NIAF 36th Anniversary Convention and Gala
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact:   Elissa Ruffino (NIAF) 202/939-3106 or

EVENT: NIAF 36th Anniversary Convention and Gala

SPONSOR: The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF)

WHEN: Friday, October 28, 2011
9 a.m.- 5 p.m. Events, 8 p.m. Evening Entertainment

Saturday, October 29, 2011
9 a.m.- 4 p.m. Events, 5 p.m. Reception, 7 p.m. Dinner and Awards

WHERE: The Washington Hilton
1919 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.

Twelve-time MLB all-star Mike Piazza, actress Anna Maria Alberghetti will join ‘50s and ‘60s music icon Frankie Avalon, Italian fashion model Fabio, film producer Dana Brunetti, actors David Faustino and Joe Pantoliano, legendary NFL Coach Dick Vermeil and Chairman of the Board of USA Basketball Jerry Colangelo, at the National Italian American Foundation’s (NIAF) 36th Anniversary Awards Gala. Emmy Award-winning journalist Maria Bartiromo will serve as mistress of ceremonies at the Foundation’s annual black-tie event on Saturday, October 29, 2011, at the Washington Hilton before more than 3,000 guests from the United States and Italy.

Prominent elected officials, including Hon. Nancy Pelosi, Minority Leader of the United States House of Representatives, United States Representatives Michael GrimmJohn MicaDana Rohrabacheras well as former senator Alfonse D’AmatoJohn Podesta, president and CEO of The Center for American Progress and Italy’s Ambassador to the United States, H.E. Giuliomaria Terzi di Sant’Agata will also attend the gala. Dr. Thomas Scalea, a 2010 gala honoree and Physician-in-chief at the University of Maryland Shock Trama Center, is the Foundation’s gala convention weekend chairman.

2011 NIAF Gala Honorees:
• Claudio Bozzo
, President of the Mediterranean Shipping Company (USA) Inc., will receive a NIAF Special Achievement Award in International Business.
• Sen. Capri Cafaro, Minority Leader of the Ohio Senate, will receive the NIAF Youth Leadership Award.
• Dion DiMucci, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, will receive the NIAF Special Achievement Award in Entertainment.
• Hon. Frank J. Guarini, Former U.S. Congressman and NIAF Chairman Emeritus, will receive the NIAF Lifetime Achievement Award in Leadership.
• Frank G. Mancuso Sr., Former Chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studio, will receive The NIAF Jack Valenti Institute Award.
• Emma Marcegaglia, President of Confindustria, will receive the NIAF Special Achievement Award in Women’s Leadership.
• Paolo Scudieri, CEO of Adler Plastic S.p.A., will receive the NIAF Special Achievement Award in International Business.
• Hon. Santo Versace, President of Gianni Versace S.p.A. and Chairman of the Board of Fondazione Operation Smile Italia Onlus, will receive the NIAF Special Achievement Award in Philanthropy.

Highlights of the NIAF weekend will include the popular “Glacier Vodka’s Salute to the Martini” with Radio King Orchestra for an evening of dancing, dinner and entertainment on Friday, October 28, at 8 p.m. in the hotel’s International Ballroom. During NIAF’s convention weekend, the Foundation will host Expo Italia, a two-day exhibition showcasing the best of Italy with a bocce court including demos and instructions as well as our Auction Showcase with exciting items to bid on at Saturday’s Celebrity Luncheon and Auction. Tickets to Saturday’s black-tie gala begin at $400 per person. Proceeds benefit NIAF’s educational programs. For tickets or sponsor information, contact Jerry Jones at 202/387-0600 or, or register online 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.