2019 Bellisario Awards Recognize 'High-Flying Women'

Roberta Cutillo (June 28, 2019)
The Permanent Representative of Italy to the UN, Mariangela Zappia, is amongst the recipients of the Marisa Bellisario Foundation’s “Donne ad Alta Quota” Award, which recognizes women who have distinguished themselves in science, academia, institutions, business, or social engagement both nationally and globally. Other recipients include Nadia Murad and Sofia Corradi.

On June 14th, the Marisa Bellisario Foundation celebrated this year’s recipients of the “Golden Apple,” the award given out to the “Donne ad Alta Quota,” that is the “high-flying women” who stood out for their achievements in various fields. 

The Foundation is named after pioneering top-manager Marisa Bellisario, a remarkable and inspiring woman who rose to the highest ranks of management for prominent Italian companies such as Olivetti, where she held the position of Chairman of Olivetti Corporation of America from 1979 to 1981 when she came back to Italy and became CEO of Italtel. 

Needless to say, at the time, it was almost unheard of for a woman to hold such high-ranking positions, particularly in Italy. Bellisario faced continuous obstacles and the fact that she did carry out such a successful career - which was cut short when she passed away from a fatal disease in 1988 - is a testament to her strength, talent and determination. 

Today, the Foundation is one of the leading organizations in Italy dedicated to supporting and advancing the career of women working across various fields of the private and public sector with the intention of promoting a culture of gender equality within Italian society. 

This year’s 31st edition of the “Donne ad Alta Quota” award went out to 9 outstanding women. Amongst them, Mariangela Zappia, the Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations in New York - the first woman to cover this role.

The other recipients included Iraqi human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Nadia Murad, who received the international award, and Sofia Corradi, the creator of the European Union’s Erasmus student exchange program, who was awarded for her overall career.  

Additionally, the management award went out to Elisabetta Ripa, CEO of Open Fiber; the entrepreneurship award was given to Gloria Tenuta, the President and CEO of Gias; the information prize was awarded to Repubblica Journalist Federica Angeli; the entertainment award went to TV presenter Milly Carlucci; and the special award was given to pianist and composer Cristiana Pegoraro.

Finally, the “germoglio d’oro” for promising young women was awarded to Lucrezia Bisignani, the co-founder of Kukua, an edutainment company aimed at teaching African children to read, write, and make calculations using a smartphone.  

The ceremony took place in the RAI studios after the winners - accompanied by the creator of the Bellisario Award, entrepreneur and member of the Italian Parliament Lella Golfo, and by the President of the Award’s appointing commission Stefano Lucchini - were received in the Quirinal Palace by President Sergio Mattarella.

“The work of women is an incredibly important contribution to the life of our country,” commented the President, who said women are increasingly becoming protagonists whether it be in economics, diplomacy, journalism, “this enriches and strengthens the nation.” 

The award show was then broadcasted on Rai1 on June 22nd, where, according to the Foundation, it was watched by about 800,000 spectators. You can see it here on Rai Play.





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