The Foreign Service Journal - December 2015
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learn so much. Even for a Foreign Ser-

vice kid, there is nothing like having the

world’s nations together in one place and

getting to sample each one’s offerings.

The Olympics and the World Cup

do it for sports, but the expo does it for

people, business, history and culture—

and this year, food.

Thanks to Mr. Asada and the


for the historical overview and the

recommendations on what support

Washington might give to the next major

expo: Dubai 2020.

Kristin M. Kane


Embassy Paris

The U.S. Presence

at Expo 2015

I found Matthew Asada’s October article very interesting. As a citizen o


the current host country, Italy, I concur

with his description of the importance of

the American presence at such world’s

fairs. I was surprised to learn that their

political value is underestimated, if not

disregarded, in Washington.

Such an event has political implica-

tions, starting with the bid for hosting it.

Even though the Cold War and the need

for a “kitchen debate” are history, cur-

rent international tensions demand U.S.

attendance in settings that promote cul-

tural encounters and offer occasions for

soft power displays and dissemination.

Moreover, U.S. participation cannot

depend on private funding, as this would

undoubtedly affect content choices.

Exhibitions are expressions of

national identities: educational

institutions, nonprofit organizations and

the government should all have a say.

This doesn’t mean that corporations are

not shaping national and international

culture, but government should go

some way to delegitimize their overt

intervention in political matters.

I have to confess that I found the

U.S. pavilion in Milan somewhat

underwhelming. The landscape design

of the vertical farm was not adequately

explained, and the menu rotation of the

food trucks was hard to follow.

Some countries excelled in

elegance—for example, the Azerbaijani

pavilion with its amazing glass spheres,

which cost less than most other exhibits.

Others explored the expo’s main

theme, sustainable and responsible

(food) development. The beehive-

inspired British and farm-inspired

Belgian pavilions, for example,

showcased advancement in food

research and future prospects for

nutrition, respectively.

Since beauty, originality and

inventiveness were the elements

attracting visitors, I wish the USA had

done more. I hope it won’t miss the next

chance to shine.

Anna Romagnuolo

Former AFSA Intern (2000)

Assistant Professor of English, Tuscia


Viterbo, Italy

What Really Happened

in 1953


review of my book



of an Agent for Change in International

Development: My Flight Path into the

21st Century

) in your October issue is

fair, except for one item: your reviewer’s

take on the 1953 “coup” to oust Iranian

Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh.

Maria Livingston quotes one of my

statements (p. 61 of my book), then

dismisses it as “second guessing” and

counter to the revealed truth. But she

ignores my subsequent citation (p. 75)

of Ray Takeyh’s July 2014

Foreign Affairs

article and his conclusions.