Contact: Serena Cantoni in NYC with Students at 202/256-4743 for Interviews or


Contact:   Elissa Ruffino (NIAF)   202/939-3106202/939-3106 or 202/939-3106

Contact: Serena Cantoni in Philadelphia with students at  202/256-4743202/256-4743202/256-4743 for interviews or
Elissa Ruffino 202/387-0600202/387-0600 202/387-0600ext. 13 or

The NIAF Sponsors 160 Student Exchanges
**Wednesday, July 25 and Thursday, July 26**

(WASHINGTON, DC – July 25, 2001) Forty Italian students attending universities throughout Italy are in Philadelphia and New Jersey, today and tomorrow, Thursday, July 26 to participate in The Gift of Discovery: Learning Exchange, Italy and America, an educational and cultural program sponsored and paid for by The National Italian American Foundation.

In Philadelphia, the participants will visit Cabrini College and learn about American university life. A tour of the city includes; Independence Square, Old Colonial Philadelphia and South Philly, the home of many famous Italian Americans. The students will also travel to Trenton, NJ and meet with Mercer County Executive Robert Prunetti. They will attend a “Trenton Thunder” baseball game in northern New Jersey. The students will then travel Washington, DC for the remaining three days (July 27-29).

The Foundation’s program will increase the participants’ understanding of America and the progress that Italian Americans have made in the last century. Over 600 students between the ages of 18 and 23 applied to the Foundation’s Gift of Discovery program.

On Friday July 20, the Italian students arrived in Providence, RI for three days to participate in the Foundation’s 8th Annual Youth Retreat. At the retreat, the students learned about Italian American traditions and compared those traditions to their heritage, took a boat tour of the rivers of Providence and networked with Italian American students.

In New York City, the group visited the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and East Side Tenement Museum. They enjoyed an evening boat cruise and dinner on the Hudson River and visited a Krispy Kreme store in Long Island to make doughnuts and learn about the American franchise business model. Participants also met with NIAF Board of Director Marie Garibaldi, who was the first woman to serve on the New Jersey Supreme Court, and NIAF Regional Vice President Vincenzo Marra, an example of an Italian immigrant who started and established a business in Manhattan.

A total of one hundred and twenty Italian American students were hosted by the NIAF on a 10-day trip to northern and southern Italy from May 18-28 and June 13-23.