NIAF News Releases

Braving Chicago's Weather to Host Media Forum During Third Largets Storm on Record


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

*Neither sleet, snow nor gale winds kept NIAF from hosting journalists and prominent Italian Americans*

(WASHINGTON, D.C. – February 3, 2011) “Celebrating Italia - it’s history, culture and innovation”
was the theme of the Frank J. Guarini/ National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) eighth media forum at the Hilton Chicago on February 2, 2011. Robert Allegrini, NIAF board member and regional vice president and vice president of corporate communications for the Americas of the Hilton Hotels Corporation, hosted the luncheon. Media co-chairs included Monica DeSantis, news anchor for WLS AM 890, Joan Esposito, former news anchor and co-founder of J2SC.COM, and Vicki Giammona, former associate producer for ABC7 Chicago.

Chicago received 20.2 inches of snow, the city’s third-largest amount in its history. According to the National Weather Service, “the storm was, if not unprecedented, extraordinarily rare.”

Robert Allegrini with guests
Despite the weather, the importance of collaborating, networking and forging partnerships was discussed which brought the guests full circle through lively conversation.

Timed to honor the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy, Victoria Isley, senior vice president of marketing and communications for Destination DC, Washington, DC’s tourism office, traveled to Chicago and spoke about the Italian cultural citywide festival in DC. La Dolce DC, running March 1-July 31, 2011, will coincide with engagements of Italian art at the National Gallery of Art and The Phillips Collection.

Since March 17, St. Patrick’s Day, marks the official day a united Italy was proclaimed for the first time since the fall of the Roman Empire, it was fitting that Allegrini hosted the forum at Kitty O’ Sheas restaurant at the Hilton Chicago. Last month, Italy’s President Giorgio Napolitano proclaimed that March 17 will be observed as a national holiday throughout in Italy in 2011.

To further build on our Italian American heritage in Chicago, Fulvio Calcinardi, executive director of the Italian American Chamber of Commerce, asked all to mark their calendars for the upcoming Italian Expo showcasing the food, wine, fashion and tourism of 150 Italian companies. The event at Navy Pier will be held September 30 and October 1-2, 2011.

NIAF has planned similar media forums in February and March for Phoenix, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) is a non-profit, non-partisan foundation dedicated to promoting the contributions of Italian Americans. The Foundation has a wide range of programs that provide scholarships and grants, conferences and cultural seminars. Visit

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