Expo 2020 Dubai: Meet the man who has been leading the Lithuanian Pavilion for 25 years

Commissioner General of the Lithuanian Pavilion in Dubai, Romas Jankauskas, has led the country's pavilions at nine Expo editions



Supplied photo
Supplied photo

By SM Ayaz Zakir

Published: Sat 11 Dec 2021, 3:56 PM

Last updated: Sat 11 Dec 2021, 7:36 PM

If there’s anyone who knows world expos like the back of his hand — that could be Romas Jankauskas, possibly the only project head who has been managing a country pavilion over a period of 23 years.

Jankauskas is the Commissioner-General of Lithuania Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai and Head of Expo Affairs at the Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Lithuania. He has led the country’s Expo participation for nine editions now — from Spain to China, South Korea, Italy, Kazakhstan and now in the UAE.

Expo 2020 Dubai acts as a bridge between the East and the West (the North and South as well). “Nearly all states of the world are participating at the Dubai Expo. This edition will help get to know the Expo from the inside even better. I would love to share this knowledge with the others,”

Talking about his experience of heading Lithuania at other Expos, Jankauskas says: “ Though they are held in different continents, economies and cultures. Yet the Expo is the same everywhere and so are the people that we get to know, thanks to the global fair.”

Jankauskas has accumulated vast experience and knowledge by being the Commissioner General of the Lithuanian Pavilion at Expos for several editions.

“Each time, whenever the location of the future Expo is selected, the hosting nation invites all governments of the world. These governments must decide if their country should take part, and the leadership team for their pavilions. Each country has its own ways of managing the participation at the Expo,” he explains.

“Since restoration of independence, Lithuania has not missed a single chance to take part at the World Expo, from Seville in 1992 to Dubai in 2021. I have no doubt that Lithuania will remain an active participant of the World Expo 2025 to be held in Osaka too,” he adds.

"The first World Expo that I witnessed was Expo 1998 Lisbon in which I was made the Commissioner General in 1996,” says Jankauskas. He had worked on a film about Lithuanian nature in that edition of the fair.

Jankauskas was appointed as the Chairperson of the Steering Committee of the College of Commissioners at Expo 2017, which hosted by the Capital of Kazakhstan, (called Astana then and now known as Nursultan). The contribution of the participants of the fair was acknowledged with a BIE gold medal that he received during the closing ceremony.

According to Jankauskas, Expo 2005 Aichi in Japan, which was themed ‘Nature’s Wisdom’, did everything to produce the least impact on the environment. Enormous parking lots had to be repalced with rice fields. It took less than a year to completely deurbanise the Youth Park, where the event was hosted.

“Expo 2008 Zaragoza in Spain was dedicated to sustainable development and the oceans. Lithuania had installed a House of Rain at the fair. It was a refreshing break before the most gigantic Expo, which until then, was held in Shanghai. In about half a year, the 5 square kilometres territory was visited by more than 73 million people. Just like the fair in Dubai. It was participated by nearly all states of the world. Back in the day, the Lithuanian Pavilion offered a virtual flight on a hot air balloon. It attracted sic million visitors, which was twice the number of its residents. In South Korea, at Expo 2012 Yeosu, we introduced Lithuanian amber treasures, and in Milan 2015, it was food,” he elaborated.

The most distinctive values that Lithuania brings to all these Expo editions are consistency and maturity. Lithuania has not missed a single Expo since restoration of their independence.

ayaz@khaleejtimes.com


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