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The BIE and the Universal Expositions

The BIE and the Universal Expositions

Universal Expositions are huge international events that over a six month period provide a cultural, educational and commercial experience to visitors and participating countries. They offer a place where people from around the world can meet and talk, reinforcing cooperation between the different populations of the world. The Expos are managed by the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), the international governing body established in Paris in 1928 by the Convention Relating to International Exhibitions.
Il logo del BIE
The BIE defines the objective for the Expos as well as overseeing and regulating the calendar, the bidding and the organization of the event. It also ensures that the international rules regarding organization and participation are respected.

Today 168 countries are members of the BIE, each represented by one or two delegates. Any country can become a member of the BIE by signing up to the Convention. The last version was signed in 1988 and came into force in 1996. It divides the Expos into two categories:

Universal Expos
  • Time: every five years
  • Duration: up to six months
  • Participants build their own pavilions
  • The site area has no limits
  • The theme is general
International Expos
  • Time: between universal expos
  • Duration: up to three months
  • The organizer builds all the pavilions and then rents them to the participants
  • The site has a maximum area of 25 hectares
  • The theme is specific

Today the Expositions have become a place for international dialogue, public diplomacy and cooperation between countries. They have maintained their educational objective but have over time increasingly moved the focus towards the challenges for the international community.

Since the first edition in London in 1851, the expositions have attracted a huge number of visitors. During the 21st century worldwide interest has continued to grow with the number of visitors rising: Hannover 2000 (19 million), Aichi 2005 (22 million) and Shanghai 2010 (73 million).
The success of the Universal Expositions is based on the partnerships among people from all over the world. On October 30th, 2010, at Shanghai 2010’s Expo Cultural Center, where the biggest Universal Exposition of all time was held, the baton was passed to Expo Milano 2015 and to the global challenge that is defined within its Theme, Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life.
Scarica la Domanda di Registrazione presso il BIE (.zip)
Scarica il Dossier di Candidatura (.pdf)

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Expo Milano 2015 Supporting Initiatives