Andiamo in Italia! NIAF 38th Anniversary Gala


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

Saturday, October 26, 2013 6 p.m. Reception; 7 p.m. Dinner and Awards
The Washington Hilton 1919 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.

10-10-2013-giadaSpend the weekend with NIAF as we celebrate the rich heritage and culture of Italy, while showcasing the best of Italy and of Italian Americans!

Italy’s region of Campania,, the 2013-2014 Region of Honor, will serve a selection of fine wines during NIAF’s black-tie gala on Saturday evening capping the weekend festivities. Companies from the region as well as businesses headed by Italian Americans will showcase their products and services at NIAF Central throughout the day on Saturday.

Dignitaries from Italy including Pietro Grasso, President of the Italian Senate, and Claudio Bisogniero, Italy’s Ambassador to the United States, will lead the Italian Delegation. They will be joined by representatives from Italy’s Chamber of Deputies and Consul Generals from Miami, Philadelphia, Newark, Detroit, Houston, Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago and New York.

Two of Italy’s business executives, Diana Bracco, CEO and President of Bracco S.p.A., and Roberto Colaninno, Chairman and CEO of Piaggio & C. S.p.A., will receive NIAF Special Achievement Awards in Philanthropy and International Business, respectively.

Award-winning actor and director Paul Sorvino and former CIA Director and former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta top the list of Italian American honorees at the black-tie gala. They will receive NIAF Special Achievement Awards in Entertainment and Government, respectively. This year’s gala honorees include: Louis Donatelli, Founder and Chairman of Donatelli Development Inc., who will receive the NIAF Special Achievement Award in Business; and George Randazzo, Founder and Chairman of the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame in Chicago, who receive the NIAF Italian American Community Leadership Award.

To emcee the NIAF gala,Maria Bartiromo, Emmy Award-winning journalist and CNBC Anchor, will join comedian and actor Joe Piscopo on stage at one of the largest galas in the nation’s capital.

To open the gala, singer and songwriter Giada Valenti will sing “Inno di Mameli,” Italy’s national anthem. NIAF Vice Chairman Louis J. Freeh, former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and chairman of Pepper Hamilton LLP and Freeh Group Int’l Solutions, will chair the gala. Mike Piazza, 12-time MLB All-Star, actor Tony Lo Bianco, and Miss D.C. Jessica Firth, will join other notables and guests from cities across the United States and Italy. After the gala dinner, NIAF will host its popular After Hours Celebration.

Saturday highlights also include a special movie screening of “Carnera: The Walking Mountain”; a discussion of the state of the Italian American community at “Ieri, Oggi, Domani”; a conference on “Current Advances in Medicine, Surgery and Biotechnology,” and a sit-down Wine Tasting and Luncheon featuring a selection of wines throughout Italy.

Tickets to Saturday’s black-tie gala begin at $350 per person (members), $400 per person (non-members). Proceeds benefit NIAF’s educational programs. For tickets or sponsor information, contact Jerry Jones at 202-387-0600 or, or register online at Reserve a room in special discounted NIAF room block at the Washington Hilton at

The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and promoting the heritage and culture of Americans of Italian descent. Visit

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