Two friends and a plate of cod à Brás
The only thing that António Mega Ferreira, considered to be the ‘father’ of Expo’98, doesn’t remember is the date. The year was 1989 and it was a Thursday, the day when cod à Brás was served at the legendary Martinho da Arcada, in Lisbon. Longstanding friends Mega Ferreira and Vasco Graça Moura, then working together on the Discoveries Committee, were exchanging ideas between mouthfuls. Portugal’s commissioner at Seville’s Expo in 1992, Graça Moura, threw down the challenge: “What if we held an international exposition?” Mega Ferreira was caught by surprise. “The regulations of the BIE (Bureau International des Expositions) provide for a smaller exposition than the one in Seville”, Graça Moura pointed out.
Full of enthusiasm, the two friends voiced their thoughts out loud and traced the paths. The first theme to emerge was “East meets West”, an “Oriental Market which would be a meeting in Lisbon of eastern technologies and western know-how. They quickly dropped this idea after studying the universal exposition regulations. After that they moved onto the idea of the sea and oceans. That summer they submitted the outline of the idea to the Government.