Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore

CaffExpò, the dialogue for food security - issue#2

A series of meetings that tackle the issue of sustainable development from an economic, social and environmental point of view.

by Ettore Capri

CaffExpò is an initiative started in 2012 around the general theme “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life” in the context of Expo 2015.  CaffExpò was born from an idea of the Research Center OPERA , and was further developed thanks to the cooperation with the students of the Agrisystem PhD school and the Athenaeum Center ExpoLAB.

Once upon a time, cultured people used to meet in a Cafè, to discuss and exchange ideas - while drinking a cup of coffee - about culture, politics, travel experiences, books... The “Literary Cafè” - this was the name for this kind of meeting -  became an important means for cultural promotion, but it was mainly a privilege of aristocracy. Luckily today culture is for everybody…but the fashion of the old Caffès remains. For this reason, Professors and students of the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore were inspired to initiate a series of debates regarding the topic of Expo 2015 and, as in the ancient time, they decided to take up the ancient cafè heritage: indeed, the meetings are connected with the "coffee ritual" and are taking place in a Cafè.

CaffExpò is a series of open meetings, that deal with the issue of sustainable development from an economic, social and environmental point of view. Informal communications favor new opportunities to share ideas, to create new networks and to promote the collaboration between scientist, managers and representatives of civil society and associations.

Intended objectives:

  • To spread knowledge and promote dialogue among citizens, in particular with respect to the following issues: sustainability, science and technology for food quality and safety, science and technology for agriculture, innovation in agriculture, food education, food and lifestyle, food and culture, food and cooperation.
  • To promote products and actors of the territory, including local firms and academics.
  • To shed lights on Expo 2015 with respect to its objectives and activities.
  • To involve general public, professionals, institutions and to promote opportunities for collaboration and knowledge sharing.

Each meeting is generally held as a “happy hour” and includes the participation of a guest: an expert whose activities - scientific, educative, entrepreneurial or social – are remarkably in relation to the theme of the discussion.

To enhance cooperation and facilitate sharing capacities and expertise between scientists all over Europe the event will be organized as such: a distinguished scientist will address the topic while another expert or entrepreneur with a strong expertise, will "challenge" him with questions and comments, interpreting and expressing the general ideas of the public. Expert professors in the subject will manage and stimulate the discussion involving all the participants

Questions and debates are encouraged between participants.

More than 50 CaffExpò have been organized since its constitution, including international events held in Brussels and Munich. Each meeting has involved 50-100 persons, confirming the positive feedback and the great interest around the sustainability theme. Papers, video, books published and freely available for news media and the general public.