Following several successful appearances in global exhibitions at the beginning of 20th century, Lithuania, having regained its independence, has subsequently participated in all the EXPO events to date, starting with the 1992 World Exhibition in Seville. I have personally had the honour to organise Lithuania’s presentation in the past five EXPO exhibitions, while Astana EXPO 2017 will be the sixth. Different cultures and traditions, each of them being richer than the other, different people all of whom are wonderful in a unique way, different nature, time zone, language and kitchen but all this is united by the same single goal – to present their country, to arouse interest in their homeland, to build ties, and to promote cooperation.
EXPO exhibitions always stretch beyond the limits of their theme because they are visited not only by experts of one or another field but millions of people, including celebrities and ordinary people, senior citizens and children who are our future. During several months of the Exhibition the Lithuanian Pavilion is usually visited by hundred thousands or even a million of people, and in the Shanghai Exhibition, it was visited by six million of people. Visitors can see not only our achievements in one or another field but they also meet our people who work in the Pavilion, taste Lithuanian national dishes and drinks, listen to our music, and find many interesting facts about our country, its history and culture.
In the contest for the idea and design of the Pavilion for the Astana Exhibition, the project based on the laser concept was selected from the nine proposals received. The members of the commission liked the project for its originality, the possibility of presenting different innovations not only in the energy sector but also in other fields; besides, lasers is something that Lithuania is proud of, as our scientists design and produce one tenth of all lasers intended for scientific purposes in the world. True, such lasers account only for three per cent in the overall global laser market but the fact that every tenth out of three per cent of the most complicated lasers is manufactured in Lithuania is a great achievement for our country. Besides, it is not the quantity that matters but their particularly high quality, uniqueness and broad potential uses in fundamental research, modern medicine and, of course, the energy sector.
On several occasions, when preparing for EXPO exhibitions, the idea that lasers could be presented in addition to high-quality Lithuanian traditional food and drinks, amber or basketball crossed our minds. Finally, the time for lasers has come, even though it will be hard to present them. Laser beams are impressive only in the dark and in the smoke or steam, which would be hard to have in the Pavilion due to all the safety requirements; therefore, many things will have to be simply simulated. As you have noticed, we emphasise not lasers but simply rays – Rays of the Future Energy – in the Pavilion theme. We found it very interesting that the word meaning the ray of the sun sounds the same – ‘saule’ – in both the Lithuanian and Kazakh languages. The ray in our cultures means much more than light transmission in the physical world; first of all, it is the symbol of science, culture, education of people and even of the freedom of nations and the fight against darkness. To be a ray and to shine ray is a responsible obligation.
The exposition will briefly overview the evolution of the Lithuanian energy sector and its most recent trends (the implemented LitPol Link and NordBalt interconnections, the connection of the country’s power grid with the Continental European network for synchronous operation, the successful use of the LNG terminal, etc.); however, a major focus will be placed on the use of renewable energy resources (RER) (wind farms and solar power plants, biofuels, and module production) and a responsible use of electricity (mass renovation of multi-storey buildings, new production technologies, passive houses, electromobiles, etc.).
Undoubtedly, the country’s exposition in such Exhibition should serve as its unique business card which provides information about the country’s geographical location, residents, language, membership in international organisations, etc. We will emphasise the diplomatic, economic and cultural ties between Lithuania and Kazakhstan. By showing our companies, scientific and educational institutions, resorts and sanatoriums, we will present Lithuania as a country which produces, creates, educates and empowers. Finally, we will announce the twentieth anniversary Song and Dance Festival and other events intended to commemorate the centenary of the restoration of the independent State of Lithuania.