Posts Tagged ‘Italian Embassy’

Many years ago, Washington lawyer Joe Grano, after returning to Washington from a trip to Rome, Italy, realized that the two cities shared more than just their status as capital cities. Joe saw that the arts and architecture of the two cities were similar, of course, but he also noted that perhaps those similarities were not accidental but deliberate.

Joe Grano and Gianni Alemanno

As Joe explained to CiaoAmerica!, “The American Founding Fathers chose a republic as their preferred form of government after having studied extensively the ‘constitution’ of the Roman Republic. Once it was decided to create a new city for the Seat of Government, it was only natural that they chose Roman architecture for their main public buildings. This was a deliberate decision of Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. It is certainly not accidental that the three buildings that represent the legislative, executive and judicial branches, i.e. The Capitol, the White House and the  Supreme Court building are ultimately derived from Roman models, albeit two from an indirect route. Indeed, Jefferson highly recommended a rotunda for the new U.S. Capitol building.”

Joe Grano  decided to act on his observations and over the years became the force behind efforts to join Rome and Washington in a “Sister Cities ” agreement.

But even before that campaign, Joe founded the Constantino Brumidi Society and began efforts to have, among others, Constantino Brumidi, the “Michelangelo of the Nation’s Capitol,” recognized by the U.S. Congress.  Eventually, through his tireless efforts, and his ceaseless prodding of national Italian American organizations, Congress  posthumously awarded Brumidi a Congressional Gold Medal.

Now that the medal has been minted, Joe is indefatigably prodding appropriate Washington institutions to hold a ceremony to commemorate the minting of the medal.

This past Tuesday, Joe sat among the invited guests witnessing the signing ceremony of the “Sister Cities” agreement. He must have felt a moment of satisfaction as he watched the Mayor of  Rome,  Gianni Alemmanno, and the Mayor of Washington, D.C., Vincent Gray sign the document in the historic John Wilson Building, seat of the D.C. government.   Outside the building, the U.S., D.C. and Italian flags waved in the breeze.

Joe recalls that he first brought the “Sister City” idea to the attention of the administration of former DC Mayor Anthony Williams and enlisted the help of other local groups, including SMATCH.  However, by the time the then-Mayor of Rome, Walter Veltroni, expressed an interest in signing an agreement, the city elected a new mayor.  Under the following Mayor, Adrian Fenty, whose mother Janet  Perno  Fenty is incidentally Italian American, a series of meetings were held with heads of local groups and distinguished Washingtonians to draft a protocol and agreement. Early  in 2008, the draft protocol was approved by Mayor Fenty and then transmitted to Rome. Unfortunately, soon after it was sent, Veltroni resigned as mayor.  Read more . . .


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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

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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.

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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

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As Italian Americans prepare to celebrate Columbus Day,  we are tragically reminded  not only of the contributions that Italians have made to America but of Italy’s continuing committment to bring stability and peace in troubled parts of the world.  When Christopher Columbus set sail across the Atlantic his findings, said President Obama yesterday in his Columbus Day Proclamation,  “would change the map of the world and forever alter the course of human history.” 

Today, however,  we mourn the tragic loss of four Italian soldiers, Gianmarco Manca (born at Alghero September 24,1978), Francesco Vannozzi (born in Pisa, March 27, 1984), Sebastiano Ville (born in Lentini, Siracusa, September 17, 1983) and Marco Pedone (born in Gagliano del Capo, Lecce, April 14,1987) who were killed in Afghanistan today in a roadside bomb attack.    Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said he was saddened “by the tragic ambush.” But added that the Italian Government was “grateful to all Italian soldiers who, in various missions around the world, allow our country to keep its international commitments in support of peace and against any form of terrorism.”  

Thirty-four Italians have died in Afghanistan since 2004. On this Columbus Day weekend let us remember them.

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The Columbus Citizens Foundation of New York City has pledged $500,000 to help reinstate The College Board’s Italian Language and Culture Advanced Placement program. The program, known as AP Italian, was suspended following the 2008-2009 school year because of a lack of funding.

 The commitment, announced by the Foundation’s president Frank Fusaro, matches the National Italian American Foundation’s pledge of $500,000 announced last April. The Italian Government through the leadership of Italian Ambassador to Washington, Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata, has spearheaded the efforts to bring together national Italian American organizations and to ensure that the AP program would be reinstated. Earlier this year, Italy pledged $1.5 million. The Order Sons of Italy (OSIA) has pledged $75,000 over threee years. READ MORE

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 A Congressional reception welcoming Italian Ambassador Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata to the United States was held at the U.S. Capitol on March 16, 2010. The event was hosted by the National Italian American Foundation under the auspices of the Frank J. Guarini Public Policy Forum and the Italian American Congressional Delegation. Present was a large contingent of the Italian American Congressional Delegation, including Representatives Pat Tiberi and Bill Pascrell, co-chairmen of the Delegation for the 111th Congress, and Representatives Robert Aderholt, John Boccieri, Marcy Kaptur, John Mica, Steve Scalise, and former Rep. Mike Ferguson.  Read more at CiaoAmerica.net

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