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Milan Food Innovation Summit Hosts Barack Obama

Joelle Grosso (May 08, 2017)
Former US President Barack Obama arrived in the Italian city of Milan on May 8th to discuss the intersection between food security and climate change at the Seeds&Chips Global Food Innovation Summit.

Barack Obama touched down in Milan this week as the keynote speaker at the Seeds&Chips Global Food Innovation Summit, one of the biggest events worldwide that is dedicated to food innovation from farm to fork, where food and technology meet. Besides showcasing national and international talent, the four-day long affair also introduces cutting-edge solutions from all around the globe that will positively change humans’ relationship with food. 

Thoughts on Paris Agreement

In front of more than 3,000 people, the former US President delivered his keynote speech that focused on food security but he also made a point of stressing the importance of the Paris Agreement which aims to combat climate change. Signed in 2016, the agreement was made within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and deals with greenhouse gases emissions mitigation, adaptation, and finance starting in the year of 2020. It was adopted by the United States plus more than 190 other countries and sets out a global action plan to put the world on track to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming.

Although Obama enthusiastically supported the agreement during the last year of his presidency, the Trump administration has pledged to cancel it. However, in regard to climate change, Obama remains “confident that the United States will continue to move in the right direction.” He adds that, “the good news is, in part because of what we did over the last eight years, the private sector has already made a determination that the future is in clean energy. Investments are moving into clean energy.”

Other Appearances in Milan

Following the speech, he engaged in an hour-long conversation with his former White House chef and Senior Policy Advisor for Nutrition Policy, Sam Kass, where Obama shed some light on his daily life after his eight year presidency. He also met privately with the former Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi to discuss how to effectively set up “an efficient network of global activists.” Afterwards, he ventured out to explore the beautiful fashion and finance capital of Italy, including typical tourist stops at the Duomo Cathedral which lies in the heart of the city as well as a visit to see Leonardo da Vinci’s “Last Supper” where he was accompanied by the country’s culture minister, Dario Franceschini. He then attended a dinner hosted by the Institute for International Political Studies that was attended by friends and business leaders.

Overall, Obama says that his work after leaving the White House is to "train the next generation of leaders" in the world. He will stay in Milan for the remainder of the Seeds&Chips Global Food Innovation Summit.

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