theolynn

Ireland National Day at World Expo 2010, Shanghai – Day Four of the DCU Business School Trip to Shanghai 2010

In DCU Business School, Doing Business in China, Dublin City University, Ireland, MBS in Marketing, MSc in Business Management, MSc in E-commerce, Next Generation Management, Shanghai, Uncategorized, World Expo 2010 on July 18, 2010 at 9:00 am
The Irish Flag flies high at the entrance to the World Expo 2010, Shanghai on the Irish Pavilion Day, 17 June 2010.

The Irish Flag flies high at the entrance to the World Expo 2010, Shanghai on the Irish Pavilion Day, 17 June 2010.

World Expo 2010 is a huge event; more than 190 countries and more than 50 international organisations have registered to participate in the Shanghai World Expo, the largest ever. Over 70m people are expected to attend World Expo and while we were there over 500,000 people attended in one day. Each country has a pavilion day – Ireland’s National Day at World Expo 2010 took place on 17 June 2010 and I believe that DCU Business School was the only group of Irish students present.  Not that Ireland wasn’t represented, the good and great of the Irish diaspora in Ireland were joined by President Mary McAleese and her husband, Martin (both DCU honorary graduates), the Irish Chamber Orchestra and the Ernst and Young Entrepreneurs of the Year and many others. While our paths crossed, our day was made special by the efforts of our International students and their home country pavilions – an experience that the Irish delegation would have done well to experience.

We organised our World Expo tickets through ChinaGreen, which were promptly waiting at the hotel on our arrival. We kicked off at 7.30am in the lobby of the hotel to go native and take the metro to the World Expo.  Today was the first day we experienced a working day in Shanghai and we were not let down – the trains were packed!

Sean Donnelly and Brian Connolly struggle to stay upright in the throngs on the Shanghai metro

Sean Donnelly and Brian Connolly struggle to stay upright in the throngs on the Shanghai metro

Our group included students from 8 countries including Ireland and our goal was to visit each country’s pavilion. As part of our advance preparation, we contacted many of the pavilions and the response was overwhelmingly positive. As well as visiting the Irish pavilion, we  were being hosted by the Lithuanian, Maltese and Romanian pavilions. On Saturday, we would visit the German, Russian, USA and Saudi Arabian pavilions.

Tanya McNamara and Niamh NicClamha show off their coveted World Expo 2010 VIP passes.

Tanya McNamara and Niamh NicClamha show off their coveted World Expo 2010 VIP passes.

As we got off at Gate 8 at World Expo, Indrė Kumpikevičiūtė from the Lithuanian Pavilion greeted us and provided us with VIP passes for our stays – this was not insignificant, it meant we could skip the huge queues to the actual Expo and use VIP accesses to many pavilions.

Brian Connolly and Andrew Bonello discuss the queues to get in to World Expo as we proceeded to skip them via the VIP entrance.

Brian Connolly and Andrew Bonello discuss the queues to get in to World Expo as we proceeded to skip them via the VIP entrance. Note the Irish flag aloft for our National Pavilion Day.

As the week unfolded, we only had praise for Laurynas Binderis (one of DCU Business School’s Lithuanian students on the MSc in E-commerce (Business)) and assistance provided by the Lithuanian pavilion organisers. They not only provided us with passes but valuable guidance on the Expo and introductions to the German Pavilion, in particular.

DCU Business School Students pose with the Lithuanian Pavilion Representatives outside of the Lithuanian Pavilion at World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

DCU Business School Students pose with Indrė Kumpikevičiūtė outside of the Lithuanian Pavilion at World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

Fresh with our new-found knowledge of the Balts, Andrew and I did a quick dash to the Irish Pavilion to pick up our tickets for the Irish Chamber Orchestra to the President later in the day. We were delighted to find that they expected us and we were let through the VIP entrance to collect our tickets and Irish fans (fans, not people) and rush back to meet the rest of the group at the Maltese Pavilion.

Our Lithuanian friends played an important part in the success of our World Expo 2010 visit.

Our Lithuanian friends played an important part in the success of our World Expo 2010 visit. Indrė Kumpikevičiūtė (Lithuanian Pavilion) and Laurynas Binderis (DCU Business School MSc in E-commerce (Business))

The Maltese Pavilion was an important stop for our group. Andrew Bonello, my Research Assistant, a DCU MSc in E-commerce (Business) graduate, and someone I have spent a lot of time with, has spoken to me many times about Malta, their culture and I guess I have benefitted, through Andrew, from their education system.

Just in case you didn't know. Andrew loves Malta. Andrew Bonello at the Maltese Pavilion, World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

Just in case you didn't know. Andrew loves Malta. Andrew Bonello at the Maltese Pavilion, World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

Once again, the Maltese welcome was excellent and Alexia Stafrace and Oliver Xuereb (Asst. Maltese Commissioner) organised a special presentation on Malta for us. Our visit started with a video on Malta followed by a special personal presentation by Alexia in front of each exhibit giving us a taste of Malta’s history, culture and industrial heritage. Malta is also a small island nation in the EU and we have more in common than different; indeed in a particular piece of Irishness, Alexia knew Andrew where she was his cub scout leader!

It really is a small world. Andrew Bonello meets his childhood Maltese cub scout leader at the Maltese Pavilion, World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

It really is a small world. Andrew Bonello meets Alexia Stafrace, his childhood Maltese cub scout leader at the Maltese Pavilion, World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

Like Lithuania, the Maltese included a traditional Maltese bar, Cafe Jubilee, in their Pavilion offering rest and respite to Expo visitors but also showcasing the Maltese drinks industry. It was surprisingly like an Irish bar and Andrew, Micheal and I had a very entertaining conversation with Alexia over a couple of pints of Cisk and Kinnie (Alexia and I, at least, were on duty), the former a Maltese beer brand and the latter a Maltese soft drink made of bitter lemons and herbs (an acquired taste which I duly acquired!).

Laureen Morrissette and Dan Higgins enjoy a Cisk beer in the Maltese Pavilion, World Expo 2010, Shanghai

Laureen Morrissette and Dan Higgins enjoy a Cisk beer in the Maltese Pavilion, World Expo 2010, Shanghai

After a quick bite to eat in the Canadian Pavilion (Burgers and Poutine, of course!), we assembled outside the Expo Auditorium for the Presidential performance by the Irish Chamber Orchestra.

Irish and proud. The DCU Business School group outside the Expo Auditorium, World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

Irish and proud. The DCU Business School group outside the Expo Auditorium, World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

The Expo Auditorium is a fabulous performance space and we were grateful to Jim Blighe and Niall McCrory from the Irish Pavilion for organising our invites.

The Irish Chamber Orchestra with President Mary McAleese

The Irish Chamber Orchestra with President Mary McAleese

After the performance, we headed for a visit to the Irish Pavilion where we met Neven Maguire on his way in to visit the Pavilion too. After bribing the two Chinese security guards with DCU pins, we progressed through the Irish Pavilion. The Irish Pavilion is located well, near to the very popular German Pavilion, and has a strong exterior presence with a grass covering. Of course being the Irish Pavilion Day, as soon as we got to the Irish Pavilion, it bucketed rain!
Irish Pavilion Entrance, World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

Irish Pavilion Entrance, World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

After establishing the location of Ireland relative to China on the map, the Exhibit brings visitors through Irish history, geography, and culture (with a somewhat odd exhibit of Irish kitchens throughout the ages) and a video of Irish dancing. It is difficult to be objective about the Irish Pavilion as it is aimed at educating the native Chinese on Ireland and clearly we weren’t this. Notwithstanding this, it lacked some piece of groundbreaking technology or multimedia pieces to attract the throngs of Chinese queuing up for the Japanese, German and Saudi Arabian pavilions and for my taste, lacked insights in to the Ireland has a hub for high technology. After our discussions with the Chinese Agents and Xiaoxia, I think the latter is incredibly important if we are to establish Ireland in the minds of prospective students and their parents. Surprisingly, no Irish pub?
The DCU Business School Shanghai 2010 Group pose outside the Irish Pavilion on Irish Pavilion Day, 17 June 2010, World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

The DCU Business School Shanghai 2010 Group pose outside the Irish Pavilion on Irish Pavilion Day, 17 June 2010, World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

After a quick stop to sample the Austrian Pavilion (who also facilitated VIP access – Thank you Lynn Wang!) and their many augmented reality applications, we proceeded over to the Romanian Pavilion where Nick Opris (one of DCU Business School‘s Romanian students on the MSc in E-commerce (Business) programme) organised for VIP access and a tour of the Pavilion.
Nick Opris and one of the Romanian Pavilion Team at World Expo 2010 who looked after us so well. The view from the top of the Romanian Pavilion looks over Happy Street, the Dutch Pavilion.

Nick Opris (DCU Business School MSc in E-Commerce (Business)) and Gheorghe Dinu from the Romanian Pavilion at World Expo 2010 who looked after us so well. The view from the top of the Romanian Pavilion looks over Happy Street, the Dutch Pavilion.

The Romanian Pavilion was great, much bigger than the Irish one, and we were lucky to reach it just in time for a 20-minute concert full of drums and brass. Following the concert, the Romanian Pavilion team invited us to view the World Expo site from their VIP lounge and balcony. This was a great honour and much appreciated and it is a pleasure to thank and include Gheorghe Dinu and Nicolae Mitu as our new friends from the trip. Again we learnt much of Romania, not least the quality of their exceptional wine!
The Concert at the Romanian Pavilion at World Expo 2010 rested our feet and lifted us for the rest of the evening.
The Concert at the Romanian Pavilion at World Expo 2010 rested our feet and lifted us for the rest of the evening.
Our final official stop at World Expo 2010 for the day was dinner at The Porterhouse. The Porterhouse Brewing Company have set up a traditional Irish pub and restaurant on site at World Expo and played an important role in our trip. Frank Ennis, one of the Directors, told us of his plans for World Expo in November 2009 and this partly inspired us for our trip. Unfortunately, The Porterhouse isn’t based in the Irish Pavilion, probably due to spatial reasons – I think this was a missed opportunity for both sides. We had a “traditional” carvery dinner which to be honest was a bit expensive but we didn’t really care – after a long day around the Expo everyone was both tired and famished and some familiar food hit the spot!
Niamh NicClamha, Ciara Dolan, Laurynas Binderis, Sean Cullivan, Joe Cullinan, Tanya McNamara and Rob Elliffe toasting the Irish Pavilion Day at The Porterhouse, World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

Niamh NicClamha, Ciara Dolan, Laurynas Binderis, Sean Cullivan, Joe Cullinan, Tanya McNamara and Rob Elliffe toasting the Irish Pavilion Day at The Porterhouse, World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

We weren’t the only group booked in for dinner – the Ireland-China Association was also present (with DCUBS‘s good friend, Deirdre Walsh of ChinaGreen) and we shared business cards and helped develop some guanxi with Irish and Chinese businesspeople alike. Afterward I believe a fight broke out between two pints, yes two pints not people but I know nothing about that!
Duelling pints outside The Porterhouse, World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

Duelling pints outside The Porterhouse, World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

World Expo 2010 doesn’t close up until late and to be honest it is quite nice to wander around when the crowds have left. Our various new friends at pavilions gave us some great behind-the-scenes insights. Every night there were 3 or 4 parties at different pavilions and when we were leaving, the Argentinians were getting going as their World Cup match played out. While some of the group checked out the Expo, many headed back to the hotel by cab or train (both were easy to catch) to get some sleep or a few drinks in the “Man Club”.
No Irish night should end without taking a ride on a sheep. World Expo 2010 was no different. Laurynas Binderis, NIamh NIcClamha, Ciara Dolan and some plastic sheep at World Expo 2010, Shanghai

No Irish night should end without taking a ride on a sheep. World Expo 2010 was no different. Laurynas Binderis, NIamh NIcClamha, Ciara Dolan and some plastic sheep at World Expo 2010, Shanghai

More photos on flickr. Day Five to follow….

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