For over 160 years World Expos have helped humanity make sense of change and navigate through difficult times by promoting education, innovation and co-operation.
The earlier Expos, from 1851 to the middle of the 20th century, were strongly influenced by the industrial revolution and the colonial ambition of the time.
Material progress based on technological innovation was at the heart of the exhibitions.
World War I & II completely modified the idea of technology as a source of progress: technology could be destructive and its use should be placed under social and political responsibility.After World War II, the fascination for material progress gave way to the promotion of human progress and international dialogue.
Technology was at the centre of Expos, but not as an end in itself, as a means for human development. Brussels 1958 was dedicated to "Progress and Mankind"; Seattle 1962 was about "Man in the Space Age" and Montreal 1967 was dedicated to "Man and his world."
By creating a peaceful discussion platform, Expos started contributing to global dialogue and fostering co-operation, namely with Montreal 1967 and Osaka 1970 that facilitated the "détente" of the early 1970s during the Cold War.