NIAF News Releases

NIAF Vice Chair Patricia de Stacy Harrison Keynote Speaker at 150th Anniversary Celebration of Italy's Unity in Miami


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


*NIAF General Counsel Arthur Furia Receives Proclamation from Mayor*

(WASHINGTON, D.C. – April 11, 2011)
Hon. Patricia de Stacy Harrison, president and CEO of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and a National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) vice chairwoman, delivered the keynote address at the Celebration of the 150th Anniversary of Italy’s Unification on April 7, 2011 at The Freedom Tower at Miami Dade College in downtown Miami, Fla.

Harrison discussed the historical and cultural ties to Italy as well as its profound influence that continue today throughout the world- fashion, art, culture and technological innovation. Harrison believes that this year long celebration provides everyone a chance to become part of the Italian family, identify shared values that inspire and connect us to one another.

To commemorate this historic milestone, Miami’s Mayor Tomás Regalado presented a Proclamation from the City of Miami honoring Italy to Arthur J. Furia, Esq. NIAF general counsel and a partner at the law firm of Shutts & Bowen LLP. Furia noted the significance of hosting the reception at The Freedom Tower because it brings families of this community together and serves as the icon of Miami and freedom.

At the podium Furia was joined by Italy’s Consul General in Miami Marco Rocca. Together they welcomed community leaders, business executives, notable Italian Americans and media professionals to the private reception hosted by the Foundation in conjunction with the Frank J. Guarini/NIAF Media Forums. The event also was sponsored by Miami Dade College and Shutts & Bowen LLC.

During the celebratory reception Furia presented Sister Lucia Ceccotti, executive director of The Marian Center, with a NIAF check of $10,000 to help the center further reach its goals of helping children with developmental problems.

Special guest and Italian tenor Roberto Iarussi performed the U.S. and Italian National anthems and closed with “Nessun Dorma” from Giacomo Puccini’s opera Turandot at the reception. Guests gave Iarussi a standing ovation. Everyone received a complimentary copy of “Deeds of My Fathers” by Paul David Pope, whose parents Generoso and Lois B. Pope were the founders of Il Progresso—the first Italian American newspaper in the United States.

This year marks the 150th Anniversary of the Unification of Italy. This historical event is also known as il Risorgimento, or Resurgence of Italy. Prior to the unification, the Italian peninsula was composed of separate states under different rule. The most famous face of Italian Unification was Giuseppe Garibaldi. As an Italian national hero, he led the Italian patriots in an effort to combine the states and territories of Italy into a unified country.

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

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