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The Sons of Italy Foundation (SIF) presented U.S. Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island with a lifetime achievement award for his career in public service during its 23rd annual National Education & Leadership Awards (NELA) gala in Washington, D.C. on May 25. Also honored were Carmen Policy, former president & CEO, San Francisco Forty-niners; Steven Nardizzi, executive director, Wounded Warrior Project; and Pier Francesco Guarguaglini, chairman, of the Italian multi-national Finmeccanica, the eighth largest defense contractor in the world. Carmen Policy received the SIF’s most coveted honor, its National Education & Leadership Award, which gives the gala its name.

Sen. Reed, a West Point graduate who served 12 years in the U.S. Army as an Army Ranger and paratrooper before entering politics, has traveled to Iraq 12 times over the past several years. During his acceptance speech, he thanked the late U.S. Senator John Pastore, the first Italian American ever elected to the Senate, who had sponsored his application to West Point.

“America is the work of many hands from many lands,” Sen. Reed said. “But in my experience, no hands have given more to America and asked for less than Italian Americans.” Sen. Reed was the

Giada Valenti, Raymond Odierno, Joseph Sciame

third non-Italian American to receive this award which was first given to Vice President Joseph Biden in 2009. The 2010 award went to President Bill Clinton.

Approximately 800 guests attended this year’s gala at the National Building Museum. Among them were prominent leaders from government, business, academia, sports and entertainment, including Gen. Raymond Odierno, commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, and his son, Capt. Anthony Odierno (U.S. Army, ret.) who lost an arm in Iraq. He was honored by the Sons of Italy last year.

Read more…>>

On Sunday, March 22, 2011, a Mass was held at Holy Rosary Church in Washington DC, to commemorate the 19th anniversary of the assassination by the Mafia of Giovanni Falcone, his wife Francesca Morvillo, and security agents Rocco Di Cillo, Antonio Montinari, and Vito Schifani. Among those present were Ambassador Giulio Terzi, members of the Italian community in Washington, Supreme Court justices Samuel Alito

Giovanni Falcone

and Antonin Scalia, Italian judge and Falcone’s student, Giannicola Sinisi, senior counselor at the Embassy of Italy, and agents from the FBI with which Falcone worked closely in the fight against Cosa Nostra and its ramifications in the United States. More . . .

As we wrote back in February, the three young Italian tenors from Il Volo have arrived in America and tomorrow night they will perform on American Idol. After “Idol,” the boys will appear on CBS’ “The Early Show” on May 21.

Il Volo

 As noted by Kerri Mason of Billboard Magazine, “With a name to fit their ambition — Il Volo means “flight” — Barone, Boschetto and Ginoble possess the youth, looks, charm and, most important, the voices to match. The hope is that they’ll transcend their built-in constituency of doting grandmothers and classical apologists and win the youth vote.” We bet they will! Buona fortuna Piero, Ignazio e Gianluca!

Amb. Giulio Terzi, Helene Cooper

At a ceremony held on April 20, 2011, at the Italian Embassy in Washington, DC, Ambassador Giulio Terzi announced that Liberian-born Helene Cooper, White House correspondent for the New York Times, is the 2011 recipient of the Urbino Press Award. Now in its sixth year, the award is given annually to an American journalist who demonstrates distinguished reporting “on the ever-changing world.” Previous winners include David Ignatius (2010), Thomas Friedman (2009), Martha Raddatz (2008), Michael Weisskopf (2007), and Diane Rehm (2006). The official award ceremony will take place at the Palazzo Ducale in Urbino, Italy, on June 3.

“Today, we recognize excellence in journalism, in searching for news, in writing stories, in analyzing facts and turning information in freedom and progress,” stated Ambassador Terzi. In recalling Foreign Minister Franco Frattini’s commitment to enhance Italy’s public diplomacy in the world, Ambassador Terzi also recognized how “media, both traditional and new ones, can influence today’s
decision-making in foreign policy.”   Read story

In a speech at a conference on “Italy and the Midwest Business Connections,” organized by the  Cleveland Council on World Affairs, Italian
Ambassador Giulio Terzi defended Italy’s economic status and promoted the Sistema Italia.

Ambassador Giulio Terzi

Terzi stated that “in a very difficult economic juncture, Italy’s banking and financial system has given proof of stability and our businessmen continue to find space and prospects for success also in competitive markets like the USA.”  The Ambassador underscored that “the know-how and quality that distinguish Sistema Italia’s components are at the basis of new opportunities for partnership between Italy and the United States, citing the example of groups like Finmeccanica, Fincantieri, Bracco, Brembo, Italcementi, Mediaset, Prysmian Cavi, Sogefy, Luxottica, and, naturally, Fiat whose return to the USA and its partnership with Chrysler are injecting new life into Detroit’s economy.

The injection of Italian capital and know how in Ohio and particularly in Detroit, has been much welcomed not only by local political leaders but also in Washington.  According to recent statistics, the population of Detroit has plummeted 25 per cent over the past decade, due largely due to the auto industry’s slump. Motor City’s population fell to 713,777 in 2010, compared to 951,270 in 2000.  Detroit’s population peaked at 1.8 million in 1950, when it ranked fifth nationally. According to some news report, in 2010 Italy was Ohio’s 11th largest export market, with $ 611 million worth of products exported by local firms.

Ambassador Terzi also met with Ohio Governor John Kasich. The two discussed  potential for new investments by Italian companies in the Midwest. On the occasion of the conference.  , “Italy and the Midwest Business Connections” which was attended by a delegation from Italy led by Vicenza Mayor Achille Variati, a ceremony was held to award Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson the honorary rank of Cavaliere dell’Ordine della Stella della Solidarietà.

Click here for the full text of Amb. Terzi’s remarks.

On April 4, 2011, the  Italian Minister of Justice Angelino Alfano, met with United States Attorney General Eric Holder, to discuss a range of issue of mutual interest.  Following their meeting, a joint statment, reprinted below was also issued.  Earlier in the day, Minister Alfano met with White House antiterrorism advsoor, John Brennan, for talks regarding a broad range of security issues, including the recent mass migration to Lampedusa, Sicily from North Africa.  Also on the dame day, Minister Alfano received a specail briefing on court technolody by Judge Francis Allegra of the United States Court of Federal Claims.

WASHINGTON -U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Italian Minister of Justice Angelino Alfano today met at the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., to re-affirm the joint commitment of the United States and Italy to strengthen cooperation in the ongoing fight against terrorism and transnational organized crime. The two countries enjoy a long bilateral relationship in justice matters, and also work together to promote broader international collaboration
through multilateral treaties like the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime (known as the Palermo Convention) and the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime.

Minister Angelino Alfano and Amb Giulio Terzi

“For three decades, the United States and Italy have had notable successes in jointly fighting organized crime, terrorism and other common threats to the security and prosperity of our two nations,” said Attorney General Holder. “For example, Italian authorities recently arrested a fugitive in Sicily who is charged with racketeering conspiracy in the United States, and coordinated that arrest with the largest one-day sweep of La Cosa Nostra defendants in U.S. history. We are grateful for the close collaboration that is provided daily by the Italian Ministry of Justice under the leadership of Minister Alfano, as well as from
prosecutors and police throughout Italy.”

Law enforcement officials in the United States and Italy work together on a broad range of issues. Counterterrorism remains a top priority, and officials tackle
criminal activities from drug trafficking to money laundering, and from illegal arms exports to cybercrime.

“Bilateral relations between the United States and Italy in the law enforcement arena represent an important pillar of global legal and security cooperation,” said Italian Minister of Justice Alfano. “I greatly appreciate working with U.S. Attorney General Holder, whose clear vision and problem-solving approach have
added significant value to our security relations.”

In their discussions, Attorney General Holder and Minister Alfano underlined the importance of maintaining the excellent bilateral exchange of information and evidence between the United States and Italy in the fight against organized crime and terrorism, in particular under the recently updated treaties between
the two countries on extradition and mutual legal assistance in criminal matters. These treaties streamline communication in urgent fugitive matters and
incorporate technological developments like video-conferencing for taking witness testimony, while also providing a high level of protection for personal
information.

Voglio innanzitutto ringraziarvi di avere organizzato questo bellissimo evento per celebrare insieme il 150mo Anniversario dell’Unita’ d’Italia. Come Presidente
della Repubblica, non nascondo la mia commozione nel condividere con voi questo momento cosi’ ricco di storia.

Nella sua straordinaria proclamazione in occasione del 150mo Anniversario dell’Unita’ d’Italia, il Presidente Obama ha reso omaggio “al coraggio, al sacrificio
e alla visione dei patrioti che diedero vita” allo Stato Italiano. “Nel momento in cui gli Stati Uniti combattevano per preservare la nostra Unione, egli prosegue, la campagna di Giuseppe Garibaldi per unire l’Italia ispiro’ in tutto il mondo le lotte di molti, fra cui il 39mo reggimento di Fanteria di New York, soprannominato la Guardia di Garibaldi”

Sono profondamente grato al Presidente Obama per una Proclamazione di tale spessore e al Congresso per l’analogo Atto Parlamentare. Orgoglio e fiducia: sono le due parole sulle quali ho messo l’accento nel mio discorso di fronte al Parlamento Italiano il 17 marzo. L’Unita’ d’Italia ha rappresentato un’eccezionale
conquista storica, realizzata nonostanti ardui ostacoli e deprimenti previsioni; il secolare cammino dell’idea d’Italia, sostenuta da alti messaggi di lingua, letteratura e cultura, era finalmente al traguardo. Read more . . .