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NIAF 41st Anniversary Gala Weekend a Star-Studded Success
October 15, 2016
Washington Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, Washington, DC
The National Italian American Foundation capped off their annual weekend of cultural events featuring the best in Italian food, beverage and immersive experiences with a Black Tie Gala Awards Dinner honoring Directors Joseph and Anthony Russo (Arrested Development, Captain America), football great Franco Harris (Pittsburgh Steelers) and many others.
LINK TO GALA PHOTOS: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/u1s6netae267v8g/AABIA-WVuq68M4QuVpb4FNRqa?dl=0
(Washington, D.C. – October 17, 2016) This past weekend, October 14th – 15th, The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) proudly hosted its annual Gala Weekend at The Washington Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, DC. This exciting 2-day event, held during National Italian American Heritage Month, was packed with educational activities and cultural events celebrating the best of Italy here in the USA.
The weekend concluded with a black-tie gala awards dinner, where over 1,500 guests enjoyed exciting entertainment, Italian specialty fare, wine from this year’s NIAF Region of Honor, Piemonte, and feted Italian and Italian American notables, who have made massive cultural and social impact strengthening the Italian American identity and heritage.
The evening, hosted by Joe Piscopo and NIAF President John M. Viola, featured exciting musical performances, including a performance by music legend Tony Renis, who received a standing ovation, after telling the crowd he had not sung in public for 20 years. Other highlights of the evening included the announcement by honorees Joseph and Anthony Russo of a new NIAF program to assist young filmmakers in telling the Italian American experience and an exciting live auction that featured a walk on role in the next Avengers film. This year’s Gala was also the last for NIAF Board Chairman Joseph Del Raso, who received a thank you from current NIAF Board Members on stage, in a touching speech, at the end of the evening.
Gala attendees included Actor Sebastian Stan (Captain America, The Winter Soldier), Ambassador of Italy to the United States Armando Varricchio, Congressman Tom Marino, Former Congresswoman Connie Morella of Maryland, The Hon. Patricia de Stacy Harrison, President and CEO of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Entrepreneur, Restaurateur and Host of ‘At Will Radio’ Will Malnati, Comedian Joe Piscopo, Singer and Performer Deana Martin, Daughter of the late Dean Martin, The Hon. Anita Bevacqua McBride, Former Chief of Staff for Laura Bush and Executive in Residence at American University and Italian Pop Opera Star Alma Manera – along with honorees Joe and Anthony Russo, Businessman Stefano Pessina CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc., Pro Football Hall of Famer Franco Harris, , Dr. Aileen R. Sirey, Singer and Songwriter Tony Renis and Luigi Lavazza S.p.A, Vice Chairman, Giuseppe Lavazza.
– Full list of honorees:
- Joe & Anthony Russo, film directors
- Stefano Pessina, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc.
- Franco Harris, Pittsburgh Steelers & Seattle Seahawks Pro Football Hall of Fame
- Dr. Aileen Riotto Sirey, representing the National Organization of Italian American Women
- Tony Renis, singer and songwriter
- Giuseppe Lavazza, Vice-Chairman and Member of the Board Luigi Lavazza S.p.A.
- Maria Franca Ferrero, Ferrero Group
NIAF is the largest and most faithful representative of over 25 million Italian Americans living in the United States.
The two most important objectives that the NIAF aims are to ensure that Italian Americans continue to keep alive and present the rich heritage of their values and cultural traditions, and to make sure that the Italian American community preserves and remembers the great contribution Italians have made to the history and progress of the United States.
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The National Italian American Foundation
41st Anniversary Gala Weekend
2 Days of food, beverage, product samples, giveaways, cultural experiences, meet and greets, cooking demonstrations, wine pavilion, film screenings, workshops and amazing parties capped off with a star-studded black-tie Gala celebration
Where: The Washington Marriott Wardman Park Hotel
When: October 14th & 15th, 2016
Additional Information: www.NIAF.org/GALA
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The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and protecting the Italian American heritage and culture. Based in Washington, D.C., it is the major advocate for nearly 25 million Italian Americans, the nation’s fifth largest ethnic group. To learn more about the Foundation, visit www.niaf.org.