautas Karčiauskas from Klaipėda, were donated to the first and so far only Expo museum.

Commissioner of the Lithuanian section accepted an award on behalf of all EXPO 2017 participants

At the end of EXPO 2017, while celebrating the BIE Day (BIE – Bureau International des Expositions) a deep gratitude was expressed to everyone, who contributed to the success of the international exhibition EXPO 2017 – organizers, participants, architects, designers, volunteers and visitors. The huge effort of the Republic of Kazakhstan in organizing the exhibition was acknowledged with a BIE Golden medal. It was accepted by Astana Expo 2017 Board Chairman Akhmetzhan Yessimov. The second Golden medal for successful participation at the exhibition was awarded to all official participants of the exhibition – 115 countries in total. On behalf of all official participants the Golden medal of BIE was accepted by Romas Jankauskas, the Commissioner of the Lithuanian Section, who was the Chairman of the College of Commissioners and the Steering Committee of this exhibition. During three months the Committee held six formal meetings and even more informal meetings, revolving around various issues raised by all 115 participating countries and discussed under Lithuania’s Chairmanship. Following the closure of the exhibition, the Final report presented to its organizers and to the International Bureau of Exhibition states that with good faith on all sides the Steering Committee was able to resolve a large number of practical issues relating to the overall operation of the exhibition and is proud to have had the opportunity to contribute to the overall success of Expo 2017.

The next EXPO will take place in Dubai (UAE) in 2020.


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