Obama visits Milan for Global Food Innovation summit

Mayor Sala will offer keys of the city.

Former US President Barack Obama arrived at Milan’s Linate airport around midday on 8 May for a brief visit with a packed programme.

The centre-point of his two-day visit is his speech on 9 May at the third Global Food Innovation Summit, timed to round off Milan Food Week and held at the Rho fairgrounds. In his first overseas engagement since leaving the White House in January, the former president will address the third Seed&Chips congress. The conference aims at becoming the global focus point for tackling the challenge of feeding the world’s growing population. Its second edition last year attracted nearly ten thousand visitors, 220 speakers and 200 start-ups.

Obama’s keynote speech is expected to be a 30-minute talk on correct nutrition, food waste and foods of the future. A 45-minute conversation will follow with Sam Kass, former White House chef, the ex-president’s counsellor on nutritional policy and prime mover of Michele Obama’s campaign against obesity in the US.

During his visit to Rho, Obama will be presented with the keys of the city by mayor Giuseppe Sala.

On his first evening in Milan, Obama met former PM and recently re-elected secretary of Italy’s Democratic Party Matteo Renzi, dined at ISPI, the Institute for International Politics with institute leaders and some 16 managers and politicians. But first he visited the Pinacoteca Ambrosiano gallery, with treasures including Leonardo’s Atlantic codex. He then walked to Milan’s iconic Duomo, where he was greeted by Archpriest Mons. Gianantonio Borgonovo.

After his two-day visit to Milan Obama will travel to Tuscany, where he will stay at the village of Borgo Finocchieto, the luxury retreat of former US ambassador to Italy John Phillips. His wife Michelle is expected to join him there.