MILAN — Barack Obama is here. The former President of the United States landed in Milan around midday — local time — on Monday. The main reason of his visit is the third edition of the Seeds & Chips international food summit, during which Obama will speak to 3,500 people.
Welcomed like a rock star, Obama arrived wearing denim pants and a leather jacket, and headed to the central Park Hyatt hotel, according to media reports. This is the same lodging chosen by Michelle Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia during their visit in June 2015, for the Expo.
Outside the hotel, a crowd of local supporters was waiting behind barriers to catch a glimpse of the former President. But that was not the case: for security reasons, Obama accessed the luxury hotel from a secondary entrance, while the whole city has strengthened defense measures for the visit.
After a lunch at the hotel, Obama headed to the Ambrosian gallery, which includes a historic library showcasing Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex Atlanticus volume of drawings and writings.
According to media reports, Obama’s agenda for the day also includes a meeting with Italy’s former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and a visit to Leonardo da Vinci’s “Last Supper.” In the evening, an exclusive dinner organized by the Obama Foundation will be hosted at the Ispi, the institute of international politics studies.
On May 9, the 44th president of the United States will be guest of honor at the Seeds & Chips summit, which runs May 8 to 11 at Rho Fiera Milano fairgrounds. The summit focuses on innovations in the food business, ranging from new production techniques and food security to the sustainability and accessibility of the food chain.
Obama will hold a 30-minute speech focusing on correct nutrition, food wastefulness and food of the future. In addition, he will talk with chef Sam Kass, Obama’s senior food policy adviser, who also took part in Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move program to contrast obesity in the U.S.
Kerry Kennedy, president of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights; Italian minister of Economic Development Carlo Calenda; Milan’s mayor Giuseppe Sala and Mehmood Khan, vice president of PepsiCo, will be among the other guests attending the summit.
The venue is expected to be sold out, with more than 3,500 people attending. According to media reports, some of them have spent up to 850 euros, or $930, to have a pass and gain access to Obama’s speech.