A chat over Expo Milan with #‎EUinAusInterview‬

The European Union Delegation to Australia has a new amazing Web Editor, Media and Social Media Editor, Alia Papageorgiou.

She interviewed me for their newsletter about my work and the activities run by the European Union pavilion at Expo Milano. Check out our chat and don’t forget to follow her!

Here is their piece. I’d love to read your comments!

Are you visiting Italy this European summer? Then why not stop by ‪#‎Milan‬ and the EU Expo 2015 pavilion. We didn’t want to tell you why, so we asked our man on the ground, Marco Ricorda (pictured with former Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik) the Community Manager for the EU Pavilion to tell you why you should visit. ‪#‎EUinAusInterview‬

Q. Who are you?
A. I’m Marco Ricorda, the Community Manager for the European Union Pavilion at Expo Milano 2015 the biggest event of 2015 and the largest ever event on food and nutrition.

Q. What do you do?
A. I manage the digital and social media presence of this project. Not only do I perform the editorial part of the digital output of our pavilion but I invest a lot of time and energy in networking with the other participants at Expo, community managers and communication professionals. A lot of digital work but also lots of walking.

Q. What’s happening in Milano this year?
A. Expo Milano 2015 is the Universal Exhibition that Milan has been hosting from May 1 to October 31. Over this six-month period, Milan becomes a global showcase where more than 140 participating countries will show the best of their technology that offers a concrete answer to a vital need: being able to guarantee healthy, safe and sufficient food for everyone, while respecting the Planet and its equilibrium. In addition to the exhibitor nations, the Expo also involves international organizations, and expects to welcome over 20 million visitors to its 1.1 million square meters of exhibition area.

A platform for the exchange of ideas and shared solutions on the theme of food, stimulating each country’s creativity and promoting innovation for a sustainable future, Expo 2015 will give everyone the opportunity to find out about, and taste, the world’s best dishes, while discovering the best of the agri-food and gastronomic traditions of each of the exhibitor countries.

Q. Best coffee at the EXPO?
A. The Coffee Cluster is a real paradise for coffee lovers and people enthusiastic about how different cultures work, perceive and appreciate coffee. However, as a fellow Italian, I have to say that nothing is better than an Illy espresso, once, twice, maybe three times during the day and honestly, considering our intense working hours, it’s both a pleasure and a need.

Q. Best food?
A. This is a hard one, because the food at Expo is pretty amazing and competition is fierce in the kitchen. If I was forced to choose three menus, I would recommend Angola, Korea and Uruguay

Q. Best gelato?
A. I was impressed with the gelato at the Israel pavilion. It is just sublime. I totally recommend the rose-scented fiordilatte with pistachios. Ideal for the hot Italian summer

Q. Is it near that fantastic statue giving the stock exchange the middle finger?
A. Mmm… not really

Q. What do you think of the stands/booths/expo participations?
A. It’s an amazing display of architecture, technology, entertainment and education all at once. Some pavilions like Brasil, Germany, Qatar have really created and amazing architectural feat while others have invested more work and energy in their visitor’s experience like Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Japan or the Emirates pavilion. The European Union pavilion has a pretty amazing visitor’s experience where we screen “The Golden Ear” the story of Alex and Sylvia. A tale of how tradition and innovation need to cooperate to sustainably face the challenges for the future of the planet.

Q. Which one seems to be the most unique/different?
A. I was totally impressed by Kazakhstan. They managed to create a unique exhibition combining great architecture, innovation, technology and an incredible visitor’s experience with a 3D cinema.

Q. Does there seem to be specific EXPO Tourism?
A. Totally. Expo is bringing a lot of people to Milan. Apart from Expo itself, due to this world exhibition Milan has grown enormously in terms of offering cultural events, new gastronomical options and simply being awesome

Q. Dates of the EXPO please
A. From 1 May till 31 October

Q. What’s the best way to promote awareness of EU policy? How does that happen every day at the expo?
A. We have organised over 200 conferences and events on food policy, food science and sustainability. All issues related to the theme of Expo Milano which is “feeding the planet, energy for life.” On top of that, after the screening of “The Golden Ear”, the story of Alex and Sylvia, visitors arrive to our digital content centre where, via interactive touch screens, they can get more information about what the EU does to promote a more sustainable planet.

Q. How’s the weather?
A. Amazing, sunny and pleasant

Q. Most high profile guest so far?
A. Michelle Obama, David Cameron , Angela Merkel

Q. How’s Milan handling the extra traffic?
A. Very well, simply by encouraging the use of public transport and implementing solid sharing-mobility initiatives. Not only bikes and cars are now regularly shared by the Milanese, but now even scooters.


Expo 2015 Milano – consigli per gli utenti

It was absolutely wonderful to meet the people behind the Facebook Group “Expo 2015 Milano – consigli per gli utenti“. A true hub of information, facilitating people to fully enjoy the beauty of Expo Milano 2015 and an active community of enthusiastic visitors at the biggest ever event on nutrition.Expo_consigli_per_gli_utenti

The meeting was an opportunity to discuss communication challenges and opportunities and have a productive exchange of opinions over the potentials of institutional communication towards citizens.

Expo_consigli_per_gli_utenti Expo_consigli_per_gli_utenti

An amazing Social Media Happy Hour!!!

Take a few minutes to think about the daily routine of a Community Manager at Expo Milano: running up and down the Decumano, answering hundreds of mails in a record time, posting on Facebook also during lunch break, collecting every kind of business card…This is why sometimes we need a moment to relax, to do some networking and to have fun or, as I like to phrase it, to bridge to online with the offline



It was an honour and an awesome experience to the Expo 2015 Milano Social Media Happy Hour with all the Community Managers of the first real Social Media World Expo! It was a great and interactive event meant to bridge digital with traditional networking in the biggest event of the year.


During the event we ran two competitions awarding Austria at Expo Milano 2015 as the favourite pavilion by all community managers and the Dominican Republic Pavilion as winners of our Instagram photo competition. Congratulations to both and to all the participants! View the full Storify of the event

The occasion was also picked up by Italian national press:
ANSA.it http://bit.ly/1HPMLol
Il Tempo Quotidiano bit.ly/1HPMLol

Photo credits Valentina Macciotta

Getting the Expo Milan 2015 Community Managers together

Last 20 May was a great day for me and for all the Community Managers working at Expo Milano 2015. I was invited to share my experience in live-covering Europe Day at a social media workshop in Expo.

Europe Day at Expo Milan was a true success and as Head of Social Media Stefano Mirti said “the great thing about the European Union pavilion is that they were really ‘social.’ They managed to perform activities and engage with people in ways that only social media allows.”

It was for an honour to hear Stefano’s words and I take my hat off in front of the guys of the Social Media Team at Expo. They are doing a terrific job not only in informing and engaging visitors at the biggest event of the year but they are creating a proper solid network of digital communication professionals. Bridging the gap between human and digital relations among people is the main purpose of social media.

What I wanted to stress in my presentation was that, no matter how well you can get prepared for live-covering big events, you need to be able to change strategy promptly. Social media nowadays requires flexibility and a reactive mind. All that matters at the end of your event is the overall success and the bonding you create with your team mates. Yes, I say “team mates” because the work we do as community managers is very similar to what sports teams do when they prepare for a big game. All that matters at the end, after the game is over, is represented by the picture below.


The more people digitalize their relations, the more people are surprised to physically get together or even receive a phone call. These regular gatherings, that the Expo team has been organizing, is a great example of what more and more networks of professionals should be doing both in the public and the private sector.

Special thanks go to Mariella Merlino and Manuela Bonfiglio for making this network happen and to Giacomo Biraghi for his continuous effort in making people aware of the great opportunity that Expo Milano represents for Italy, Europe and the world.

Expo Milano 2015: an outstanding opening of the European Union pavilion!

Last 9 May I had one of the most amazing days of my professional life. We inaugurated the European Union pavilion at Expo Milano 2015. All the work we have done for months has paid off amazingly with an incredible turnout and very inspiring words from both President Martin Schulz and High Representative Federica Mogherini.

“Europe is changing, flexibility is no longer a taboo and austerity is no longer a mantra” stated Mogherini. The High Representative also took the opportunity to thank all those who contributed to a big event like Expo Milano 2015, first and foremost the volunteers.

The President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz expressed his pride in being part of a “unique and exceptional community of 28 democratic countries cooperating for peace, welfare and the future of the new generations.”

The promotion of the day started cross-platforms a few days in advance in order to create some pre-event buzz with stakeholders in the field of EU affairs and Expo Milan

After the ceremonial welcoming speech, Europe Day at Expo went on with the “Citizens’ Dialogue”, a debate between institutions and citizens that took place at the Expo Auditorium and welcomed thousands of citizens and high school students from across Europe.

The lively debate moderated by RaiNews24 Director Monica Maggioni tackled some crucial topics for Europe such as nutrition and environmental sustainability. The discussion also grew online through social media, with the official hashtag #EUdialogues (mentioned over 2000 times in the day).


On social media this turned out to be one of the most successful Citizen’s Dialogue ever, especially thanks to the great inter-institutional cooperation between the many EU-actors involved

At the end of the Dialogue I had the honour of jumping on stage and getting a quick post-event statement by both Mogherini and Shulz on the the interaction and communication opportunities offered by this type of event. I must say I was thrilled at the very least.

Before the Citizen’s Dialogue started I asked a few students participating what they would have liked to ask to the President and the High Representative

Continue reading “Expo Milano 2015: an outstanding opening of the European Union pavilion!”

Shaping the Future of World Expos

It was a pleasure to be at the WECC World Expo Commissioners Club last 30 March in Milan, in an event linked to the theme of Future Expos, i.e. the forthcoming events related to Expos, after the one in Milan this year.

A unique event of its kind, talking about future Expos gave us the opportunity to discuss and discover how many synergies can be immediately created” confirmed Nausika Spahia, Executive Vice President WECC.


Fabrizio Sala, Expo 2015 Undersecretary and Regional Councillor, spoke about Expo Milano: “There are three themes that unite the forthcoming Expos with Expo 2015: nature, technology and energy. The Expos in Milan, Antalya, Astana and Dubai open up a vision of the world in which technological progress is combined with sustainability. This is the only possible foundation for a future of peace and cooperation among peoples. The Lombardy Region, with the E015 Digital Ecosystem has the ambition to be a best practice in this direction, creating smart cities with interconnected services and facilitating the use of alternative mobility“.


Massimo Andreoli, presented “The Silk Road and Spices Route” project and talked about the Aquae Venice 2015/Expo Venice pavilion.

Necil Nedimoglu, Head Consultant and Turkish BIE Representative, spoke about Expo Antalya 2016, presenting an introductory video of the city and the opportunities that Expo Antalya offers: “the goal of Antalya is to create an Expo that will last beyond the six months, thanks to the creation of permanent gardens.

Giancarlo Caratti, Deputy EU Commissioner, spoke about the business opportunities (B2B and B2C) deriving from Expo.


More info http://bit.ly/1CjScd8

Photo credits WECC

7 reasons to follow the EU at Expo

Expo Milan 2015 will be the first real “social media World Expo.” Even though Shanghai 2010 did display a touch of social networks within their outreach efforts, Expo Milan invests and relies massively on social media. The goal of this intense use of social networks and digital connections is manyfold. Not only is this strategy intended to reach the expected 20 million visitors, but also to concentrate on those who won’t be able to make it to Milan and have an interest in debating how we can feed the planet now, and in the future.

“Seven” is both an Expo paradigm and coefficient: Expo Milan foresees the sale of seven times the tickets sold during the latest football World Cup in Brazil. Every day. Expo will welcome daily an average of seven times the visitors of Disneyland Paris at its maximum capacity. 7000 are the events scheduled to take place during the six-month-long fair. Should I continue?

The European Union will be there to make a strong stance and present openly how its policies, its aids and development projects and its scientific contribution to the global debate on food and nutrition. Here are seven reasons why you should follow this incredible project on social media:

  • One voice for the EU – The European Union as a whole will be represented in Milan. It will not be an institutional but an organizational presence speaking on behalf of all the EU institutions.
  • Alex and SylviaOur journal. Our trip. Our experience in real time through the European Commission’s widest digital network.
  • Thematic weeks Food is a realm that cuts across numerous fields of expertise. To cover as many aspects as possible of the global debate on nutrition, we dedicate social media thematic weeks to deepen the discussion, the information and the content on each specific topic covered by the EU.
  • Facebook – Our eyes, hears and mouth on the pavilion, on Expo, on the visitors. Day by day you will see everything there is to know about Expo2015 and the European Union.
  • Twitter – To keep yourself in the loop. Our events, our conferences, our statements, our guests and all the material shared and commented on by our digital network. Wanna be part of that? Follow @EUExpo2015 & #EUExpo2015.
  • Instagram – Our creativity expressed in a diary made of images. Ours, yours, the community’s. Be part of it!
  • LinkedInOur microscope on science, policy and development in the realm of global food and nutrition security. For experts, scientists and those who want an institutional answer to their questions about the future of food.

Our social media is strongly based on multilateralism. We publish, we listen, we engage. We are the real time voice of the EU in the biggest event of 2015

Anything more check out our website europa.eu/expo2015


An evening at Radio Alma discussing the European Union at Expo Milan 2015

It was great to be invited at Radio Alma to discuss about Expo Milan 2015 and the participation of the European Union at the world’s biggest event on food and nutrition and the biggest event of 2015.

Listen to the podcast (in Italian)

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Expo Milano 2015 will be the first World Expo to take place in Europe in 15 years and its theme, ‘Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life’, is of vital importance for Europe and the world. 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 will focus the World’s attention on addressing these challenges and provide a platform to deliberate on these pressing issues.

The timing of the Expo, which coincides with the target year of the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals (MDG) and the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals, makes it crucial that the EU contributes in a substantive way to these negotiations. It will represent an important milestone for the global debate on food and sustainability.

In this spirit, 2015 will also be the European Year of Development. This year provides an opportunity to engage with EU citizens and showcase the EU strong commitment to eradicating poverty worldwide and to show how every euro of support helps to make a difference in the lives of so many, in some of the world’s poorest countries.

2015 will also be the midpoint of the implementation of the EU’s Europe 2020 strategy for growth and jobs. In a changing world, we want the EU to become a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy: an economy which delivers high levels of employment, productivity and social cohesion. We intend to seize the opportunity of Expo 2015 to further promote understanding of EU policies and increase cooperation with our partners both in Europe and around the world, especially in the area of research and innovation.

As I mentioned in the interview, Expo Milan publishes weekly drone videos updates on the works of the construction site

Why I proudly joined #Expottimisti

Expo Milano 2015 is a Universal Exposition with some very unique and innovative features. Not only is it an exhibition but also a process, one of active participation among a large number of players around the theme of Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life. It is sustainable, technological, thematic and focused on its visitors. Open from May 1 to October 31, 2015, the Expo will host over 130 participants. Running for 184 days, this giant exhibition site, covering one million square meters, is expected to welcome over 20 million visitors.

Expo 2015 represents a huge opportunity for Italy and for Europe to present their projects, innovation and policies to contribute to the global debate on how to feed 9 billion people by 2050. #Expottimisti is a guide book with all you need to know about Expo 2015 whether you are an individual, an association, a charitable organization or a company. It is a visually experimenting product intended to engage with the wide target audience of Expo and propose something new to the public.


The authors Giacomo BiraghiAlvise De Sanctis and Luca Ballarini say in an interview for Wired  that “there’s plenty of reasons to be optimistic about Expo and its impact starting from the record-breaking 60 self-built pavilions designed by of some of the best architects in the world.”

I joined #‎Expottimisti‬ because I believe in the immense potentials and the impact that Expo 2015 Milano will bring to Italy, Europe and the global debate on nutrition. I am very proud and excited of working in this realm and of being part of of the biggest event of 2015. I can’t wait for #‎Expo2015 to start. Have you bought your tickets yet? 🙂