Lombardo Selected as a NIAF Education Scholar


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

(Washington, DC – August 8, 2003) The National Italian American Foundation is pleased to announce that Dr. Maria Lombardo, former NIAF Education Director of 20 years, was selected a NIAF Education Scholar. In this new position, Dr. Lombardo will dedicate her time to assist the Italian American community in promoting the Italian language and culture.

In her capacity as NIAF Education Director from 1981 – 2001, Dr. Lombardo administered the NIAF national scholarship program that grew from issuing two $250 scholarships annually to the awarding of 143 scholarships yearly ranging from $2,000 to $20,000 each. In recent years, she helped to raise up to $300,000 yearly for the scholarship program. She initiated NIAF=s grant program that has provided technical assistance and seed money for community based programs. She provided technical assistance to school districts and colleges. Her recent work was with the Italian Consulate and Chicago area schools assisting them to attain a matching grant from the U.S. and Italian governments and the school district. The total value was over $2 million. Dr. Lombardo wrote grants and received funding to conduct medical/legal conferences; 29 Holocaust in Southern Europe conferences; student exchanges; women=s programs, Italian language programs; art exhibits; Blue Ribbon School Program and attained partial funding for the film AA Debt to Honor@ developed by Documentaries International and narrated by Alan Alda.

Dr. Lombardo was recognized for her work in promoting the Italian culture in the United States when she received the Marisa Bellisario International Award at the Confindustria Auditorium in Rome. In 2000, President Clinton appointed Dr. Lombardo to a six-year term on the Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation Board of Trustees. She also served on the Board of Directors of the American University of Rome. On May 1, 2003, Dr. Lombardo received the “Educator of the Year Award” from the Association of Italian American Educators.

Her most recent accomplishment was the publication of her book A Camp Without Walls, published by Italy/Italy Magazine in Rome. The book includes her Nazi slave labor camp survivor father=s impact on her family, a historical account of Italy=s role during World War II, an annotated bibliography, and photographs. Information concerning the purchase of A Camp Without Walls is available at or by contacting Dr. Lombardo at P.O. Box 23758, Washington, D.C. 20026-3758, Fax (301) 530-2149, or e-mail at