SCO Day at Astana Expo: 100 white doves, a marathon race and a children’s symphony orchestra

SCO Day at Astana Expo

SCO Day was held on 27 August 2017 at the national centre of the Expo 2017 international specialised exhibition in Astana, Kazakhstan.

SCO Secretary-General Rashid Alimov addressed the hundreds of SCO Day participants who gathered in the summer concert hall. He said that the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation "is only 16 years old, but in this historically short period it has passed the test of time to become an integral part of the architecture of international relations, and that millions of people around the world have embraced the Shanghai Spirit."

Rashid Alimov recalled that "on 8 and 9 June of this year, Astana hosted an SCO summit where decisions were made to launch a new age in the organisation's history. The SCO today is the world's largest transregional organisation of countries with about half of the world's population."

The SCO Secretary-General said he was pleased that the energy of the Shanghai Spirit blended with the spirit of Future Energy, which is the main theme of the Export 2017. "I am sure that the synergy of these two energies can make life in the region and around the world better, safer and more stable," Rashid Alimov said.

He expressed sincere gratitude to President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev for inviting the SCO to take part in the Expo 2017 and also the Kazakhstani Foreign Ministry and the exhibition's management for their assistance with the SCO Pavilion.

The SCO Day's agenda was rich and diversified and included a three-hour-long concert of classical music played by the Beijing Golden Sail Junior Orchestra.

Visitors admired the 100 white doves that were released into the cloudless Astana sky.

Following the official opening ceremony, SCO Secretary-General Rashid Alimov and Deputy Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan Akylbek Kamaldinov visited Nur Alem, the central element of the exhibition that houses Kazakhstan's pavilion, and the pavilion of the SCO Family. They also signed the exhibition's honorary visitors book.

The final event was a gala reception on the occasion of SCO Day and the SCO and CICA International Marathon. Some 200 people were invited to the party, including marathon runners, winners and organisers, members of the Kazakhstani Government, prominent Kazakhstani cultural figures, ambassadors extraordinary and plenipotentiary from the SCO and CICA countries, as well as national commissars of the SCO and CICA pavilions.

SCO Day began at 7.30 am on 27 August 2017 with the SCO and CICA Astana Marathon, which became the largest sports and cultural event of the Expo 2017 in terms of scale and the number of participants.

Over 3 million people have visited the Export 2017 since 10 June 2017.

The SCO Pavilion opened on 10 June 2017. It includes a photo exhibition on the history of the SCO's development, which has some unique archival photographs. This exhibition was also on view at the UN Headquarters in New York in November 2016.

The centre of attraction in the SCO Pavilion is a gigantic drum that personifies the Shanghai Spirit and is extremely popular with the visitors. The drum is a replica of the copper-and-bronze sculpture that was made by Chinese sculptor Yuan Xikun for the SCO Secretariat in Beijing. It is believed that those who touch the drum will be filled with the powerful energy of the Shanghai Spirit and receive guidance in their lives.