Milan, October 18 - The United States White House on Thursday announced it is working toward a US Pavilion at the Milan Expo 2015.
The announcement appeared among topics discussed between Italian and US government representatives during Italian Premier Enrico Letta's visit Thursday to US President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden in Washington D.C.
"I am very satisfied with the American openness toward participating in Expo 2015 - an important path starts from today," Letta said. Milan is hosting an universal exposition from May 31 to October 1, 2015 on the theme Feeding the planet. Energy for life.
The subject spotlights global food security - how to promote healthy, safe and sufficient food for everyone on earth - while showcasing culinary tradition, creativity and innovation in from around the world.
The White House said it is "moving forward" with its partner 'Friends of the U.S. Pavilion Milano', a group that now needs to raise private funds from sponsors to cover the costs of the US Pavilion.
The non-profit James Beard Foundation and the International Culinary Center cooking school - in association with the American Chamber of Commerce in Italy - are spearheading the group and its plans.
Cutting edge digital media and other novel ways to showcase American achievements in international food security, agriculture and cuisine are in the works for what they hope will be a captivating display.
The US Pavilion effort also hopes sow greater food sector trade and investment between the US and Italy, the White House explained in its note.
Milan Mayor Giuliano Pisapia was happy with the progress. "The White House's commitment in collaboration with the 'Friends of the U.S. Pavilion MIlano' is a further step forward on the road to the United States' participation in Milanese Universal Exposition," said Pisapia.
"It is a confirmation of the importance of the subjects food security and sustainable development play in the future of the planet," Pisapia added.
Last September, the US State Department issued a "request for proposal"; calling for participants to come forward to work on drumming up 25 to 45 million USD in private contributions for a 1400 square metre exhibition structure, which would occupy nearly 3000 square meters of exhibition grounds.
Expo 2015 Commissioner Giuseppe Sala expressed "satisfaction" on news that the US State Department had “selected a consortium of entities that will lay out the (US) Pavilion project and develop the American participation in the universal exposition in Milan.
"At this point, the path toward US participation appears well underway. We know the competence of the (members of the) organization that proposed the project and its validity and quality," Sala added.
The James Beard Foundation was created in 1986 in the memory of an American pioneer and bestselling cookbook author and show host who helped awaken American palates to the potential of local foods and cuisines. Nourishing American culinary culture through recipes, dining opportunities and awards, the foundation also works to improve the food system through conferences and other events. The International Culinary Center - formerly the French Culinary Institute - is a leading U.S. cooking school based in New York City and San Francisco.
"We are certain that a proposal of absolute value," will come from the consortium leaders, Sala said.
"To (Premier) Letta, I want to reiterate sincerest thanks for the daily commitment of his staff and government in view of the universal exposition," Sala concluded.
As of Friday, there were 137 official participant countries listed on the Milan Expo 2015 website, which do not yet include the US.
Participating countrie' currently represent 86% of the world's population according to data provided by the United Nations Population Fund and the World Bank, the website noted.