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Articles by: I. I.

  • Facts & Stories

    Columbus Day Parade's 2019. Honorees and Grand Marshal

    President of the Columbus Citizens Foundation, Marian Pardo, said of the announcement: "Our 2019 Honorees and Award Winners are stellar models of Italians and Italian Americans in New York City – all have made a tremendous impact in their respective industries, and on the causes for which they are so passionate."

    The Bruno family purchased their first restaurant in New York, 'Sistina,' shortly after arriving from Salerno, Italy in 1976. Following the extraordinary success of 'Sistina,' Cosimo, Gerardo, and Giuseppe Bruno used the opportunity to expand: opening San Petro in 1991, Caravaggio in 2008, and Le Sirene in Larchmont in 2015.

    Gerardo Bruno said for himself and his brothers: "We thank the Columbus Citizens Foundation for this honor. Our parents, Gaetano and Artemisia, passed down their values of hard work and Italian excellence, and we run our restaurants like the Italian home we grew up in - with great food and a warm, inviting atmosphere."

    Giovanni Colavita grew up in southern Italy's Molise region, surrounded by the olive mill that has been in his family for centuries. Today, Giovanni Colavita is the CEO & President of Colavita USA. Under Giovanni's leadership, Colavita has expanded its line to include iconic Italian brands such as Perugina, San Benedetto and Rio Mare. Highlighting the success of ranking at number one in olive oil and balsamic vinegar on e-commerce platforms, Colavita has also entered the meal kit sector with its exclusive partnership with Hello Fresh, a leader in the meal kit industry.

    Colavita commented on the honor: "To be recognized for providing the American public with quality Italian products is a huge thrill – and I cannot wait to walk up Fifth Avenue on Columbus Day with my family."

    Rosanna Scotto has been named the 2019 Humanitarian of the Year by the Columbus Citizens Foundation. Scotto is known for her journalism and philanthropy. With a career spanning four decades, Scotto broke several major stories in the Tri-State area, and around the world. Today, she is a 3-time Emmy award anchor and co-host of 'Good Day New York.'  Scotto is associated with multiple charities, including: Herrick Martin Institute; Heartshare Human Services and Futures in Education.

    "I am so moved to be honored in this way by the Columbus Citizens Foundation," said Ms. Scotto, "And I'm proud to be a part of the great work they do in helping the next generation of the Italian-American community."


    The annual Columbus Day Parade, organized by the Columbus Citizens Foundation, is the world's largest celebration of Italian-American heritage and culture in the United States, and 2019 marks its 75th Anniversary.

    The Columbus Day Parade was first started when New York City businessman and Italian immigrant Generoso Pope led a parade from East Harlem to Columbus Circle and has since become an ongoing celebration of the contributions of Italians and Italian-Americans to the United States.

    In addition to planning the Columbus Day Parade, the Columbus Citizens Foundation currently provides over 700 scholarships at elementary, high school and college levels to Italian-American students who have academic ability but lack financial means.

    The Columbus Day Parade begins at 11:30 a.m. ET on Monday, October 14 and will air live locally on WABC-7 from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. ET. For more information on the parade, please visit columbuscitizens.org.



    The Columbus Citizens Foundation is a non-profit organization in New York City committed to fostering an appreciation of Italian-American heritage and achievement.  The Foundation, through a broad range of philanthropic and cultural activities, provides opportunities for advancement to deserving Italian-American students through various scholarship and grant programs. The Foundation organizes New York City's annual Columbus Celebration and Columbus Day Parade. F

  • Art & Culture

    Jazz Italiano: Neapolitan Folk Jazz kicks off JCTC’s Voices: International Theater Festival

    Jazz Italiano is the New Jersey debut for IDR_Italian Doc Remix, whose music might more accurately be called Italian Folk Jazz. IDR_Italian Doc Remix  reworks the Neapolitan folk tradition, music that has been passed down from generation to generation and played at local festivals, rituals and familial gatherings. IDR, an ensemble of Italian-born musicians alongside some of the best players on the contemporary NYC live music scene, reimagines this centuries-old tradition using the improvisational structures and free-from creativity of modern Jazz. 


    IDR_Italian Doc Remix is proud to present its repertoire in Jersey City, whose multicultural environment - with a strong Italian presence - can potentially be the perfect audience for our music,” said Marco Cappelli, IDR guitarist and founder. “We hope to get a lot of people coming to our concert and would like to meet all of them.”


    IDR_Italian Doc Remix was formed in 2008 by Cappelli and Jim Pugliese, drums wizard and IDR co-leader, a veteran of the New York avant-garde music scene, who has played with the likes of Philip Glass and John Zorn.  Cappelli, who was born in Naples and now makes his home in Brooklynn, is known as sideman, soloist and band leader and has played in an array of venues, ranging from The Stone and the Blue Note Jazz Club to the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim Museum, His extensive touring career has spanned Europe, Asia and North America and has included some of the most prestigious international jazz and contemporary music festivals. He has composed scores for film, theater and dance, working with such renowned musicians, as  Marc Ribot, Elliott Sharp and Adam Rudolph  as well as with film director Leonardo Di Costanzo and choreographer Young Soon Kim and his White Wave Dance Company. Cappelli also completed an artist residency at The Stone, the prestigious experimental and avant-garde music program directed by John Zorn.


    IDR vocals at Jazz Italiano will be handled by Francesco Pellegrino, a child singing sensation in his native Campania and alumni of Milan’s illustrious Teatro alla Scala. Now based in Toronto, Pellegrino is also famous for his critically acclaimed trio, Vesuvius Ensemble, dedicated to the preservation and celebration of authentic Neapolitan and southern Italian music. 

    The IDR Jazz Italiano Line up also features Doug Wieselman/Clarinet; Ken Filiano/ Double Bass / Jim Pugliese/Drums. 

    “JCTC is proud to begin Voices: International Theater Festival with Jazz Italiano and the wonderful music of IDR_Italian Doc Remix,” said Olga Levina, Artistic Director, JCTC. “We can learn about other cultures through art, and the more we know about other cultures, the better we can understand our own. Voices not only exposes audiences to music, theater and dance from other cultures, but encourages the exchange of ideas by inspiring conversations.” 

    Jazz Italiano kicks off Voices: International Theater Festival, JCTC’s new series presenting exclusive performances from around the world. Upcoming shows include Watch Now (9/26)  a dance performance from Slovakia; The Truth (9/27), a theater production from Poland, and La Caja, a multimedia, physical theater production by Los Escultores del Aire, an internationally touring theater company based in Spain. All Voices performances will be held at Merseles Studios.



     JAZZ ITALIANO/August 22

    Jazz Italiano IDR (Italian Doc Remix), an internationally renowned Italian Jazz ensemble.  Building on a base of powerful Southern Italian folk music, Jazz Italiano is a sonic journey of Neapolitan folk music, improvisations and jazz played by an all-star  band. An unforgettable, cross-cultural experience. 

    Thursday/August  22

    Doors: 7:30/ Show: 8:00

     Tickets: $20

    ($15/ Student and Senior Discount – must show valid ID)

    To purchase tickets visit: www.JCTCenter.org


    Jersey City Theater Center
    Merseles Studios
    339 Newark Avenue
    Jersey City, NJ 07302
    (201) 795-5386




  • Fatti e Storie

    Finazzer Flory, Leonardo e l'NBA

    Il regista e attore Massimiliano Finazzer Flory che con il film “Being Leonardo da Vinci” ha appena vinto - dopo tantissimi altri riconoscimenti -  anche il  Best Inspirational Film: Award of Excellence - Vegas Movie Awards Gold 2019.

    E’ passato meno di un anno da quando alcune scene del film sono state proposte al pubblico delll’auditorium della Morgan Library & Museum di New York. L’anteprima aveva annunciato il successo con il tutto esaurito alla Morgan Library di New York. Ormai il nostro Rinascimento fa parte di un’idea di bellezza comune, anche a Manhattan, grazie a Finazzer Flory.

    La notizia è ora che il film verrà proiettato e distribuito negli Stati Uniti tra New York e la West Coast a cominciare dal 14 ottobre > Albuquerque; 15 ottobre > Santa Fe; 17 ottobre > Las Vegas; 18 ottobre > Los Angeles, UCLA; 20 ottobre > Orange County e tra il 16 e il 20 novembre tornerà a New York all’Italian Movie Award Festival International.

    Ma il poliedrico Finazzer Flory è a New York anche per preparare, con la sua direzione artistica - in collaborazione con la prestigiosa NBA - la grande mostra sul basket americano che si terrà nel Veneto dal 6 settembre al 6 ottobre, per volontà del Sindaco del Comune di Treviso, Mario Conte, Lavinia Colonna Preti, la Camera di Commercio e la Fondazione Marca.

    “Overtime” è il titolo della sua digital exhibition che tra proiezioni, short movie, libri, cimeli, trofei che apre anche l’archivio dell’NBA che si trova a Secaucus in New Jersey a tutti gli appassionati italiani.

    Da non perdere, sempre all’interno di 'Overtime', l’omaggio che Finazzer Flory dedica  a Spike Lee e a Woody Allen con una selezione di immagini e brani dei loro film. Grazie a Finazzer Flory in luce  anche la grande passione che unisce i cineasti e basket.

    Duqnue,  in America, Treviso è ancora di casa. Non solo per il prosecco che corre a fiumi, ma anche per l’arte legata allo spor tra due oceani.





  • Facts & Stories

    The Future of Climate, Development and Social Justice at St. John’s in Rome

    On June 8, 2019, St John’s University’s Rome campus hosted a symposium on climate, development and social justice, moderated by Dr. Jeffrey Fagen, Dean and Professor of Psychology at the school’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences on the occasion of the graduation of their students studying Global Development and Social Justice.


    The topics covered included re-engineering developed countries to address climate change, discussed by Mechanical Engineer Cristina Parenti of Infratel Italia, who talked about how newer urban construction as well as existing and particularly historical buildings could be re-engineered to address growing climate concerns. 


    Dr. Christopher Vogt, Professor of Theology at St. John’s University, spoke on Ecological Conversion and Social Justice, calling for a re-imaging and re-conceptualizing of ourselves and our relationship with the creation. 


    Afterwards, Dr. Luca Rosi of Istituto Superiore di Sanità, tackled Development and Challenges in a Globalized Healthy World, challenging the audience to re-think some of the indexes used to assess global health, stating “Almost half of the global population live with less than 2 dollars per day; 876 million adults are illiterate, two thirds of which are women, and 20% of the global population have 90% of the wealth. Is this a Healthy World?”


    Dr. Pamela Fabiano, of the Vatican’s Dicastery of Integral Human Development, approached the issue of Development and Structural Challenges, explaining that the Dicastery does not offer any “formulas” for solutions, but acts as a promoter of dialogue between and among various specialized agencies, institutions and academic disciplines to bring about well-being. 


    Discussing Political Discourse in Globalized Economy and Challenges for Environmental and Labor Protection, Prof. Ottorino Cappelli of Link Campus University examined how the rhetoric and the vocabulary of labor and environment movements are shaping current perceptions of social justice.


    Finally, Professor Pierluigi Malvasi and Laura Ferrari of Università Cattolica of Sacro Cuore, Brescia, discussed Laudato Si’s connection to climate change and education, arguing that it should be required text for academic instruction.


  • Facts & Stories

    More Beloved Italian Products Coming to The US Courtesy of Colavita

    Walking into Gallow Green feels like a breath of fresh air, this beautiful garden provides a much-needed break from the aggressive New York summer heat: the perfect location for the Colavita party, an occasion for the Italian food company to introduce the new lines of products it will be adding to its US selection.


    Founded in 1939 and operating in the United States since 1978, Colavita is already a point of reference for Italians and Italian food lovers living in the US. On this occasion, the company announced that it will be adding to its selection a series of new brands: the beloved cookie giant Mulino Bianco, Rio Mare tuna, another Italian favorite, and Beebad, a premium Italian energy drink.


    “It’s a big challenge that we want to take on to become leaders in Italian food investments,” comments Giovanni Colavita, CEO of Colavita USA.


    Serenading guests on their way in is the lovely voice of the young Lidia Colavita, Giovanni’s daughter, showing how the company, despite being amongst the most important distributors of Italian food products in the country, still remains a family company.


    And, in fact, the atmosphere at the party is a familiar one. Surrounded by delicious Italian treats, representatives of Colavita’s partners and collaborators old and new mingle merrily.


    “Colavita has a double asset,” remarked the Consul General of Italy Francesco Genuardi, “on one side they are a healthy and very strong Italian company, and on the other side they are a point of reference as importers of many important Italian brands.”


    Each of these brands express feeling a special affinity between their own philosophy and that of Colavita. Nunzio Castaldo, the President of Panebianco, a historic boutique wine importing and distribution firm purchased by Colavita last Spring, commented that the company is an “excellent partner for us in terms of quality, tradition, family, heritage and great perspectives for the future.”


    Marco Auriti, the Country Manager of Nestle who represents the Perugina line of products, including the famous line of Baci chocolates, in the US and Canada expressed himself along the same lines. As did Michela Berta, Export Manager of Fida, a brand dating back to 1926, known for its historic candies, like Rossana, a universal staple in every Italian grandparent’s home.  


    Teresa Di Biase, co-owner of Molisana Imports, (with brands such as Venchi Chocolate, Rovagnati, La Molisana Pasta) which has had a relationship with Colavita for over 30 years also describes them as the ideal partner. So does Claudia Sidoti, Head Chef of the meal kit delivery service Hellofresh who comments: “We love the ingredients from Colavita and so do our customers.”


    John Profaci Jr, the Vice President of Marketing of Colavita US, whose family entered in a tight partnership with Colavita decades ago, since “Giovanni was on a tricycle” and he himself had just started at the company explained how they are adapting to the changing market: “We keep growing and relearning. We’ve internalized all our marketing in-house so we have control and we can handle all the brands that we have to become that total Italian porter.”


    The representatives of the new brands that will from now on be distributed here by Colavita showed optimism and excitement for the newborn collaboration. These included Denise Willi, North American Sales Director of BeeBad, a new Italian energy drink made with honey and other premium ingredients, and Marco Beghini, Export Business Development Manager at Barilla, who commented: “We chose Colavita because we think it is the right partner to grow Mulino Bianco’s business in the US. There is the right fit between their italianity and the know-how, that is important for our company.”


    As Italian Trade Commissioner and Director of ICE North America, Maurizio Forte, underlined, Italian export in food and wine has increased by 21% over the past 5 years, Italy is now 5th in this country. And “the majority of this this business is based on small companies, very much located in their territories.” Thus the importance of the work of companies like Colavita who bring these businesses abroad and help promote their products on the US market.


    In expanding its selection of quality Italian food products to include a variety of products from longtime favorites to emerging brands, Colavita is securing its place on the US market as an indispensable source for both Italians and Americans.    



  • Facts & Stories

    Ciro Casella: "The Golden Lion to The South, Like a Hug From The North"

    The symbol of Venice, the Serenissima Republic, is a suggestive winged lion, which has inspired countless artists, writers, historians, events, and awards. 


    Amongst them, the Golden Lion, an award dating back to 1932 - though it’s only in 1954 that it adopted its current name - intended to promote the harmonious expression of all artforms, in the context of Venice’s Gran Premio Internazionale. 


    In 2007, the Venice Gran Premio Internazionale Committee was instituted and the Golden Lion became a career recognition in the editorial, entrepreneurial, musical, dance, sports, communication, production, and artistic fields. 


    The award also recognizes the Italian companies that have distinguished themselves abroad. It’s in this context that the work of San Matteo’s Ciro Casella and his New York team is being celebrated.


    Ciro Casella is the owner of San Matteo pizzeria in Manhattan’s Upper East Side. His story is emblematic of the New York restaurant scene: “It all started nine years ago, when the food company for which I was working in Salerno closed and I, along with the other employees, was laid off. That’s when I decided to leave for New York. Now I work and have employees.”


    “Here you have to work hard, but the American dream is still working,” Ciro Casella claims. Today San Matteo is a fundamental reference point for Neapolitan pizza, with particular emphasis on the culinary traditions of Salerno, his hometown. His ‘panuozzo’ is not to be missed. 


    “This is very gratifying for all of us at San Matteo NYC - Ciro Casella states with proverbial simplicity - thank you truly, it touches and motivates us to continue in our work. This award honors the sacrifices made by myself, my brother, my team at San Matteo, and my daughters.”


    This “special recognition for professional merits” was particularly important and symbolic, we would like to add, an example for all those facing difficult times. 


    The restaurants that bear his name are today a symbol of Italian gastronomy, particularly of the Southern Italian cuisine. Visited by various American figures, such as the Mayor of New York Bill de Blasio and director Spike Lee, they are living proof of the potential of the most simple and genuine form of Italian cuisine, still in need of further promotion throughout the world. 


    And Ciro knows this well. Awarded for his work as an entrepreneur from the South, he comments: “I see the Golden Lion being given to the South like a hug from the North.”


    And going to San Matteo really feels like entering the best of the South. There is poetry in his hospitality, which comes from a people that Ciro represents with extreme kindness and warmth.

  • Fatti e Storie

    Ciro Casella: "il Leone d'Oro al Sud, come un abbraccio dal Nord"

    Il simbolo di Venezia e della Repubblica Serenissima è un suggestivo leone alato che ha ispirato artisti, scrittori, storici, eventi, premi.

    Ed è cosiì anche per Il Leone d'Oro - rassegna con una storia che risale al 1932, ma che  solo nel 1954, prende questo nome -  con l’intento di promuovere la continua e armoniosa espressione di tutte le arti, nell’ambito del Gran Premio Internazionale di Venezia.

    E' nel 2007 che viene istituito il Comitato del Gran Premio Internazionale di Venezia  ed  il Leone d’Oro diventa un riconoscimento alla Carriera dedicato all’editoria, imprenditoria, musica, danza, sport, comunicazione, produttori, artisti nazionali ed internazionali.

    All'interno del premio vengono riconoscute anche le aziende d’Italia che si sono distinte nel mondo. E' in quest'ambito che è stato riconosciuto il lavoro di CIro Casella di San Matteo e del suo team a New York. 

    Ciro Casella è il proprietario della pizzerie San Matteo nell’Upper East Side di Manhattan. La sua è una storia emblematica, nel panorama della ristorazione newyorkese: “Tutto è cominciato nove anni fa, quando l’azienda alimentare per la quale lavoravo a Salerno è fallita e io, insieme agli altri dipendenti, sono finito in cassa integrazione.  Fu in quel momento che presi la decisione di partire per New York.  Ora lavoro e impiego dipendenti”. 

    "Qui si deve lavorare duro, ma il sogno americano funziona ancora" sostiene Ciro Casella.

    Oggi San Matteo è un punto di riferimento da non perdere per la pizza napoletana, con una particolare attenzione a quello che è il patrimonio culinario di Salerno, sua città di nascita. Il suo 'panuozzo' è da non perdere.

    "Una grande soddisfazione per tutti noi del San Matteo NYC - dice Ciro Casella con la sua proverbiale semplicità -  grazie di vero cuore, ci emoziona nel continuare il nostro lavoro. Il premio ha onorato i sacrifici miei di mio fratello, dei miei ragazzi del San Matteo e le mie figlie."

    Si è trattato di un il «riconoscimento speciale per meriti professionali» particolarmente importante e simbolico,  aggiungiamo noi,  e stimolo per tutti coloro che attraversano momenti di difficoltà. 

    I ristoranti con il suo marchio sono oggi  l’emblema del «made in Italy» gastronomico ed in particolare del Sud Italia.  Frequentati anche da diversi personaggi americani, come il sindaco di New York Bill de Blasio e al regista Spike Lee, sono la prova del potenziale, ancora da valorizzare bene nel mondo, della gastronimia italiana più semplice e genuina. 

    E Ciro Casella lo sa benissimo, premiato a Venezia per il suo lavoro di imprenditore dal Sud. "il Leone d'Oro al Sud, lo vedo come un abbraccio dal Nord" commenta con noi..

    E andare da lui vuol dire veramente entrare in un angolo del migliore Sud d'Italia. C'è della poesia nella sua accoglienza, quella di un popolo che Ciro sa rappresentare con estrema dolcezza e affabilità.

  • Facts & Stories

    Ferrero Buys Danish Cookies From Campbell

    Continuing on its journey of expansion in the United States, the Italian company Ferrero, known mostly for its trademark product Nutella and other Italian chocolates and sweets, signed an agreement with the American Campbell Soup Company for the purchase of Kelsen, a Danish cookie company famous for its old fashioned butter biscuits, for $300 million. 


    The Italian confectionary company born in 1946 in the town of Alba in Piedmont has come a long way from being the local pastry shop it once was. It is now a multinational company and has lately been focusing on expanding into the US market. 


    After recent acquisitions, including that of several businesses from the Kellogg Company for $1,3 billion, it has become the third-largest confectionary company in North America. 


    On the other hand, Campbell, the canned soup, ready meals and baked goods giant, an icon of American pop and consumer culture rendered famous across the globe by Andy Warhol’s photo series in the 1960s, is currently divesting from its international products. 


    “The sale of Kelsen Group supports our strategy to focus on North America where we have iconic brands and strong market positions while reducing debt,” commented Campbell’s President and CEO Mark Clouse, who added that the company is proceeding with the sale if the remainder of their international operations.


    Meanwhile, Campbell announced that the Kelsen sale is set to happen by the first quarter of 2020. The Danish group, whose major brands are Kjeldsens and Royal Dansk, both manufacturers of traditional butter biscuits often served in lovely metal tin boxes, seem like an appropriate addition to Ferrero’s North American holdings, one in line with the company’s ongoing expansion plan.


  • Facts & Stories

    NCCA Celebrates 60 Years of Supporting Italian American Civil Servants

    The National Council was founded in 1959 to give "a single unified voice to Italian Americans in Civil Service, protect civil servants from government failure to treat Italian Americans fairly for hiring and promotions."


    The National Council of Columbia Associations in Civil Service now represents 120,000 men and women of Italian descent working in the FDNY, the NYPD, NYC Correction, Parks and Recreation, Departments of Sanitation, Transportation, Customs, Human Resources, United States Secret Service, NJ Police, Boston Police, California Police, Connecticut Police and many more across the United States.


    The event began with the American and Italian National Anthems. The Star Spangled Banner was sung by a member of the association, Ms. Daniela Taormina, a police woman in her uniform. Followed by the invocation of Msgr. Robert J. Romano, NYPD Chaplain and Pastor of Brooklyn.

    Vice President Peter Segalini, welcomed the participants and the honorees, six outstanding members of the Community who, within their fields, contributed to the advancement of Italian Americans in civil service and to the promotion of their heritage and Italian culture.


    “We have 60 more years to go,” said the President of the National Council, Cav. Dott Joseph A. Guagliardo, in his opening speech addressing more than 350 guests, most of them Italian American civil servants, coming from across the country to attend the event.


    “Organizations of Italian Americans in civil service are getting smaller and smaller,”  continued President Guagliardo, “So, as The National Council we have to become bigger, in order to support, educate and help them in any way we can.”

    Supporting one another is at the very core of the National Council Columbia Association, which was largely created to combat the negative stereotypes faced by Italian Americans working in civil service at the time, and to forge a strong work network that overtime has become a family.

    This year two hard fought battles were prime examples of the unity and support of the National Council: the protection of the Columbus Statue in Columbus Circle, with subsequent listing of the monument as protected landmark by the National Parks Service, and the successful advocacy spearheaded by one of the honorees Michael Santo Esq - Commissioner for Social Justice, Order Sons and Daughter of Italy who was instrumental in obtaining a Proclamation of apology from the Mayor of the City of New Orleans, Hon. LaToya Cantrell, for the governments part in the 1891 infamous lynching of 11 Italians, thus initiating, as Mr. Santo said, healing for “a longstanding wound”.


    Leading by example, the National Council has dedicated 60 years to ideals of equality for all men and women. Through its mentoring and educational programs as well as its charitable endeavors it strives to better the professional lives of its members and perpetuate the traditions of Italian language and culture while inspiring future generations to do the same.

    The Italian Government Representatives, the Hon. Fucsia Nissoli Fitzgerald and the Hon. Francesca La Marca both confirmed the strong bonds of cooperation and friendship between Italy and the members of the National Council, as did the Hon. Giovanni Aceti on behalf of the Ministero dell’Interno, Dipartimento della Pubblica Sicurezza, H.E. Amb. Antonio Bandini and MAECI Inspector General Min.Plen Natalia Quntavalle.  

    Official accolades and congratulations were received for the 60 years of accomplishments of The National Council, from the US House of Representatives, the Hon. Peter King, the Governor of the State of New York, the Hon. Andrew Cuomo, the Mayor of New York City, the Hon.Bill deBlasio, the Comptroller of New York State, the Hon. Thomas DiNapoli and Nassau County Executive, Lauren Curran,


    The Honorees for 2019:were Msgr. Robert J. Romano, NYPD Chaplain and Pastor of Brooklyn’s Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, who received the Lifetime Achievement Award; Domenick Cama, COO of Investor’s Bank, asMan of the Year Award; and James Moschella Esq. of the National Council Counsel; Commissioner for Social Justice NYS Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America, Michael A. Santo, Esq; and VP of the Detective’s Endowment Association, Paul DiGiacomo, who were named 2019 Guardians of Columbus Honorees.

    The President Recognition Awardees for 2019 were awarded to:

    Michael Massucci, Chief of Personnel of the FDNY Intl. Columbia Association; James Minore, Chairman of the Board and 2nd VP local 44 of the NYC dept. of sanitation; Joseph Rao, Queens South Financial Secretary of the Police Officers Benevolent Organization; John Romano, I.A. Businessman at the I.A. Police Society of Connecticut.

    President Guagliardo also presented two posthumous awards to Detective Anthony DiCarlo, Executive Board Member of the NYPD Columbia Association and to Al Imperiale, Association Chairman of the I.A. Police Society of New Jersey to honor their contributions to the community. A moment of silence was observed. The two awards were to be presented to a family member but entire families, adults, young adults and little children all went up to the podium, to accept the prestigious President’s Recognition Award so dear to them.

    Three New National Council Presidents were named: Christopher Pizzo of the NYPD; Anthony LaCorazza of United States Secret Service; and Richard Giudice of the Port Authority PD.

    Organization Recognition Awardees for 2019 were given to:

    C.O. Anthony Marano of the NYC Dept. of Corrections; Louis Forte of the NYC Dept of Education; Filippo Guiffre of the BSI10-13 / Columbia Retirees; Det. Emiliano Fuda of the Port Authority Police.


    At the end of the Awards Ceremony, and after hundreds of photographs taken, the warm fraternal feeling of kinship and mutual respect was still tangibly evident among the participants - members as well as the community at large - in perfect representation of the National Council's mission.


  • The honorees and special guests
    Facts & Stories

    Special Guests and Surprises at AIAE's 22nd Annual Ceremony

    Founded by a group of Italian American teachers and professors to promote the discussion of educational issues impacting Italian Americans and to enhance the Italian American image and presence in academia, the Association of Italian American Educators (AIAE) celebrated its 22nd Annual Awards and Scholarships Ceremony.

    The celebration was held on May 3rd at the Consulate General of Italy in New York, one of the Association’s main supporters. "Associations such as AIAE are key actors in promoting Italian culture in the US," said Consul General Francesco Genuardi, "We are very happy to have them here tonight, they are the protagonists of the big friendship between Italy and the Tri-state area and we owe them a lot."

    Cav. Josephine Maietta, President of the association, educator and community activist for Italian language and culture, then took over and presented the event with great energy and enthusiasm.

    Amongst the special guests this year, was former First Lady of the State of New York, Matilda Cuomo, herself a great supporter of Italian culture and an important figure for the Italian American Community of New York. She herself founded the Mentoring USA program and currently leads an educational exchange program between Italy and the US. In her speech, she stressed the role of mentorship and support, much needed in both Italy and the US, and insisted on the importance of family, a recurrent theme throughout the evening.

    As it does each year, AIAE honored four outstanding members of the Italian and Italian American community:

    The Founder & President of the Italian Association "Ieri Oggi Domani", President of the Association Cavalieri - NJ, and Representative Famiglie Italiane 9/11, Cav. Giulio Picolli, was given the Humanitarian Award. 

    But Cav. Picolli's important contribution to the Italian American community was recognized beyond the planned ceremony. Many were those who wanted to express their love and admiration for this remarkable man. Former Italian Ambassador to the US, Giulio Terzi, and Amb. Giorgio Radicati, who was the Consul General in New York during 9/11, sent heartfelt congratulatory letters. The Commissioner of the New York City Fire Department, Daniel A. Nigro, could not be present but he also wished to honor Picolli by gifting him a cross made out of metal scraps from the Twin Towers.

    Professor Massimo Zordan, Theater Department Director and Master Teacher at Scuola D'Italia Guglielmo Marconi, received the Teacher of the Year Award.

    Then, i-Italy’s founder and editor-in-chief, Letizia Airos received the Cultural Heritage and Communications Award. In he brief acceptance speech, Letizia broke the procedure by inviting our managing editor, Chiara Basso, who had just walked in with her six-week-old son, to stand up. "This is the future!” she exclaimed - alluding to the new generation of Italians-in-America.
    Letizia’s professional biography was introduced by Professor Stan Pugliese, who recalled how important her work is for the Italian/American culture. In her speech she numbered three reasons why she really cares about this recognition: “because it is linked to the world of young people; because it is dedicated to the promotion of Italian culture and, in particular of the Italian language; because it unites, through culture, the Italian Americans and the Italians.”

    Finally, the Christopher Columbus Leadership Award went to former SNL Star, Comedian, Actor, Musician, Writer & Radio talk show host, Joe Piscopo, who inevitably took ownership of the stage, capturing the public’s attention first by making a passionate speech professing the importance of Italian culture and of being proud of one’s heritage and family. At the insistence of Josephine, he then agreed to channel his inner Frank Sinatra and improvised a short song for the public.

    It was then time to award the Programma Ponte Pisa Scholarships to this year’s recipients: Annalisa Andre, Juliana Bonavita, Anthony D’Angelico, Ryan Emma, Julia Fiederlein, Lauren Giammarella, Garrett Gualtieren, Juliette Kurta, Christina Levi, and Juliana Moneta. These ten young students will get the opportunity to spend two weeks in Pisa this summer to study the Italian language and immerse themselves in the culture.

    The recognition " Friend of AIAE Award" was given to Professor and President of Accademia Napoletana, who came from Naples to New York to promote the richness of the Neapolitan dialect with seminars in New York City, especially at Hofstra University and NYU Casa Italiana.

    Ms.Tamara Nikitina, an Italian teacher from the Syosset School District, received the Fellowship Award for a study program in Pisa at the Istituto Linguistico Mediterraneo.

    And, finally, Dr. Mirko Notarangelo, Art Director and Fellowship Chair, presented his latest visual project entitled 'The New York I Know'.


    Credit: Photos by Loren Scott Fiedler.