Saturday, October 29, NIAF will celebrate its 47th Anniversary Gala at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C. Purchase tickets
The National Italian American Foundation 44th Anniversary Gala Weekend


Natalie Wulderk

Celebrating Five Honorees and the NIAF 2019 Region of Honor—Molise

(Washington, D.C. – November 1, 2019) The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) is calling the elegant Omni Shoreham Hotel home this weekend to celebrate its 44th Anniversary Gala Weekend. Throughout this unforgettable weekend, NIAF will be celebrating its 2019 Region of Honor, Molise, along with its five impressive honorees who are outstanding members of the Italian American community for their exceptional work in their respective fields.

This year, we are pleased to honor Maria Bartiromo, NIAF Board Member, two-time Emmy Award winner, and anchor of Mornings with Maria and Maria Bartiromo’s Wall Street on Fox Business Network, and Sunday Morning Futures on Fox News Channel; Real Estate and Chairman of U.S. Semiquincentennial Commission Daniel M. DiLella; Chairman and CEO of BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company)Vincent A. Forlenza; President of AFL-CIO Richard L. Trumka, and Chairman & CEO of The AmeriHealth Caritas Family of Companies Paul A. Tufano. Our distinguished honorees will be recognized and awarded at the 44th Anniversary Gala Awards Dinner, the centerpiece event of the weekend, Saturday, November 2.

The Gala Weekend festivities begin Friday, November 1, with our Young Professional Aperitivo event for young Italian, Italian American and Italophile professionals, from 6 – 8 p.m. Italian-style cocktails, complimentary aperitivo bites and Dolci Gelati gelato will be served while up-and-coming leaders meet and mingle with other members of the Italian American community. The event will boast a photobooth and a sophisticated soundtrack of world lounge and house grooves thanks to DJ Donald Syriani.

After the Young Professional Aperitivo is an Evening with Celebrity Chef Mary Ann Esposito. The Celebrity Chef will take guests through an elegant, three-course dinner inspired by the cuisine of Molise, the NIAF 2019 Region of Honor. To further highlight Molise, award-winning singer and songwriter from the region Chiara Izzi will grace the audience with her warm Mediterranean voice. Each guest will receive Esposito’s latest cookbook, Ciao Italia: My Lifelong Food Adventures in Italy.

On Saturday, November 2, from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., attend the largest Italian festival in the Nation’s Capital—NIAF’s Expo Italiana. Free and open to the public, Expo Italiana will showcase entertaining, educational and commercial offerings of Italian and Italian American exhibitors. From the best Italian wines, to iconic Italian Vespas, curated tours of Italy, Tuscan cigars, free samples of Italian culinary artistry, and espresso, attendees will want to arrive early for an opportunity to enjoy all of the Expo’s offerings. Throughout the day, learn about Italian dual citizenship, genealogy, language and travel programs; watch a presentation about Luigi Del Bianco, chief carver of Mount Rushmore; brush up your Italian language with the Italian Cultural Society of Washington; view the top three finalists’ films for The Russo Brothers Italian American Film Forum; sit in on Gelato 101 for a lesson and tasting with the owner of Dolci Gelati; and listen to the band i-Talians who will be Expo Italiana’s featured and lively entertainment. Don’t forget to stop by the NIAF photo booth! Free and open to the public.

As the Expo Italiana concludes, the evening festivities will begin with the NIAF Gala Receptions, which will lead guests dressed in elegant ball gowns and black tuxedos into the sold out NIAF 44th Anniversary Gala Awards Dinner at 7 p.m. Along with celebrating distinguished honorees and Molise as NIAF’s 2019 Region of Honor, this year, the Foundation will be recognizing Ambassador Peter F. Secchia for his generous contributions to the Foundation and his namesake program, the Ambassador Peter F. Secchia Voyage of Discovery, a first-time travel to Italy program for young Americans of Italian descent that is celebrating 20 years since its inception. There will also be a special tribute to the founder of the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame and past NIAF honoree George Randazzo who passed away earlier this year. NIAF is pleased to honor and recognize these individuals who have achieved special distinction and reflected pride of their Italian heritage.

Entertainment for the evening will include: Christina Carlucci, actress, dancer, singer and long-time NIAF supporter, to perform the national anthems of both the United States and Italy and Alessandro Coli, an Italian singer-songwriter who collaborated with NIAF to offer its members a chance to win a free trip to Italy for two. Operatic powerhouse The Sicilian Tenors will also take the stage; and for those who cannot attend an Evening with Celebrity Chef Mary Ann Esposito, award-winning singer and songwriter Chiara Izzi will also perform on Saturday night. To purchase tickets and sponsorships, visit

After the Gala Awards Dinner, the annual and much anticipated After Hours Party is the opportunity for guests to untie bowtie and through off high heels to join in the most famous Italian party in America. The band i-Talians will DJ, playing a fantastic mix of today’s top hits along with Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin classics to sing your heart out and dance to with your fellow Italian Americans.

To close the Gala Weekend, guests are invited to a Sunday Mass, conducted in Italian, the morning of November 3, at the Holy Rosary Church, in Washington, D.C.

To see the entire NIAF Gala Weekend schedule, please visit

The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to preserving, promoting and protecting the Italian American heritage and culture. To learn more about the Foundation and become a member, please visit