At a reception on Capitol Hill hosted by the National Italian American Foundation, Italian Ambassador Claudio Bisogniero greeted on Wednesday evening (Feb 27) the new Italian American Congressional Delegation for 113th Congress.
Pat Tiberi, Claudio Bisogniero, Bill Pascrell
“The relationship between Italy the United States is so profound and so solid” said Bisogniero. The Ambassador noted that the 2013 Year of Italian Culture was happening at “the right time” because “these days Italy is in not in the front page of newspapers for the right reason, we’re trying through this initiative to put Italy in the front page of those papers for the right reasons.”
Representative Bill Pascrell (NJ-8), co-chair of the IACD said in his welcoming remarks, referring to the Italian elections held last Sunday, “we pray that our mother country will put this together in a way that forms a government that lasts more than two months. This is serious business. This is a great ally of the United States of America.”
Representative Pat Tiberi (OH-12), the other co-chair of the IACD, recounted in his remarks that Angelina, his nine-year old daughter, early this year wrote a report on one of her grandparents, and after completing her research she said to him: “Italians have done a lot for America!” “We share a common culture that binds us—let’s celebrate what connects us tonight. We are so fortunate to have Ambassador Claudio Bisognero here with us tonight to help us strengthen our relationship with Italy,” Tiberi said. He encouraged everyone to get closer to Italy since the Italian people are facing difficult times. “When we help our mother country, we help our country,” he added.
Other Senators and Representatives who attended the reception included Senator Michael Enzi , Representatives Lou Barletta (PA); Suzanne Bonamici (OR); Michael Capuano (MA); David Cicilline (RI); Chris Collins (NY); Rosa L. DeLauro (CT); Mike Doyle (PA);Michael Grimm (NY); Marcy Kaptur (OH); Tom Marino (PA); Jim Renacci (OH); Brad Wenstrup (OH); and Ted Yoho (FL). Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi recounted a recent reception at the White House when President Obama warmly greeted Italy’s President Giorgio Napolitano, and many Italian Americans. “It’s all about personal relationships and respect we have for each other,” she added. She thanked NIAF for their work in bringing everyone together this evening.
“Care elettrici, cari elettori, Vivo negli Stati Uniti da 25 anni, amo questo paese nel quale mi sento integrata e conservo profondamente radicata nel mio cuore la mia italianità, l’amore e l’orgoglio per la mia terra d’origine. Amore e orgoglio che unisce noi tutti, italiani fuori patria. Orgoglio di essere Italiani e allo stesso tempo desiderio di essere tutelati, di sentirci riconosciuti anche se lontani. Abbiamo imparato tante cose in America, come imprenditori, come lavoratori, come madri, padri, come pensionati… Qualsiasi percorso abbiate fatto, voi, come me, sarete giunti alla stessa conclusione: siamo Italiani, ma anche un po’ Americani. Siamo diversi. Ed i nostri figli sono più Americani che Italiani. Dobbiamo allora trovare un forte legame con la nostra TERRA, che dia a noi stessi ed ai nostri figli motivo di tornare, la speranza di dare il nostro contributo, anche a distanza, con dignità e rispetto. Ho scelto di
candidarmi al Parlamento Italiano per portare un contributo nuovo alla politica del nostro Paese, per dare voce a quella piccola e grande Italia che esiste fuori dai confini nazionali e che noi qui rappresentiamo. Per unire le esperienze, le differenze, le aspettative delle “due Italie”: la nostra, nel paese che ci ospita, e ancora la nostra dall’altra parte dell’oceano, in una prospettiva di sviluppo e benessere. La nostra esperienza, in questo periodo di crisi, può essere preziosa per individuare strategie capaci di ridare slancio al sistema economico e produttivo dell’Italia, per dare vita ad un rinnovamento che possa renderla davvero competitiva nello scenario mondiale. L’America ha dato a tutti noi delle grandi opportunità, opportunità per i nostri figli. Rincorrendo il “sogno americano” abbiamo fatto tanta strada, abbiamo costruito, creduto, vissuto. Realizzato piccoli e grandi progetti. Ora possiamo a nostra volta creare opportunità. Uniti ed insieme possiamo essere una grande forza.
Possiamo costruire un percorso associativo e politico in cui ciascuno di noi possa sentirsi parte attiva, costituire una comunità dinamica, unita, al di là delle differenze regionali. Possiamo sostenere il Made in Italy e rafforzare il sistema Italia all’estero. Possiamo aiutare i giovani a mantenere viva la nostra italianità e la nostra lingua proponendo iniziative che coinvolgono le nuove generazioni di connazionali e di discendenti, per promuovere la diffusione della lingua e della cultura italiana. Possiamo batterci su temi che necessitano di maggiore attenzione da parte delle istituzioni italiane come la cittadinanza, l’assistenza e l’erogazione delle pensioni, l’informazione per gli italiani all’estero e Rai Italia. E ancora la revisione dell’IMU e del Tarsu, la tassa sui
rifiuti. Attraverso la mia esperienza di italiana all’estero, madre di tre figli, ho percepito tutte le problematiche che ognuno di noi vive quotidianamente abitando in un paese straniero. Il mio sogno è un giorno di poter parlare con i miei nipoti in italiano senza vergogna. Di comprare specialità regionali a prezzi ragionevoli e senza imposizioni doganali: in questo Paese arrivano merci da tutto il mondo senza problema… ma provate a farvi mandare un pacco dall’Italia e vedrete quanto tempo e costo comporta! Chiedo la vostra fiducia per rappresentare la vostra voce a Roma, una voce che porterà una ventata di novità all’interno del Parlamento, che vi ascolterà, che cercherà di capire quali sono le vostre problematiche, i vostri ideali, i vostri sogni e che farà valere le vostre idee e i vostri DIRITTI. Lotteremo insieme, come comunità italiana che condivide dei forti valori di identità caratterizzati da una profonda umanità e cultura, quegli stessi valori che ci hanno trasmesso i nostri padri e che ci contraddistinguono ovunque nel mondo.”
Fifty years of bilateral agreements with NASA: it was 1962 when Italy signed the first agreement with NASA to launch the first Italian satellite from the base of Wallops Island (Virginia), followed by the first launch of an Italian satellite from the Italian launch base of Malindi (Kenya). The first joint mission of NASA-ASI, LAGEOS, dates back to 1992, it was dedicated to the study of the Earth’s geodesy and geodynamics. In that same year mission Tethered was launched to study the ionosphere. The Cassini-Huygens interplanetary mission, still in orbit, was launched in 1997 with the aim of observing Saturn and its satellite Titan. In 2011 the Italian Team was awarded the prestigious “Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Trophy” in recognition of that mission’s efforts and achievements.
Many Italian scientific experiments were carried aboard NASA missions: Swift (2004) for the study of X-rays; SHARAD (2005), the radar onboard the mission Mars Exploration that found water on the red planet, DAWN (2007) for the observation of the asteroids Vesta and Ceres; FERMI / GLAST (2008) for the study of gamma rays; JUNO (2011) directed toward Jupiter to orbit the poles; NuStar (2012), dedicated to the study of X-rays.
Under the International Space Station (ISS), ASI and NASA have established a strong and privileged partnership through a Memorandum signed in 1997. Italy has produced almost 50% of the pressurized volume of the space station, the three Multipurpose Logistics Modules (MPLM) in cooperation with NASA and the Cupola and Nodes 2 and 3 in cooperation with ESA. Since 2011 one of the three modules has been permanently attached to the ISS.
The Italian cooperation in the space station provides a return in terms of flight opportunities for Italian astronauts: Franco Malerba (1992), Umberto Guidoni and Maurizio Cheli (1996), Umberto Guidoni (2001), Paolo Nespoli (2007) and Roberto Vittori (2011). Two new Italian astronauts of the European Astronaut Corps, Luca Parmitano and Samantha Cristoforetti, will follow, respectively, in 2013 and 2014.
Revered in his own time as a “monarch” of painting, Piero della Francesca (1411/13–1492) is acknowledged today as a founding figure of the Italian Renaissance. The Frick Collection is presenting the first monographic exhibition in the United States on the artist, bringing together seven works, including six panels from the Sant’Agostino altarpiece — the largest number from this masterwork ever reassembled for display. These are joined by the Virgin and Child Enthroned with Four Angels, Piero’s only intact altarpiece in this country. Piero della Francesca in America is organized by Nathaniel Silver, Guest Curator and former Andrew W. Mellon Curatorial Fellow. The accompanying catalogue includes essays by James Banker, Professor Emeritus, North Carolina State University; Machtelt Israëls, Guest Researcher, University of Amsterdam; Elena Squillantini, masters candidate, Università degli Studi di Firenze; and Giacomo Guazzini, doctoral candidate, Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa. Shown only at the Frick, where it is on view in the Oval Room, this important exhibition is also accompanied by a rich schedule of lectures, gallery talks, and seminars.
By bringing together seven paintings that Piero made in his hometown of Borgo San Sepolcro, this exhibition considers this pioneering artist in the context of his native city. Among Piero’s major works is the Sant’Agostino altarpiece (1454–69), a large polyptych that towered over the high altar of the local Augustinian church and was disassembled around 1555. One of the full-length figures from this work, Saint Augustine from the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga in Lisbon, makes its debut in America with this presentation. It is reunited for the first time with its companion, the Frick’s Saint John the Evangelist, and with the surviving small-scale panels from the altarpiece: Saint Apollonia from the National Gallery of Art, and the Frick’s Saint Leonard (?), Saint Monica, and The Crucifixion.
Completing the group is Piero’s Virgin and Child Enthroned with Four Angels from the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. This altarpiece, rarely lent by its home institution, has been presented in New York only once since the Clark opened to the public nearly sixty years ago. Removed from the artist’s native city nearly two hundred years ago, it is returned, with this exhibition, to the context of Piero’s oeuvre.
On Friday, February 16, 2013, Italy’s outgoing President Giorgio Napolitano, met with President Barack Obama at the White House. The following is the official transcript as released by White House and the video of their remarks prior to meeting:
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, I want to extend the warmest greetings to my good friend, President Napolitano, on a return visit to the White House. I think it’s entirely appropriate the day after Valentine’s Day, since we know that St. Valentine was associated with Italy, that we had a chance to express our love for the Italian people and my high regard for President Napolitano.
He has been an extraordinary leader not just in Italy but also in Europe. We’ve had occasion to meet many times in which we have expressed again and again the importance of the transatlantic relationship, and the deep and abiding friendship and connection and bond between the Italian people and the American people.
And obviously, we have constantly talked about the extraordinary connection that derives from the tradition of Italian-Americans making enormous contributions to the United States. President Napolitano has been so gracious in talking about his memories of the role that America played in liberating Europe and instituting the kinds of democratic practices and traditions that have served both sides of the Atlantic so well for so many years.
I want to thank the people of Italy for their enormous contributions to the NATO Alliance. Italy is one of our biggest contributors in Afghanistan, and makes enormous sacrifices. They welcome and host our troops on Italian soil. The economic bonds between our two countries are very significant. And in all this, President Napolitano has shown himself to be a visionary leader who has helped to guide and steer Europe towards greater unification, but always with a strong transatlantic relationship in mind.
The last point I would make is that President Napolitano has also just been a good personal friend, a tremendous host to my family when they visited Italy. You should know, Mr. President, that one of the few things that my daughters asked me after I was reelected was, does this mean we can go back to Italy again? (Laughter.) So I confirmed to them that any excuse we can find to visit Italy, we shall return hopefully.
And this will give us an opportunity to not only visit but also to talk about some important issues, including the world economy. I announced at the State of the Union this week my interest and intention in pursuing a U.S.-European Union free trade agreement, which I know is something of great interest to the President. I’ll be interested in hearing from him how he anticipates the elections and government formation in Italy and what implications that has for the larger European project. And I’m sure we’ll have a chance to talk about some national security issues as well.
But my main message is to say thank you for your extraordinary service, and I’m so glad that we had an opportunity to visit once again before you move onto even better things — I assume they’re at least having more fun than politics.
PRESIDENT NAPOLITANO: Thank you very much. I don’t need to say how deeply touched I am by the generous appreciation we just had of my long public service in the interest of Italy, of our alliance, of our common goals. And I am grateful to President Obama for inviting me to pay a farewell visit at the White House, and for giving me the opportunity of an exchange of ideas before I complete my presidential mandate.
I am sure that we will be able today to express a common sense of confidence in the future of Italy and of U.S.-Italy relations; more generally speaking, in the future of our joint commitment to advance global peace, democracy, and human rights.
Italy has made remarkable progress in the past 14 months — the Italian government, with parliamentary support of different and even opposite political forces, and with the comprehension of different social groups and of all citizens. While this progress must and will continue and be developed because Italy needs it, Europe needs it, and I think the world as a whole needs it.
The announcement which has been made — just made in Brussels and in Washington was significant because I was impressed by the words we, the leaders of the European Union and of the United States towards a beautiful incipit. And as well, I think that trade — the transatlantic trade and investment partnership, which will be realized — now we are the opening talks — but I am sure about also the conclusion can represent a relevant contribution for promoting a new wave of development of technologic advancement of social justice on both shores of the Atlantic. And I think it can represent even something more. It is to say a new historic stage in relations between Europe and the United States — not only economically, but also from a political and moral point of view.
My conviction is that the effect that a shift has been taking place in the center of gravity of the world development of international relations doesn’t cancel at all the crucial importance of transatlantic alliance, of transatlantic relations. On the contrary — it represents a new stimulus for us to make such a framework of relation more active, more competitive. It is absolutely necessary for a better world to have our common heritage of values and experiences be a decisive factor also in the course of globalization in the next future.
It is the spirit in which I adhere to testify once more my personal friendship and my admiration for President Obama, only deploring that the visit of the President and his family in Rome was so short, and expecting a new visit also in my new capacity. I be in another palace, but I be there to welcome you.
Candidates for the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies traveled to the nation’s capital on Sunday to participate at a candidates’ forum hosted by the Voce Italian newspaper. Candidates from all the lists, except the PD, participated. The participants were: Dom Serafini (PDL), Simone Lolli (M5S), Giorgio Mosconi (Fare), Melo Cicala (Insieme President), and Vincenzo Arcobelli (lista Monti). Francesco Isgro, Executive Editor of Voce Italiana who moderated the debate, said that it was clear to him that all the candidates agreed that Italian abroad were not well represented in prior administrations and that Italians abroad needed to speak with one voice.
The event was co-sponsored by the Lido Civic Club, the Abruzzi & Molise Heritage Society, the national Council for the Promotion of the Italian Language in American Schools (COPILAS), and the Sons of Italy International Lodge.