How to effectively communicate and coordinate agricultural communication

I was thrilled to give the keynote speech at the COPA-COGECA Seminar “Coordinated and effective communication for assuring a viable and sustainable EU agriculture sector and Common Agricultural Policy.” Being this a key theme of Expo 2015 Milano where I was in charge of Digital Communication for the European Union pavilion, I was excited to have another opportunity, two years after the Expo, to reiterate the importance of bringing about a solid dialogue and a concrete set of policies to face the challenge of feeding the planet with 9 billion people expected in 2050. Here are my words at the event. What do you think is key in promoting solid agricultural communication? Let me know in the comment section below.

The EU Common Agriculture Policy has been a cornerstone of EU integration. Upon its construction, development and management depend so many other policies and political circumstances that need to be analysed separately in terms of impact but also holistically in terms of the ramifications that these policies bring into Europe and the world.

When we talk about communicating on CAP and agriculture at large we do not only talk about farming. Agricultural communication also addresses all subject areas related to the complex enterprises of the food-feed chain. We talk about food safety, animal welfare, rural issues, natural resources management from water to solar power, we talk about jobs, science, research and funds, renewable energy and we discuss issues that have an impact at the local level but that affect policies and politics globally.

Furthermore, the range of action of agricultural communicators  spans all participants, from scientists to consumers – which makes their job hard in facing challenge one: “WHEN YOU COMMUNICATE TO EVERYBODY , YOU COMMUNICATE TO NOBODY”

When we talk about coordinated and effective communication to ensure a viable and sustainable EU agriculture, the first question to answer is “who are we talking to?” Is it going to be consumers, producers, distributors, lobbies, groups of interests, retailers or policy makers? Whatever the answer, be assured there is no overall valid communication strategy and approach that can be applied to all these audiences. To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.

There are different ways you can communicate issues related to agriculture. You can do it in a soft way. Showing photos of happy cows, producing milk for babies or another family out on a pic-nic, biting an apple in order to educate people towards a more healthy lifestyle…You can do it more aggressively, for instance by highlighting the challenges and dangers of not implementing a sustainable global strategy to feed the projected 9 billion people expected to inhabit the planet in the year 2050. You can do it more institutionally, by informing systematically about all laws, directives and regulations published by the institutions. You can do it more strategically, by shedding light on the fact that even though more and more people are getting out the threshold of poverty over the past 20 years (largely thanks to the stronger economy of China), the gap between malnutrition and obesity is getting wider, highlighting the necessary need to not only focus on resources, distribution and funds but especially on education towards a healthier and more sustainable diet and awareness about intensive production of foods that could have significant impact on the way we can feed the planet in the near future.

Certainly something you cannot do is to communicate passively, which means shooting out information and hoping that “somehow” by some sort of act of faith, your stakeholders will read it, share it or comment about it or simply click on the “Read more” link… You gotta go get those likes, shares and followers through engaging and targeted content. You have to learn how to use hooks in a thumb scrolling society. Success in management requires learning as fast as the world is changing.

As digital strategist for the European Union at Expo Milano 2015, the biggest ever event on food and nutrition which welcomed over 20 million visitors in 6 months, we had a number of challenges which affected the way we communicated and managed the brand of the European Union.

As a global player in the debate on food and sustainability, the European Union (EU) should seek to reinforce its position, highlight its achievements and, most importantly, take this opportunity to work towards finding common solutions to these issues with other international organisations, countries and private stakeholders. The EU leads the way in terms of promoting quality food and ensuring food security and safety and environmental sustainability.

Indeed, with over 800 million people facing hunger in less economically developed countries and high and increasing levels of obesity and non-communicable diseases in developed countries, now is the moment to act. Ill-informed food choices, dwindling natural resources, climate change and threats to the world’s biodiversity are all issues that need to be tackled urgently. Expo Milano 2015 focused the World’s attention on addressing these challenges and provided a platform to deliberate on these pressing issues.

What is needed is the intelligent management of Earth’s resources. If we really wish to put an end to our ongoing international and social problems, we must eventually declare Earth and all of its resources as the common heritage of all the world’s people.

The coordination challenge: You should not sacrifice efficiency for the sake of over inclusiveness. You want to listen to everybody but it is up to you to make decisions and be held accountable. Establish a chain of command meaning that give everybody the chance to contribute but as communication manager don’t feel necessarily obliged to make everybody happy or visible. If you are the communication manager, be the manager. Make decisions.

When you coordinate a varied communication project, you will be under pressure to make some content or activity more visible than others. Keep the vision of your target audience, your brand, your mission statement clear in mind so that you know how to make holistic decisions that will affect your final goals. Plato used to say that “Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something.” As a manager you will have to make that distinction.

Our task is very hard as communicators because most communication consumers think they can be communication producers, not because you know how to eat that means that you know how to cook. Meaning that not because you can read, or because you use Facebook and Twitter or because you watch videos on YouTube you are a communication expert and the expertise required to make content attractive and engaging is the product of years of work, not the improvisation of skills. As communication professionals there is a risk in selling ourselves short for the sake of accommodating non-experts in our field.

Be confident of your communication skills. Be confident of your experience and the science you apply when communicating to your audience and be confident as a manager, because you are accountable for the results you will or will not obtain.
As communicators for create global causes you should feel as both managers and leaders. Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things. And you have the chance to do both.



Grabbing community building by the horns

“This Expo is for those who take it… it’s up to you what you make of it.” This is what I remember most from my conversations with the other communication managers taking part in this year’s Expo – an unprecedented event which I believe truly changed Italy. And in terms of EU digital communication, I think we really did make the most of it. The EU had the most engaging social media presence in the whole Expo, and, for me, it clearly shows that it is possible to make Europe appealing if we humanise our communication and target ‘real citizens’. This is how we tried to do just that.

The first thing we did to change the communication mindset was to get some new running shoes. Yes, for real. Effective community management can no longer be done sitting in front of your computer. The more we digitalise our relations, the more human relations matter in community building. So, I needed to get out, to meet people, and to talk to communication professionals from all over the world, in order to seize the historic moment of the first real socialmedia World Expo.

Photo: Valentina Macciotta

Second, we explored how people around the world did communication – and it turns out that it’s not all about likes, retweets and followers but actually about making real human connections with those influencers, stakeholders and participants that can make your message travel further. A cup of coffee is far stronger than a retweet when developing communication networks. (For the record, the EU did pretty well when it came to the figures, too – our Facebook page had 51 500 followers, the Twitter account more than 18 000, Instagram over 5 000, while the website had more than 250 000 visitors).

Third, we focused on communicating Europe to citizens. “You’re crazy if you want to do this at a World Expo,” I was told – but thousands of social media users clearly disagreed. Expo brought the world to Milan and we brought Europe to the world with a simple message – ‘We are stronger together’. We did it by merging digital communication and personal connections.

Could this be the way ahead, the way to most effectively bridge the gap between citizens and policymakers? The time is ripe and we certainly have the tools – and the experience – to do it. So why not call me for coffee and we’ll talk about it.

Photo: Valentina Macciotta

#MyExpo2015 Awards – Best Content Centre

My Expo 2015 Award for Best Content Centre goes to the German Pavilion.

TheIR exhibition focuses not only on pioneering projects and solution approaches from politics, business and research, but also on the great dedication from society at large. With many surprising examples, ideas and its motto “Be active”, the Pavilion seeks to awaken the joy each individual can find in taking action and making a personal contribution. The Pavilion is therefore in many ways an invitation to its visitors to join in.

The exhibition takes visitors on a journey covering the basics of nutrition. In six rooms that each focus on a different area, the German pavilion creates awareness of nature as the basis of our nutrition and, at a multitude of stations, presents solutions and ideas from Germany for food security in the future, many of which are unusual and surprising.

Fascinating technology made in germany

Innovative technologies also play a major role in the German Pavilion. The “SeedBoard” in particular is an entirely novel and surprising exhibition experience as it gives visitors the opportunity to discover the topics and contents in a very individual way. It is a personalised “Field of Ideas” with which visitors can call up media, start films or navigate through a variety of con- tent formats. The pavilion visit thus becomes a very personal adventure which, at the same time, makes it possible to directly experience fascinating technology made in Germany.

German Pavilion Expo 2015 - Cardboard + hansd

Research container

The German Pavilion offers a view into some of its most innovative research projects working on solutions for securing our food supply in the future. Several containers integrated into the pavilion façade allow visitors to take a look “inside” the work currently going on in these projects with their new ideas and solution approaches.

German Pavilion Expo 2015 - Content centre Cardboard

A playing field for children

Children also have many possibilities to join in and be active in the exhibition. In addition to dedicated children’s thematic stations, there is also a special route waiting just for them where they can set off and look for tomatoes for a tomato sauce, and, in doing so, learn a lot about nature and our food.

German Pavilion Expo 2015 - Content centre (3) German Pavilion Expo 2015 - Content centre (4) German Pavilion Expo 2015 - Content centre (10)Water Clean + unpolluted

As the source of all life, water is an extremely precious commodity and needs to be handled carefully. This room displays ideas and solutions for the efficient supply and environmentally friendly usage of this vital resource.

German Pavilion Expo 2015 - Content centre Squid and OctopusSoil: Fertile + productive

Soil is the basis of our nutrition and a complex ecosystem that supplies plants with all the nutrients they require. Protecting and maintaining soil is therefore essential for food security in the future – and the theme of this room.

German Pavilion Expo 2015 - Content centre

Climate: Stable + life-sustaining

Climate plays a crucial role in the profitability of agriculture. Using project examples from Germany, the exhibition shows how the necessity of greater harvests can be harmonised with the necessity of sustainability and climate protection here.

German Pavilion Expo 2015 - Content centre (9)

Biodiversity: abundant + precious

The variety in nature is our insurance against changing environmental conditions. Understanding, preserving and making use of this diversity is one of the greatest challenges of our time. This room offers insights into exciting ideas and solutions created in Germany.

German Pavilion Expo 2015 - Content centre (11)

Food: Secure + sustainable

What would we like to eat in future? What expectations do people have of food production today? In this room, visitors are confronted with these questions in the midst of the great diversity of food that is produced and consumed in Germany.

German Pavilion Expo 2015 - Content centre Food Secure and sustainable

My Garden of Ideas

This is a place full of ideas and activities, a colourful and vibrant place in which visitors can discover new and surprising things all over the place. It shows how our ideas and actions can have a positive effect on the way we deal with nature and on our food.

German Pavilion Expo 2015 - My Garden of Ideas

The European Union at Expo wins the Euromediterraneo2015 Communication Award

The scientific program of the European Union at Expo Milano 2015 is one of the “best practice” selected at the international level. This is the reason why the European Union has received the “Euromediterraneo2015” prize from Confindustria Assafrica & Mediterraneo and Associazione Italiana della Comunicazione Pubblica e Istituzionale (Italian association of public and institutional communication).

The “Euromediterraneo” is one of the most prestigious prizes in Italy in the realm of public communication at the national level. The European Union has been awarded in the 2015 edition titled “Next Europe, Next Med, Next Communication Tools” because the scientific debate has been recognised as one of the most important content of Expo Milano 2015.

“Since the beginning of this Expo – said David Wilkinson, Commissioner General for the EU Participation at Expo –  the promotion of the European Union policies has been a real challenge. We have counted mostly on our scientific contents, trying to encourage a concrete discussion around the scientific community. It is an honour for us to receive such award. Our commitment has been recognized. The scientific committee is now working to collect all the information and considerations gathered throughout the duration of Expo. Next 15 October our  Steering Committee  will present some recommendations to the European Union institutions”.

Expo, giornalismo e social

Ho avuto il piacere di fare due chiacchiere con Cinzia Boschiero sul lavoro svolto dal padiglione dell’Unione europea a Expo Milano e sulla posizione del Community Manager. Ringrazio Cinzia e vi invito alla lettura del pezzo

In questo nostro viaggio sul  giornalismo ai tempi dei social, non poteva mancare una puntata dedicata a uno degli eventi, anzi l’Evento, che più deve fare i conti con la comunicazione: e cioè Expo 2105.

E lo facciamo con un collega Marco Ricorda che al Padiglione Europeo  ha la responsabilità della comunicazione digitale. Allora Marco, spiegaci bene cosa fai ad Expo, e perché ti definisci  un “community manager”? Una parola impegnativa…

“Sì, una parola impegnativa. In quanto questo ruolo viene spesso confuso con altri ruoli, attinenti alla gestione dei social. Io invece come community manager del Padiglione Europeo,  in un ufficio proprio davanti all’Albero della vita a Palazzo Italia,  mi occupo di gestire la comunicazione digitale del nostro progetto…

Senti, ti interrompo un attimo e approfitto del tuo particolare osservatorio. Come sta andando Expo 2015?

“Benissimo, io sono impressionato da questo oceano di gente che vedo sempre dalla mattina alla sera. E’ una marea. Io mi aspettavo un flusso altalenante. Invece è un flusso  continuo e bellissimo con punte di 250 mila visitatori al giorno.  La parola che mi piace usare è: contagioso:  un flusso contagioso di gente. Soprattutto queste scolaresche  fantastiche, con bambini  anche delle scuole elementari, che apprezzano lo stare insieme. E poi gli educatori, i maestri, che a loro volta  rilanciano  il fattore educativo di questa esposizione”

Bene, tornando al tuo ruolo dicevi che ti occupi di gestire la comunicazione  digitale del Padiglione europeo.  E  che lo fai come Community manager.  Perché questo ruolo è così importante?

Perché ormai la comunicazione digitale non utilizza più i social  come mezzi di  trasmissione e  di informazioni già pubblicate, Non fa cioè broadcasting,  ma vuole creare e consolidare  una”comunità di utenti”.  Nel nostro caso una comunità interessata a ciò che l’Unione europea fa  a proposito dei temi di Expo, su tutto ciò  quindi che implica la nutrizione del pianeta”.

Ma com’è questo progetto?

“Il progetto ha una caratteristica particolare.  Mi spiego. Forse non tutti sanno che l’ Unione europea non ha un ufficio, un riferimento fisico.  C’è la Commissione Europea, il Parlamento e  il Consiglio europeo, ma non puoi telefonare all’Unione Europea. Noi siamo quindi il primo vero progetto comunicativo  interistituzionale. Siamo qualcosa di unico.  E solo la piattaforma che  fornisce Expo ci permette di parlare a nome di tutti. Dunque io gestisco le community di tutta l’Unione europea e non solo delle singole istituzioni…”

Okay. Banalizzando per i non addetti, tu a Expo  sei il raccordo  tra Unione europea  e tutti coloro che sono interessati alle sue iniziative sulla nutrizione del Pianeta. Va bene, ma prova a spiegarci come lavori. Se hai una notizia fresca che dal Padiglione Europeo  vuoi far arrivare a tutti, cosa fai?

“Beh,  in realtà il grosso del lavoro è già stato fatto. Arrivare a un avvenimento come Expo richiede un grande allenamento… Dunque sono diversi mesi che sto creando comunità, soprattutto con gli altri padiglioni dei paesi dell’Unione Europea, per creare canali di comunicazione rapidi.  Faccio un esempio: voglio far sapere  ai nostri utenti di una  visita ufficiale al nostro padiglione? Bene, ricevuta questa informazione,  la giro subito con i nostri  social alle comunità che abbiamo  già creato.   Ormai si è creata una attesa. Abbiamo 50mila fans su Facebook che sanno di cosa parliamo e si aspettano che questi contenuti vengano forniti  in tempo reale. Siamo anche molto forti su  Twitter dove naturalmente la comunicazione è più immediata, meno ricca di parole, ma l’effetto bilaterale è molto più potente. L’utente twitter si aspetta subito una risposta”

Ogni Social ha suo pubblico?

“Sì, certo, e il pubblico viene chiamato appunto comunità. Su Facebook è molto importante l’aspetto visivo. Un post su Facebook senza una bella foto non raggiunge  tutta la comunità.

Su twitter invece il flusso informativo deve essere più regolare, frequente, ma non deve essere uno spam. Dunque ti avvicini  a persone che sono abituate a ricevere un flusso costante di informazione,  ma a loro discrezione. Su Instagram l’elemento visivo è ancora più importante che su Facebook. Il testo è un complemento, ma l’essenza dell’immagine deve dire al visitatore cosa può aspettarsi da una  vista al nostro padiglione o da altre iniziative. Dunque ogni comunità ha metodi di comunicazione diversi e questo per noi è molto  importante da capire e da riutilizzare”

Bene, tante opportunità. Quali sono invece gli svantaggi lavorando sui social?

“In realtà, io ci trovo solo dei vantaggi. Gli elementi negativi sono così pochi che spesso vengono messi sotto il tappeto. Lo svantaggio maggiore  è soprattutto la scarsa controllabilità  dei social. Noi abbiamo una nostra  hashtag che però non ci difende da una eventuale valanga di twitter mirati a bloccare il tuo canale d’informazione. Qui siamo ancora vulnerabili, ma ci stiamo attrezzando rapidamente”.

Ultima cosa:  qui parliamo spesso di come i social stanno cambiando il giornalismo, tu che sei in prima linea cosa ne pensi?

Penso che tutti gli operatori dell’informazione devono adattarsi. Si andrà sempre più a digitalizzare a e velocizzare  la nostra informazione: e  soprattutto gli utenti saranno sempre più esigenti nel riceverla.  Una informazione  rapida, digitale e condivisibile in tempo reale. Questa è una esigenza  più del pubblico  che del fornitore di informazione, ma solo i fornitori che si adatteranno possono  sopravvivere al cambiamento.  La sfida è soprattutto a livello televisivo. Giornali on line e radio hanno fatto grandi passi avanti. Ma a livello televisivo si può fare di più integrando la dimensione social con quella televisiva per raccogliere in maniera  efficace il cosiddetto feed back. Molte televisioni sportive sono già  avanti, avendo anche la possibilità  di raccogliere le sollecitazioni di un  pubblico  molto passionale.

Per l’informazione  molto bravi sono anche i colleghi  di Al Jazeera  che  offrono un  ottimo esempio al riguardo: nell’integrazione cioè  tra social e tv.  Il riscontro  con l’utente è un tesoro per il giornalista e soprattutto  per il conduttore televisivo”.

Russian pavilion visits the European Union at Expo 2015 Milan

The Russian pavilion at Expo 2015 Milano is pretty amazing in terms of what it offers to visitors. A great design, beautiful shows that open up your eyes towards the tradition, the heritage and the prospects of the country and, last but not least, the best, most active and dynamic communication team of this unique World Expo.

During their mascotte tour , a lovely bear named Mishka (who’s having tremendous success in Expo), around the pavilions of Expo, I was given the chance to explain in a nutshell what is the main message the European Union is trying to convey to the millions of visitors that have spilled over the Expo site, but also to those who can’t make it to Milan. To grant a sustainable future in terms of food and nutrition, it is necessary to combine tradition and science in a way that guarantees the respect for the earth for ourselves. Access to food will be available to all only if we collaborate.

Russian_pavilion_visits_European_UnionThe story of “The Golden Ear” answers the question: is it possible to obtain food security through good cooperation not only among countries but also between science and agriculture, and between innovation and tradition? In fact, the protagonists are a researcher and a farmer: two neighbours who are quite different, a metaphor of the European Union’s motto: unity in diversity.

Great thanks to the colleagues of the Russian pavilion and to Maria Yudina for conducting the interview.



#MyExpo2015 awards – Best Communication

My personal award for Best Communication at Expo 2015 Milano goes to the Russian Pavilion

Why? Three words:

  • Innovation
  • Creativity
  • Engagement

The communication team of the Russian pavilion is doing an outstanding job in promoting their activities, their brand and encourage people to visit them. Considering their followership and their visitors’ count, I guess their communication is totally working. Apart from the simple investment in communication outreach, their efforts in branding their presence at Expo displays some pretty unique features that definetely make them stand out from the crowd. This happens in an enviroment where already thousands of very capable communication professionals have gathered. Ergo, I take my hat off in front of this team’s terrific effort and results.


Being innovative means being either unique or the first to do something. The Russian pavilion have done that with Russia Expo 2015 TV. which is a pretty awesome and effective idea. Often conducted by Masha, their TV is very interactive. It is not just broadcasting the activities of the pavilion but it engages with visitors, guests, VIPs and, most importantly with many other Expo stakeholders (Expo organizers, other pavilions and partners). This product does requires a bit of effort, a dedicated audiovisual expert… and a lot of personal touch but overall it is an absolutely great channel and the return on investment is pretty interesting. Keep it up!


The quality of their images is always great and artistic. I think they have the best Instagram account at Expo… (after the one of the European Union pavilion :)))))))) Their photographer is absolutely outstanding both at getting natural reactions and poses from the visitors but also in creating more arty and appealing images of their pavilion…and especially their cute and beautiful mascotte Mishka




Always “sul pezzo” no matter what. You tag them – they react. You mention them – they react. You think of them – they think you back 🙂 This way of working on community management takes great dedication, but this seems not to have discouraged their super engaging, fun and informal attitude. For me, they are the best comms team and it’s beautiful to see it’s a team of only women. ExpoRussia2015_InstagramA true example of women in management. Keep up the good work! Apart from their digital work, their communication staff organizes lots of networking event in their beautiful terrace, which certainly help bridging digital with traditional networking activities.


There are three more months to go and three more months to do amazing things!


#MyExpo2015 Awards – Best Visitor’s Experience

Today we are officially at half Expo. After visiting it all, I decided to award my personal favourite efforts in five different categories:

  • Best Visitor’s Experience
  • Best Communication
  • Best Concept
  • Best Design
  • Best Surprise

Every week I will be awarding one pavilion for being the best in each category. I look forward to hearing your comments on my choice and exchange opinions on this wonderful event. Stay tuned!

And now…

My personal award for Best Visitor’s experience at Expo 2015 Milano goes to the Kazakhstan pavilion

With their theme  “The Land of Opportunities” the fantastic colleagues of this stunning pavilion are doing a terrific job both in promoting the young and vibrant society of their country and to promote Expo 2017 Astana. The professionalism of their staff, the cure and attention for details, the neatness of every single inch of this experience makes it an absolute “must do and must see” of Expo Milano. It is a compact museum that brings together science, art, history, and culture to illustrate the country’s wealth and the Kazakh identity.
Already from the start with their breathtaking sand-drawing show, visitors get a hint that something great is coming up. In the first hall, an artist explains the country’s long history, creating images using colored sand.

Next is a hall covering six topics: agronomic expertise; the country’s natural resources, its use of water; new sustainable agricultural techniques; and, aquaculture, or aqua farming.

Just an idea of what can be seen in the Kazakhstan pavilion: there’s an aquarium with sturgeon from the Caspian Sea, from which caviar comes, of course. There’s also the chance to taste fermented mare’s milk, to consider the potential of flying drones, and admire a display explaining the history of apples, which all derive from the ancient Kazakh variety. Another unexpected delight: a device that wafts the delightful fragrance of wild tulips from Kazakhstan, these too being the progenitors of all our modern varieties.
The displays in the Kazakhstan Pavilion conclude with the 3D cinema, which is fitted out with seats that move with the on-screen action. Wearing special glasses, visitors will watch animated videos on the natural wonders of Kazakhstan, as well as its economic prowess. A country enjoying rapid economic growth, Kazakhstan will, in 2017, host EXPO-2017, which will focus on the theme: Future Energy.
Leaving the exhibition, visitors can directly enter the Kazakh restaurant and sample the country’s specialties in an elegant and welcoming setting.Follow them on social media, they are doing amazing stuff! Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. I can’t wait to see (and possbly be at) Astana 2017!



The first Vine meet up was awesome…and there will be more!

Just one word: Wooooowww!!!! Yes, wow!!!! What an incredible day. Not only we did something for the first time but we consolidated some incredible friendships with some amazing people!!!


The first Italian Vine meet up took place at the World Expo in Milan last Saturday 25 July. It all started with a simple idea: getting creative people together. After meeting the Social Media Team of Expo Milan, we started a one-day journey that we’ll never forget

Thanks to two great viners @Misssteppi and @NathanJayD we brought together influential Italian viners at Expo and visited the site. JackBenny, FuoriTempoOfficial, MickyCardi, LaylaMarrouk, Andrea Mantegazza, Fabio Il Cazzinaro

We firstly visited the Brasil pavilion, which with its amazing installation it’s an amazing source of content. Based on its theme “Feeding the world with solutions,” the Brazilian pavilion uses the metaphor of the network, in terms of flexibility, fluidity and decentralization, showing the relationships and integration of different topics that combined, make it the global leader in food production.

FTfoto | Viners4Expo_padiglione_Brasile

Step 2 was one of my favourite places in Expo: the Russian pavilion. The super professional and kind stuff, the great visitor’s experience and their awesome terrace made it a unique visit. Russia’s Pavilion proposes a supremely multi-functional building of contemporary design and an example of striking and memorable craftsmanship. Its elegant wooden façade, the semi-transparent ground floor interior and its green rooftop, together create a harmonious suite of spaces that are easily accessible to visitors. Inside, the Pavilion is divided into a series of open spaces and viewing platforms in the tradition of classical Italian gardens. In the upper part of the building are hanging gardens reminiscent of Babylon, whilst the highest point of the Pavilion structure is the sloping serpentine of the vegetation-clad rooftop, symbolizing the boundless fields of Russia. This unique architectural and decorative element gently rises upwards, offering a 30 meter-long canopy that merges the building harmoniously into the natural surroundings, a space for special events and a superb vista across the Exhibition Site.



After the awesome visit at the Russian pavilion, we headed off to Palazzo Italia. The architecture, with its casing and volumetric joints, takes on the appearance of an urban forest of branches where visitors can experience and discover impressive views. Its four blocks lay out real urban scenes that surround the large central square, which acts as a place of welcome and a symbol of community, the starting point of the exhibition. Again, the concept of the tree is revisited here, with a crowning glass canopy made of solar panels. With its roots resting on the ground and branches and upper foliage lifted aloft, the building-tree offers an indoors exhibition route, a journey of discovery on all four levels of the exhibition area that leads right up to the rooftop terrace, and from there, back down, on a new and different path, to the central square. The cement produced by Italcementi is photocatalytic: on contact with sunlight, it catches air pollutants and converts them into inert salts, and the mortar uses 80% recycled aggregates.

Continue reading “The first Vine meet up was awesome…and there will be more!”

A strong message by the European Union and the World Food Programme at Expo Milano

On 19 July, it was a true pleasure for me to be part of the inauguration of the Family Meal exhibition here at the European Union pavilion at Expo Milano.

The exhibition aims to raise public awareness about hunger – the world’s most solvable problem. The compelling images and stories demonstrate how people’s lives can be changed through food assistance that is provided in various innovative ways including vouchers and cash, offering both choice and opportunity to entire communities. It consists of a series of powerful photos taken by renowned photographer Chris Terry, as he travelled across three continents to explore EU-financed projects run by WFP. He visited families receiving food assistance in Ecuador, Chad, Niger, Jordan and Myanmar/Burma.

WFP Family Meal

These families’ circumstances are considerably more difficult than those faced by the average European – they represent tens of millions of refugees forced from their homes because of conflict and millions more living in extreme poverty and on the frontline of climate change around the world. While they have temporarily lost the ability to provide enough food to remain healthy and enable their children to grow to their full potential, WFP can step in to help – thanks to EU humanitarian assistance.


Five countries, three continents, one universal custom: sharing a meal with family members. Chris Terry’s pictures reveal that our desire to share is one of the most essential ingredients, not only for the family meal, but also for a zero hunger world. It is a joint meal at lunch or dinner time that brings families together, everywhere in the world.


EXPO Milano 2015 is a global showcase of innovative and shared solutions to guarantee healthy, safe and sufficient food for everyone in ethical and sustainable ways. The area of food assistance and nutrition represents about half of ECHO’s humanitarian assistance, amounting to a total investment of €535 million in 2013. Bringing families back to the dinner table is a priority for the EU, WFP, and us all.

I was truly stunned by the introductory speech of Klaus Sorensen, Director General of DG ECHO of the European Commission, which thoroughly integrates the message the European Union at Expo Milano is trying to communicate to citizens here and all around the world: We cannot take global challenges for granted.

It is our main goal to address those, especially the younger generations, which take the historic achievements of the European Union for granted: Peace, freedom, equality. Values that my grandparents did not know during their youth.


The same goes for DG ECHO and the WFP who make a significant effort in communicating how a world with 800 million undernourished people and rising obesity is both paradoxical and unsustainable.

I am managing the digital communication of our pavilion and it is truly impressive to see how citizens express so much interest in what the EU does in the field of nutrition. This is because they are properly addressed via digital communication and social media. People care about their future, and it is our duty to reach out to them in the most efficient way.

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