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NATIONAL ITALIAN AMERICAN, GREEK AMERICAN GROUPS COMMEND CONGRESS FOR INITIATIVE TO HONOR CONSTANTINO BRUMIDI
** NIAF and AHEPA Co-Sponsor Reception in U.S. Capitol**


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:   Elissa Ruffino (NIAF) 202/939-3106 or elissa@niaf.org


(Washington, D.C. – July15, 2005) Leaders of national Italian American and Greek American organizations, including the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) and the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA), laud the initiative of Members of Congress to honor Constantino Brumidi, artist of the United States Capitol, on the 200th anniversary of his birth. Members of Congress introduced a concurrent resolution that authorizes the use of the Capitol Rotunda on July 26, 2005 at 11:00 a.m. for a ceremony to honor Brumidi.

The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) and the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA) are co-sponsoring a reception to honor Mr. Brumidi in Statutory Hall of the U.S. Capitol. The reception will immediately follow the Rotunda ceremony.

Senator Hillary Clinton and Representative Bill Pascrell, Jr. introduced the concurrent resolution in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives respectively on June 30. House and Senate Leadership are supportive of the resolution and will be invited to participate in the program.

“NIAF is pleased to be a partner in this important celebration of a great American with our colleagues at AHEPA and distinguished Members of the U.S. Congress,” Dr. A. Kenneth Ciongoli, chairman and CEO of NIAF, said. “Mr. Brumidi epitomized the American dream. He is a hero to all immigrants and should be championed by all Americans.”

“We applaud the efforts of Senator Clinton, Representative Pascrell, Jr., the leaders of the Italian American and Hellenic American delegations, and the Senate Cultural Caucus for taking the lead on this important endeavor,” Franklin R. Manios, president of AHEPA, said. “We are proud to work with our Italian American colleagues to ensure Mr. Brumidi is properly recognized for his contributions to America. He truly did fulfill the ultimate American Dream.”

The Senate Concurrent Resolution was introduced by Senator Clinton (D-NY), Senator Michael Enzi (R-WY), Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA). The House Concurrent Resolution was introduced by the co-chairs of the Italian American Congressional Delegation, Reps. Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ) and John Mica (R-FL), and the co-chairs of the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues, Reps. Michael Bilirakis (R-FL) and Carolyn Maloney (D-NY).

The son of a Greek father and Italian mother, Constantino Brumidi arrived in New York where he began building his legacy as the "Michelangelo of America." His most famous work is the Apotheosis of Washington, a captivating fresco that covers the inside of the Capitol Rotunda. He also painted a majority of the Frieze of American History, a piece that bands around the base of the Rotunda. Mr. Brumidi has been honored in the Capitol in 1952, 1968 and 1980. The late Congressman Peter Rodino (N.J.) was the master of ceremonies during the 1968 and 1980 ceremonies.

This important event is the result of the collaboration of a number of groups including: The NIAF/Frank J. Guarini Public Policy Forum on Capitol Hill; The Constantino Brumidi Society; Order Sons of Italy in American (OSIA); and the Conference of Italian American Presidents.

The NIAF, a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C., is dedicated to preserving the heritage of Italian Americans. The NIAF organizes cultural activities and helps young people with scholarships, internships and other programs. Visit our web site at www.niaf.org

Founded in 1922, AHEPA is the largest and oldest American-based, Greek heritage grassroots membership organization. Its mission is to promote the ancient Greek ideals of philanthropy, education, civic responsibility, and family and individual excellence through community service. For more information, please visit www.ahepa.org.




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