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Celebrating Mother’s Day with the Italian American Community

Joelle Grosso (May 15, 2017)
The Italian Heritage and Culture Committee of New York recently showed their gratitude to the finest individuals and organizations in the Italian American community during the 2017 Leonardo da Vinci Award Ceremony.

To acknowledge and praise the great work that the Italian American community does, the Italian Heritage and Culture Committee of New York honored the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute at CUNY for their extensive academic research, the Columbus Citizens Foundation for their preservation of Italian culture, America Oggi for their outstanding public relations services, and Dr. Anne Prisco, President of Felician University.

Celebrating Mother’s Day

To kick off Mother’s Day weekend, the schedule of events for Friday evening began at Poses Park on Hunter College Campus in front of the stunning Mother Italy bronze sculpture created by artist Giuseppe Massari. This year, the annual tribute for Mother’s Day recognized the inspirational work of Dr. Anne Prisco, the President of Felician University in New Jersey.

As the daughter of immigrants who did not attend high school, Dr. Prisco has not only earned a bachelor’s degree with highest distinction from the University of Arizona but a M.B.A in Finance from Fordham University as well as a Ph.D. in Economics and Education from Columbia University. With over 30 years of experience, she has elevated and improved higher education and serves as a role model for all. After receiving her award, Dr. Prisco said she was “honored to represent all Italian and Italian American mothers with a very rich heritage and we have the obligation to carry it on to the future generations.” Joseph Sciame, the Vice-President for Community Relations at St. John’s University and the President of Italian Heritage and Culture Committee of New York, added, “in Italian families, women are dynamic forces that exemplify the strength and spirit of our people.”

Next Stop: Consulate General

After strolling over to the Consulate General of Italy in New York just a few blocks away, the 2017 Leonardo da Vinci Award Ceremony commenced. Joseph Sciame presented awards to the “distinguished honorees who represent the pride of the Italian American community and impressive levels of personal and professional accomplishments.” 

The Consul General, Francesco Genuardi, added to that sentiment: “our pride is to serve Italy as well as this amazing city that has the best Italian American community in the world and I take this as an important opportunity to assess together who we are, where we are, and where we’re going.”

The Special Recipients 

IHCC-NY gave Special Recogniton Awards to Roberto Frangione, the Deputy Consul General, and Andrea Mantineo, one of the founding members and director of America Oggi, for their significant contributions to the Italian American community. 

The first prestigious Leonardo da Vinci accolade was handed to Angelo Vivolo, President of the Columbus Citizens Foundation. The foundation is devoted to maintaining Italian culture, traditions, and values through a program of philanthropic and cultural activities, including scholarships, grants, and the annual New York City Columbus Day Parade. Vivolo humbly accepted the award and felt “privileged and honored to represent the Columbus Citizens Foundations that has almost 600 members of Italian men and women who are dedicated to preserving our culture and heritage.”

The second award went to Anthony J. Tamburri, the Dean of the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute and Distinguished Professor of European Languages and Literatures. Calandra is the most renowned academic institution that is dedicated to the study of the Italian diaspora and engages in extensive academic research, counseling services, and demographic studies. Tamburri thanked his team and expressed how it’s an honor for him to lead the Calandra Institute for almost 11 years. He added that he’s glad “to be part of an international and national discussion of who we are as Americans of Italian descent and what that means and what the future generations hold and how we can communicate with them.” 

After all the awards were given out, there was the presentation of an earthquake relief fund donation of $10,000 to the Montessori Primary School in Macerata, a town in central Italy that was devastated by an earthquake last year. Award winning singer and composer, Simona De Rosa, and musician, Gennaro Esposito, concluded the beautiful evening with traditional Italian songs. It was truly a marvelous day to celebrate and honor those who do so much for the Italian American community in New York City.

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