NIAF News Releases

*Celebrity Appearances at Gala Dinner, Networking, Conferences*


Contact:   Elissa Ruffino (NIAF) 202/939-3106 or

(WASHINGTON, D.C. – September 27, 2006) The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) will host its 10th Annual Youth Gala for Italian Americans and Italophiles ages 18-35 on Saturday, October 21 at the Hilton Washington & Towers in Washington, D.C. The event is held in conjunction with NIAF’s 31st Anniversary Awards Gala. The Foundation’s youth gala will begin at 7 p.m. with entertainment, dinner, and dancing.

The NIAF Youth Gala will also feature celebrity appearances and a simultaneous video transmission of the NIAF 31st Anniversary Gala from the International Ballroom of the hotel. During the evening, Alan Alda, Yogi Berra, and Tommy Lasorda will make appearances at the youth gala and address the attendees.

The NIAF Youth Weekend begins with a luncheon Friday, October 20 with special guests, President and Mrs. George H. W. Bush. President Bush will give the keynote address during NIAF’s education luncheon and will receive the NIAF ‘One America’ award. Barbara Bush received the NIAF Special Achievement Award in Literacy during the Foundation’s Anniversary Awards Gala in 1991. The luncheon will be held in the International Ballroom East from noon to 2:30 p.m. During the convention weekend, NIAF is hosting Piazza d’ Italia, a two-day best of Italy exhibition with food and wine tastings and a fashion presentation on the morning of Saturday, October 21. NIAF will also host a networking breakfast in the Jefferson Room from 9 - 11 a.m. with baseball legend Tommy Lasorda as a guest speaker.

More than 3,000 people from across the U.S. and Italy will attend the Foundation’s Anniversary Awards Gala. This year’s gala honorees are Samuel Alito Jr., Supreme Court justice; Raffaello Follieri, chairman and CEO of Follieri Yucaipa Investments; Tom W. LaSorda, CEO and president of the Chrysler Group; Catherine B. Reynolds, chairman of the Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation and Frankie Valli, legendary singer. Academy Award-winning actress Anne Bancroft will be posthumously inducted into the NIAF Italian American Hall of Fame. Her husband, Mel Brooks, will represent Bancroft.

Youth Gala dinner tickets are $100 per person. For more information, contact: Michele Arbeit at 202/939-3119 or

The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) is a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C., and dedicated to preserving the heritage of Italian Americans. Visit

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