Media Advisory: NIAF 30th Anniversary Awards Gala


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

EVENT: NIAF 30th Anniversary Awards Gala

SPONSOR: The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF)

WHEN: Saturday, October 15, 2005
6:00 P.M. reception, 7:00 P.M. dinner

WHERE: Hilton Washington & Towers
1919 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Washington, DC (202/483-3000)

Singers Jay Black and Natalie Merchant and actors Danny Aiello, Maria Bello, Dennis Farina, andAntonio Sabato, Jr., will join the more than 3,000 people from across America and Italy at the National Italian American Foundation’s (NIAF) 30th Anniversary Gala on October 15. The NIAF Dinner Chair is Willis Group Holdings Chairman and CEO Joseph J. Plumeri. Popular entertainer Tony Danzawill be the master of ceremonies.

The 2005 NIAF Honorees are:
• Paul S. Otellini
; president and CEO of Intel Corporation, will receive the NIAF Special Achievement Award in Business.
General Peter Pace; the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will receive the NIAF Special Achievement Award for Military Service.
Michelle Peluso; president and CEO of Travelocity, will receive the NIAF Special Achievement Award in Business.
Ambassador Peter F. Secchia; chairman of the board at Universal Forest Products Inc., and managing partner of SIBSCO LLC, will receive the NIAF Special Achievement Award for International Affairs.

During the NIAF convention weekend (October 14-15), the Foundation will host conferences, wine tasting events, the traditional celebrity luncheon and auction, a youth networking breakfast, and the 6th Annual Salute to the Martini with music by Jay Black and the Americans. Conferences include: Italian Cities of Art and Agricultural Tourism with a book presentation of How Italy Helped the Cold War: The Untold Story – “Mission Italy” by Ambassador Richard N. Gardner; Italian Americans in Sports; and a screening of Uncle Nino starring Joe Mantegna, NIAF celebrity spokesperson. NIAF will also host a screening of Sophia Loren’s film Francesco e Nunziata. The Region of Piedmonte, this year’s sponsoring region from Italy, will host a wine tasting event and provide products that are typical of the region.

Dinner tickets begin at $400 per person. Attire: Black tie. Proceeds will benefit the NIAF Scholarship and Education Programs. For tickets or sponsor information, contact: Bonni Cellini at 202/939-3114 or or register on-line at

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, legislative internships in Congress, conferences and cultural seminars. Visit our website at