The European Expo 2020 is a unique exploration of the importance of the European Union to its people and vice versa. Over the course of 2020 it will showcase Irish and other EU cultures, through education, entertainment and information. It takes the form of exhibitions to educate us about the work of the EU institutions, debates about the big issues facing the EU and our region and of course fun participatory events highlighting the common ties which bind us together. At its heart is an exhibition from the European Investment Bank Art Collection, called Belonging, to be based in venues across the city and curated by the Hunt Museum.
We have several partners (see below) already committed to bringing existing events under the European Expo banner: St. Mary’s Cathedral staging Ode to Joy, the European Anthem and a celebration of the birth of Beethoven; the Kemmy Business School, UL and RHH International running a more high level understanding of the politics and institutions of the EU; LC&CC running the Bastille/Wild Geese Festival with the Honorary Consul for France; a reunion of the UL Erasmus Alumni; national celebrations such as Romania day; the Art Business Europe conference; a high level economics conference Infiniti 2020; discussions on the importance of language from the Centre for European Studies; LSAD second-year students reflecting and interpreting the EIB Belonging exhibition; Mary I and the Limerick & Clare Education Training Board integrating Education as a core element; street parties from all our EU communities living in Limerick and much much more. It is a call out to future generations to look towards Europe and find ways of solving global issues around climate, migration, nationalism, finance, culture, economics etc.
Councillor James Collins, Cathaoirleach of the Metropolitan District of Limerick launched the European Expo 2020 by reinforcing the European credentials of Limerick and highlighting that it is looking to answer two key questions:
“This European Expo 2020 will help to demonstrate the role of the EU for each of us here in Limerick and to reinforce the European nature of Limerick and the region. We believe it is important to show, not just tell, what the EU has done and is doing for you.
At the launch John Moran, RHH International, Chair of the Hunt Museum, LDA and #LiveableLimerick said:
“The EU has been a force for development here in Limerick, but also across Europe, of a new shared community, not just a common market but the guardian of peace and European values.
The European Expo is a moment for each of us to get involved to show the world we care to protect this against forces wishing to pull us apart and to welcome others who aspire to be part of our community.
We want the year 2020 in Limerick to be a contemporary, people-focused, voyage of exploration through media like art, education, politics, culture and even sport. Discussions about the EU need to be interesting and exciting and involve everyone.”
Professor Kerstin Mey talking about the essential European nature of the University of Limerick said:
“Engagement of the UL, its staff and students is not only important from an institutional perspective. The extent to which globalisation is affecting Ireland demonstrates the need for more awareness of, and preparation for the impact of globalisation on the process of European integration. Developing Ireland’s direct links with other EU partners takes on a greater urgency, not only in the face of Brexit but with regard to the growing nationalism and populism across countries in Europe promoting cultural values of equality, inclusiveness and diversity.”
European Expo 2020 is a fantastic expression of who we are and we would encourage cultural organisations, community groups, businesses and everyone to get involved. Limerick is the testbed for the European Expo 2020 which is going to have major implications for Europe and the world. Limerick is going to lead the way in finding solutions for Europe.