NIAF News Releases



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

*Meetings with U.S. Ambassador to Italy, President of Italy, Italian Government Officials in Rome and Local Leaders in L’Aquila*

(Washington, D.C. – June 2, 2010) The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) will send a Mission to Italy from June 7-11, 2010, bringing together board members, business leaders and government officials to discuss key issues influencing cultural, economic, and diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Italy.

“In the spirit of goodwill and with the objective of solidifying lasting relationships with business and political leaders in Italy as well as strengthening NIAF’s role as the bridge between the U.S. and Italy, the Foundation’s leadership will embark on this official mission,” NIAF President Joseph V. Del Raso, Esq. said. Accompanying the Mission is Hon. Amato Berardi, Deputy to North and Central America, Camera dei Deputati, Republic of Italy.

On Monday, June 7, 2010, NIAF’s leadership will travel to L’Aquila in the Region of Abruzzo to visit areas affected by the 2009 earthquake and meet with local and regional leaders and university students. A NIAF partnership with the U.S. Department of State, the first private-public partnership of the Obama Administration, has been a critical part of ongoing revitalization efforts in the area – in particular, providing support to the University of L’Aquila, which has long been an important economic engine for the region. When visiting the area last year during the G8 Summit, President Obama praised NIAF’s efforts that included the Adopt-a-Scholar program.

On Tuesday, June 8, 2010, in Rome, a NIAF international business conference at the Sala Capitolare of Italy’s Senato della Repubblica will explore “Navigating Regulatory Reforms for Global Growth.” The conference also will serve as an open platform for a discussion of timely issues related to corporate accountability and transparency in the international economy.

President of the Italian Senate On. Renato Schifani and U.S. Ambassador to Italy Hon. David Thorne will attend the discussion, which in two sessions will explore global regulatory and investigative practices and surveying the global landscape for new growth. Distinguished panelists include Fulvio Conti, CEO of ENEL, Emilio Petrone, CEO of Sisal, Frank Sportolari, CEO of United Parcel Service (UPS) Italia, and NIAF Vice Chairman Vincent Viola and CEO and chairman of Virtu Management LLC.

Following the conference, NIAF will be the special guest at an evening reception at Villa Taverna, the private residence of U.S. Ambassador to Italy, where Hon. David Thorne will be the host.

During the Mission, the Foundation’s leadership will also meet with members of Italy’s Parliament and Cabinet in addition to top executives from Italy’s leading businesses. Meetings are planned with President Giorgio Napolitano, current President of the Italian Chamber of Deputies Gianfranco Fini, and Mayor of Rome Gianni Alemanno.

Several NIAF Board Members and council members will attend a private audience with Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican. NIAF's stay in Rome will conclude with a dinner hosted in NIAF’s honor by local business leaders at The Westin Excelsior on the city’s famed Via Vittorio Veneto.

On June 10, NIAF’s Board Members will travel to Sorrento in Italy’s Campania region for the Foundation’s annual summer board meeting the next day. At the meeting they will discuss issues pertaining to U.S. – Italy relations and the Italian American community including the Foundation’s 35th Anniversary Gala Convention Weekend, which is planned for October 22- 23, 2010. While in Campania, NIAF will be hosted for an exclusive dinner by the President of the Province of Salerno at the historic Castello Arechi.

The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) is a non-profit organization that has served as a business, political and cultural link between Italy and the United States for more than three decades. To learn more about our programs, visit

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