Estate of the Late U.S. Ambassador Peter F. Secchia Endows Heritage Travel Program with $2 million Gift

The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) has announced today that the estate of the late U.S. Ambassador Peter F. Secchia, who formerly served in Italy, has committed an additional $2 million to endow the Ambassador Peter F. Secchia Voyage of Discovery Program, an all-expenses paid first-time travel to Italy program for young Americans of Italian descent.

“The Secchia Estate’s $2 million gift is an extraordinary contribution, and his third donation since he helped NIAF establish the program in 2000. It is also a reflection of the success of this program connecting young people to their Italian heritage and learning about Italy’s contribution to the world,” said NIAF Board Chairman Bob E. Carlucci. “His legacy will live on benefitting current and future generations,” added Carlucci.

While serving as the United States Ambassador to Italy from 1989 to 1993, Ambassador Peter F. Secchia came in contact with countless college students who were traveling to Italy for their first time. Witnessing their reactions, he was deeply moved by the look that he saw on so many young Italian American students’ faces when they first experienced the wonder that Italy has to offer.

Recognizing the lifelong impact that a trip to Italy has on these students’ identities, in 1999 Ambassador Secchia proposed that the NIAF create a program to send young Italian American students on their first trip to Italy so they could truly explore their heritage and experience the land of their ancestors.

In 2000, NIAF, with the financial support of Ambassador Secchia, launched the Ambassador Peter F. Secchia “Gift of Discovery” Program. The program was later renamed the “Ambassador Peter F. Secchia Voyage of Discovery.” The purpose of the program is to strengthen the Italian American identity by bonding young Italian

Americans to the country and the culture of Italy, and to help them gain an understanding of their heritage and a pride in carrying on that heritage.

The program is one of NIAF’s most important initiatives, having sent thousands of students on their first trip to Italy since the program’s beginning.

“With the Ambassador’s third generous gift, NIAF will be able to double the number of students accepted into the program for 2023,” said NIAF Special Program Director Gabriella Mileti.

The Ambassador Peter F. Secchia Voyage of Discovery Program takes place in NIAF’s Region of Honor, which is chosen annually and sends these college students on an all-expenses paid trip.

Ambassador Secchia passed away on October 21, 2020.

How to help the survivors of the destructive earthquake in Central Italy

Donate to National Italian American Organizations

Order Sons of Italy in America – Earthquake Relief fund

National Italian American Foundation – Italian American Relief Fund


Italian Regional Administrations and Institutions

(Information provided by the Italian Embassy in Washington DC)


A) Regions


Bank Account Name: Regione Lazio per Amatrice e Accumoli

IBAN: IT 60 P 02008 05255 000104428939




IBAN IT 28 M 08327 73470 000000006000





Bank Account Name: Regione Marche, Donaz. Favore Territori Marche Colpiti Sisma 24 agosto 2016

Bank Account Number: 1034116044

IBAN: IT-17-Y-07601-02600-001034116044.



More information is available on the Marche Region web page:



Bank Account Name: Regione Umbria sisma Agosto 2016

IBAN: IT 32 R 0200803033000104429137


Reason for payment: Regione Umbria sisma agosto 2016


More information is available on the Umbria Region web page:


B) Donations to Organizations


– Italian Red Cross in cooperation with the Italian Post Service:

Post Office Account Name: Associazione italiana della Croce Rossa

IBAN: IT38R0760103000000000900050


Description: “Poste Italiane con Croce Rossa Italiana – Terremoto Centro Italia”

Other option:


– Italian Red Cross

Bank Account Name: Associazione italiana della Croce Rossa

IBAN: IT40F0623003204000030631681
Description: “Terremoto Centro Italia”

For more information on how/what to donate to the Red Cross, please visit the web site:


– National Association of Italian Municipalities (ANCI):

Bank Account Name: ANCI

IBAN: IT27A 06230 03202 000056748129

PLEASE NOTE: Bank account information for money transfers originating from abroad will be posted as soon as possible.

Description: Emergenza Terremoto Centro Italia

For more information on activities sponsored by ANCI please visit the web site:



International Business Entrepreneur and Cafe Milano’s Franco Nuschese to be honored at NIAF’s 40th Anniversary Gala

Franco Nuschese, president of Georgetown Entertainment Group LLC, and owner of Cafe Milano in Washington, D.C., will be honored at the National Italian American Foundation’s (NIAF) 40th Anniversary Awards Gala in Washington, D.C. Nuschese will receive the NIAF 40th Anniversary Award for Leadership and

Franco Nuschese

Franco Nuschese

Service on October 17, 2015, at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park. The black-tie event begins with a 5:30 p.m. reception followed by dinner and an awards ceremony.

Honorees joining Nuschese include Amato L. Berardi, founder of Berardi & Associates Inc., and former member of the Italian Parliament; Richard E. Caruso, Ph.D., founder and director of Integra
LifeSciences; Connie Francis, Italian American music legend; Mario Gabelli, founder, chairman and CEO of GAMCO Investors Inc.; Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.; Steve Perillo, president and owner of Perillo Tours; and Alfred M. Rotondaro, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and former NIAF executive director; and Josephine J. (Gargiulo) Templeton, M.D., trustee of the John Templeton Foundation.

Born in Minori on the Amalfi Coast of Italy, Nuschese began his professional career in marketing in London and Las Vegas. From 1983 to 1991, he managed restaurants for Caesars Palace and later opened two restaurants at the MGM Grand Hotel/Casino. Nuschese arrived in Washington, D.C., in 1991 and was general manager for the Italian restaurant, Bice. A year later, Nuschese opened Cafe Milano, using his marketing background to propel the restaurant to top-ranked status. In addition to serving as president of Georgetown Entertainment Group LLC providing professional services focused on public relations, strategy, marketing and organization, Nuschese is president of Capital Wines LLC, a producer of fine Italian wines. One of his personal achievements was hosting a lunch for Pope Benedict XVI’s 81st birthday at the Vatican Embassy during the Pope’s visit to the nation’s capital.

Nuschese is active in organizations that support Italian culture in America. He serves on the boards of the University of Maryland’s Institute of Human Virology; the Global Virus Network; the Georgetown University Italian Research Institute; and the Atlantic Council. He also contributes to Spanish Catholic Charities, and to events benefiting American military troops and veterans.

Besides NIAF’s distinguished honorees, celebrities and entertainment take center stage during NIAF Gala Weekend to celebrate a milestone in its history. As part of NIAF’s lineup of celebrities, actors Danny Aiello, Chazz Palminteri and Annabella Sciorra; singer and songwriter Giada Valenti; performer Tom Sinatra; The Washington Chorus; The Sicilian Tenors, Aaron Caruso, Elio Scaccio and Sam Vitale, will join Il Volo’s Piero Barone and Ignazio Boscetto, and Gianluca Ginoble, as part of the weekend performances.

NIAF Board Member and Emmy Award-winning Fox News Anchor and Global Markets Editor Maria Bartiromo and SNL legend, NIAF Celebrity Ambassador, actor, entertainer and radio host Joe Piscopo will co-host one of the most popular galas in our nation’s capital. To open the weekend festivities on Friday evening, October 16, Piscopo and celebrity guests will celebrate Frank Sinatra’s 100th birthday and honor the legacy of Sinatra with the crooner’s celebrated melodies from his songbook.

NIAF’s 40th Anniversary Weekend is presented by Alitalia, the airline that brings the best of Italy to the world. Tickets to Saturday’s Gala begin at $400 per person. Young professional tickets cost $200 per person available only by phone. Tickets to Friday evening’s celebration of Frank Sinatra’s 100th birthday cost $200 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


NIAF Hosts Second Annual Congressional Bocce Ball Bash

On May 29, 2014, the National Italian American Foundation hosted its 2nd Annual Congressional Bocce Ball Bash on the rooftop of the Offices of Venable LLP, in Washington, DC.


Bill Pascrell, Pat Tiberi, John Viola, Fucsia Nissoli

We watched U.S. Congressmen Bill Pascrell and Pat Tiberi, pitted against Italian Chamber of Deputies Representative Fucsia Nissoli, and NIAF’s President John Viola.  Among the guest players Italian Ambassador Claudio Bisogniero and NIAF board member Mark Valente.

Pat Tiberi and Gabriella Mileti teamed up against Fucsia NIssoli and Bill Pascrell



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.