Bill de Blasio 109th Mayor of New York City

From the new Mayor’s official web site:

Bill de Blasio is the 109th Mayor of New York City. From his early days as a young City Hall staffer, to serving on his local school board, to his most recent position as Public Advocate for the City of New York, Bill de Blasio has spent his life fighting to ensure that every New Yorker – in every neighborhood throughout our five boroughs – gets a fair shot.

Bill de Blasio

Bill de Blasio

Together with his wife Chirlane, Bill is the proud parent of Chiara, a college sophomore, and Dante, a high school junior. Having raised their children in Brooklyn and sent them to New York City public schools, Bill and Chirlane understand firsthand the fundamental role parents and teachers share in educating the next generation – and of the importance of providing equal educational opportunities in all neighborhoods.

After graduating from NYU, Bill studied at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. He began his career in public service as a junior staffer for New York City’s first African-American mayor, David N. Dinkins, and later became an assistant for community affairs at City Hall.

In 1997, Bill moved to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, working as Regional Director under then-Housing Secretary Andrew Cuomo, as New York and New Jersey’s highest-ranking official in the department. At HUD, he crisscrossed the Tri-State region, gaining a critical understanding of the diverse communities that make up the New York metropolitan area. As regional director, Bill fought for increased federal funding for affordable homes and expanded housing services for senior citizens.

In 1999, Bill joined District 15’s School Board in Brooklyn, where he championed early childhood education and parental involvement and expanded pre-K programs, helping his district become the first to cap first grade class sizes.

In 2000, Hillary Clinton asked Bill to manage her historic campaign for the U.S. Senate. Working at the head of a vast grassroots operation, he helped re-introduce Mrs. Clinton to New Yorkers and deliver her message about prioritizing children and families, securing her a decisive victory in a highly competitive campaign.

Two years later, Bill started his service on the New York City Council, representing the diverse Brooklyn neighborhoods of Park Slope, Sunset Park, Boro Park, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Windsor Terrace, Red Hook, and Kensington.

In his eight years on the City Council, Bill focused his efforts on improving public education, engaging parents, expanding affordable housing, and protecting New York’s middle-class and working poor. He wrote landmark tenants’ rights legislation to protect affordable housing and end landlord discrimination for everyday New Yorkers. Bill also was a vocal advocate for services designed to support fragile families and vulnerable children. After the tragic death of seven-year-old Nixzmary Brown in 2006, he investigated the case as Chair of the Council’s General Welfare Committee, holding four hearings examining the City’s role in fighting child abuse.

In 2010, Bill was sworn in as New York City Public Advocate, the second-highest citywide elected office. As Public Advocate, Bill launched the “NYC Worst Landlords Watchlist” to publicly identify landlords who took advantage of everyday New Yorkers, pressing them to improve building maintenance and upkeep. Bill made his voice heard across our city as a forceful advocate for stronger representation and services for the millions of workers who are the foundation of New York City’s economy.

As mayor, Bill is committed to making sure every child gets a great education, protecting our streets and our communities, and building a city where New Yorkers from all five boroughs can start businesses, raise their families, and afford to live in their own neighborhoods. brings a deep background in working with New York’s nonprofit community.

Sworn-in de Blasio pledges to take on ‘tale of two cities’ in NYC

Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex on the Flight of Birds on display at Smithsonian in Washington, DC

Leonardo da Vinci created masterpieces of art and sculpture. Equally remarkable, his aggregate achievements in engineering, mathematics, anatomy, geology, physics, music, military technology, aeronautics, and a wide range of other fields, not only stood without peer in his own time, but were strikingly prescient for the distant future. He recorded his forward-looking ideas in thousands of notebook pages, known as codices. He produced one codex entirely on flight in 1505-1506, the Codex on the Flight of Birds. Among the many subjects Leonardo studied, the possibility of human mechanical flight held particular fascination. He produced more than 35,000

words and 500 sketches dealing with flying machines, the nature of air, and bird flight. In the Codex on the Flight of Birds Leonardo outlined a number of observations and beginning concepts that would find a place in the development of a successful airplane in the early twentieth century. Hundreds of years before any real progress toward a practical flying machine was achieved, Leonardo expressed the seeds of the ideas that would lead to humans spreading their wings. This extraordinary document, exhibited outside of Italy only a few times, will be displayed in The Wright Brothers & The Invention of the Aerial Age gallery. The Codex exhibit will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to appreciate the genius of da Vinci in the same space as the Wright Flyer, which made the airplane a reality four centuries after the Leonardo produced the Codex on the Flight of Birds.

This exhibit is organized by the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Italian Cultural Heritage and Activities, the Embassy of Italy in Washington, DC, the Biblioteca Reale in Turin, thanks to the support of Bracco Foundation, Finmeccanica, and Tenaris. It is part of 2013 – Year of Italian Culture in the U.S., an initiative held under the auspices of the President of the Italian Republic, organized by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Embassy of Italy in Washington, DC with the support of Corporate Ambassadors, Eni, and Intesa Sanpaolo.

Opens September 13, 2013 through October 22, 2013

U.S. Congressman Tom Marino to be Honored by the Order Sons of Italy’s in America

The Order Sons of Italy will honor U.S. Congressman Tom Marino with the Guglielmo Marconi Award on August 17, 2013, during its 53rd Biennial National Convention in Philadelphia. The Guglielmo Marconi Award, the OSIA’s highest honor, is named for the Nobel prize-winning Italian physicist who invented wireless telegraphy. It is presented biennially to an Italian American who has made significant contributions to the United States.

Rep. Tom Marino

Rep. Tom Marino

Rep. Tom Marino (Pa. 10th District) was first elected to U.S. Congress in 2010 and re-elected in 2012. He promptly went to work on behalf of his constituents serving on the Foreign Affairs, Homeland Security and Judiciary committees, along with six subcommittees. The congressman served as a district attorney, a U.S. Attorney and a private-practice attorney prior to being elected to Congress. A second generation Italian-American who grew up in Williamsport, Pa., Mr. Marino celebrates his blue-collar roots; his father was a janitor and fireman, his mother was a homemaker and, before entering law, he worked in manufacturing. Congressman Marino is a three-time cancer survivor. He and his wife Edie have two adopted children and live in Cogan Station, Lycoming County.

For nearly 10 ten years, Mr. Marino has been a member of OSIA’s Celebrando il Nostro Retaggio Lodge 2786 in Williamsport. He has served as lodge Orator and spent two years as State Treasurer for the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania.

OSIA lodges and the Sons of Italy Foundation (SIF), award nearly $1 million every year to Italian American college-bound students. The SIF also funds cultural programs, medical research and disaster relief – more than $125 million to date. Proceeds from the Marconi Gala support these OSIA and SIF programs.

Sergio Marchionne, General Colin Powell, Gary Sinise, Robert Corrao Honored By Sons of Italy

It was a very patriotic evening  the Italian American community! Four leaders in business, government and entertainment received awards during the Sons of Italy Foundation (SIF) 25th Silver Anniversary National Education & Leadership Awards(NELA) Gala held on May 23, at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.
The honorees were: Chrysler/Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne; General Colin L. Powell, USA (Ret.); actor Gary Sinise and Sky TV’s Robert Corrao.

Sergio Marchionne, chairman & CEO of Chrysler Group LLC and CEO of Fiat S.p.A., received the 2013 SIF Award for Excellence in Global Business. Mr. Marchionne is credited with turning around two major automobile companies: the Italian auto manufacturer, Fiat and the American manufacturer, Chrysler. In addition to his duties as head of the two auto companies, Mr. Marchionne serves on numerous boards of directors, including Fiat Industrial S.p.A. as chairman and the European Automobile Manufacturers Association as president.

Mr. Marchionne is bilingual in Italian and English having been born in Italy and raised in Canada.

In accepting his award, Marchionne stressed the importance of moving from interdependence to integration. “It’s a philosophy that has played a key role in the Fiat-Chrysler partnership from the very beginning. It is a partnership which is driven by people who are willing to listen to each other, who are willing to share experiences, exchange knowledge and ideas, and expand their horizons. And in bringing together the best of our two groups, we’ve embraced both the Italian heritage of Fiat and the distinctly American identity of Chrysler. In many respects it is an idea that is very familiar to the Sons of Italy, which takes pride in an Italian-American culture that draws strength from both traditions,” Marchionne said.

General Colin L. Powell, USA (Ret.) received the 2013 SIF Lifetime Achievement Award for Public Service for his career in the military and diplomatic fields as the 12th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and 65th U.S. Secretary of State. He is also the founding chairman of America’s Promise Alliance, a non-profit that aims to make children and youth a national priority by focusing on lowering the high school dropout rate. Under Gen. Powell’s leadership, the organization has become the nation’s largest multi-sector alliance that focuses on the well-being of young Americans.

The SIF Lifetime Achievement Award for Public Service is presented annually to a person who is not of Italian heritage. The award and the recipient reflect the significance of working together to build a better global community. Past recipients include former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton; U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden; and U.S. Senator Jack Reed.

The son of Jamaican immigrants, Gen. Powell referred to the commonality of the immigrant experience, regardless of the origins, and proudly remarked upon receiving his SIF award, “I always say that I’m an honorary Italian, but tonight I can finally say that I’m more.”

Actor and activist Gary Sinise received the 2013 SIF Award for Courage & Patriotism. As founder of the Gary Sinise Foundation, Mr. Sinise works to assist the men and women who defend our country. His foundation partners with a range of organizations that support U.S. service personnel and veterans, including the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, which builds customized smart homes for severely wounded veterans. A skilled musician and entertainer, Mr. Sinise has also performed for U.S. troops around the globe with his “Lieutenant Dan Band.” Along with NELA Gala emcee Joe Mantegna, Mr. Sinise hosts public television’s annual National Memorial Day Concert.

Accepting his award after a moving introduction by Mantegna, Sinise spoke about what inspires his work. “If by highlighting what I do shines a light on these brave men and women, that’s one way I feel like I can serve.”

Robert F. Corrao is CEO and chairman of the Ski TV Network, a national high definition television network broadcasting via direct satellite and DSL technology to LCD screens at premier ski resorts across the United States, delivering over 60 million impressions through year round TV programming. He received the SIF’s highest honor, its National Education & Leadership Award for 2013. Accepting the award, Corrao proudly spoke of his Italian roots, the importance of education and his long history with the SIF. “All this Italian blood in my heart right now is boiling over.”

During the NELA Gala, the SIF also recognized the men and women who have served or are serving our country. Present at the dinner were U.S. military personnel, active, veteran and wounded warriors. The SIF has long collaborated with and supported the Wounded Warrior Project.

About 1,000 guests attended this year’s NELA black tie gala. Among the special guests were: U.S. Army Chief of Staff General Raymond T. Odierno, Claudio Bisogniero, Italy’s Ambassador to the U.S., Dr. Anthony Fauci, NIH AIDS researcher, Jack Reed, U.S. Senator representing Rhode Island, Doug Flutie, former NFL quarterback, Bob Johnson, BET founder Mack McClarty, former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton, Franco Nuschese of the premier Italian restaurant in Washington, Café Milano, Judge Francis Allegra of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, and the recipients of nine SIF national scholarships

Past attendees have included U.S, presidents; members of the Cabinet and the Congress; and foreign diplomats. Previous SIF honorees include President Bill Clinton; U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia; AIDS researchers Anthony Fauci and Robert Gallo; the late Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro; former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Peter Pace, USMC (Ret.); and entertainers Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Regis Philbin, Annette Funicello, and Joe Mantegna.

The Sons of Italy Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the Sons of Italy, the nation’s oldest and largest organization for people of Italian heritage. The SIF has contributed to date $125 million to medical research, disaster relief, scholarships, and cultural preservation, along with other special projects. NELA Gala proceeds help fund these philanthropic programs.

Source:  OSIA as revised

Photos by Max Taylor

CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Winner of Urbino Press Awards 2013

CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, currently the host of The Situation Room and its lead political anchor,  is the 2013 winner of the Urbino Press Award as announced by the Italian Ambassador Claudio Bisogniero, at a reception held at the Italian Embassy on April 18, 2013.  The prize, now at its sixth edition, is awarded in recognition of excellence in journalism to American

Wolf Blitzer

Wolf Blitzer

reporters who, through their commitment and daily work, conscientiously inform millions of people.

The Urbino Press Award “recognizes excellence in journalism, in searching for news, in writing stories, in analyzing facts and turning information in freedom and progress,” as stated by former Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi who also underlined how “media, both traditional and new ones, can influence today’s decision-making in foreign policy”.

In announcing the winner, Ambassador Bisogniero noted that, ”Per tutti noi Wolf Blitzer rappresenta un marchio di qualita’ del giornalismo.  ‘Wolf ha saputo costruire una sua forte immagine professionale nel corso di una straordinaria carriera.”  In accepting the award, Blitzer said that he was accepting it in the name of all his colleagues at CNN.

The City of  Urbino, which during the Renaissance gave life to one of the most enlightened courts of Europe, symbolically reinstates its court, once enriched by geniuses like Baldassarre Castiglione and Torquato Tasso, with the voice and experience of todays’ reporters, the outstanding interpreters of the events that are changing our world.

The award will be officially presented to Blitzer on June 20 in the Ducal Palace of the City of Urbino.  Giovanni Lani, President of the Urbino Press Award, who has managed to bring to Urbino, Italy, the best of the best of American journalism, was  very satisfied by the large crowd who joined in the evening’s ceremony and was already thinking about how he could top this year’s honoree.

Amb. Claudio Bisogniero, Wolf Blitzer

Amb. Claudio Bisogniero, Wolf Blitzer

Prior winners of the Urbino Press Award include, Sebastiano Rotella of Pro Publica,   Helene Cooper of the New York Times, David Ignatius of the Washington Post, Thomas L. Friedman of the New York Times, Martha Raddatz of ABC news, and Michael Weisskopf of Time magazine.



Remembering Italian American Visionary architect Paolo Soleri

Today the world has lost one of its great minds. Paolo Soleri, architect, builder, artist, writer, theorist, husband, father, born on Summer Solstice, June 21, 1919, has died at age 93.

Paolo Soleri

Paolo Soleri

Paolo Soleri spent a lifetime investigating how architecture, specifically the architecture of the city, could support the countless possibilities of human aspiration. The urban project he founded, Arcosanti, 65 miles north of Phoenix, was described by NEWSWEEK magazine as “…the most important urban experiment undertaken in our lifetimes.”

Continue reading this article authored by Karissa Rosenfield at …

For more, read Paolo Soleri’s Arcosanti : The City in the Image of Man.

Italian Ambassador Claudio Bisogniero Greets Italian American Congressional Delegation

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

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.


Italian Elections: Angela Fucsia Nissoli Elected by Italians in North & Central America to Chamber of Deputies

“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

Fucsia Nissoli

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 history in the space sector: relations between Italy and the U.S

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.

(Italian Embassy)

Jim Messina, President Obama’s campaign manager, Receives the Machiavelli Award as the Italian Democrat of the Year

This evening, the Italian American Democratic Leadership Council, co-chaired by Robert Blancato and MD Senator Jim Rosapepe, presented Jim Messina, President Obama’s campaign manager,with

Jim Messina

Jim Messina

the Machiavelli Award as the Italian Democrat of the Year.  The reception was held this evening a Carmine’s Restaurant in Washington , D.C.  According to the IALC, this award honors the legacy of Niccolo Machiavelli, the first political scientist, and showcases a current political mastermind.

In accepting the award Messina said that he had just returned from a month-long vacation from Italy (“I highly recommend it” he said), with his girlfriend  now fiancee  and that while visiting Florence he was invited to the mayor’s office and shown the desk that Machiavelli had used.

Speaking at the event was also Lapo Pistelli, a member of Parliament and the foreign policy spokesman for Italy’s Partito Democratico (PD) who  had lavish praises for Messina, saying to him at one point:  “You saved the world.”

Pistelli  noted to the guests that  “We have a crazy system in Italy, a crazy electoral law . . . not an easy system to understand,” that is why, he said, he could be in Washington thirty days before Italy’s national elections, because under Italy’s political system he had been already assured reelection.

Joseph Sciame reelected President of Major Italian American Organizations

Joseph Sciame, a National Past President of the Order Sons of Italy in America and currently the vice-president for external affairs at St. John’s University in New York, was reelected Chair of the Conference of Presidents of Major Italian American Organizations for another two year term. The election took place on October 13, 2012, at the annual Conference meeting held at the Washington Hilton, site of the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) annual meeting and gala weekend.

Joseph Sciame

Joseph Sciame

PMIAO (our abbreviation), was founded over 40 years ago “…to enroll as members in a spiritual bond all national, regional, statewide and special Italian American organizations,” and to provide “a clearinghouse for centralized thinking and unified directed guidance for Italian American activities at their broadest national levels and interests.”

Sciame, who was President of the Order of Sons of Italy in America in 2003-2005, has also served as President of the American Society of the Italian Legions of Merit, an organiation of Italian Americans, and Americans, who have been honored by the Republic of Italy. The Republic of Italy honored Sciame with the rank of Cavaliere and then Ufficiale in the Order of Merit, and he was invested as Commendatore by Prince Vittorio Emmanuele of the House of Savoy in the Order of Merit.

Sciame is also the current president/chair of the Italian Heritage and Culture Committee-NY, Inc., an organization of Italian Americans whose mission is to promote an annual theme for the Italian American Heritage Month celebrations, and to produce educational materials. This year’s theme is “The Legacy of Italians in Americas – a Tribute to Amerigo Vespucci: 1454-1512.” Sciame has been heading the IHCC-NY, Inc. since 2007.

Joseph Sciame has devoted much of his life to Italian American causes. He has spoken in no uncertain terms about the need to have Italian Americans speak with one voice when the need arises. What he said about the “Jersey Shore” MTV controversy and the reaction by Italian-American organizations, still rings true today:


We have never, ever been good at “advocacy” let alone “lobbying” and other than the anti-defamation initiatives we have all activated over the years, i.e., the OSIA Commission for Social Justice, the UNICO effort this time which received wide publicity and the NIAF’s ongoing favorable relationship with “The Hill,” what else is it that we can do? Is there no national spokesperson who can rally us together? Is there no US Senator/Congressperson, Governor or other statesman who can say something?

It does seem to me, and I have shared this with many folks INFORMALLY in the past, we need in 2010 (as we have not done heretofore) a major meeting of the minds…ALL Italian-American organizations, with some top level speaker who can get us ALL on the same plate.

I f anyone can get “us ALL on the same plate,” we believe that Joseph Sciame can accomplish it!


Pictured above, the members of the Conference of Presidents of Major Italian American Organizations at their annual meeting in Washington, D.C.