What's up with WTI: Editorial # 152

Jun 25, 2022 1018

Ciao from Rome!  

Dear friends , this is an editorial a little different from others. There is only one topic we are talking about, because this month all our attention has been focused on the organization of the 1st We the Italians Gala Dinner, which was held last June 20 here in Rome at the prestigious and wonderful Circolo del Ministero degli Esteri. It was a huge, fantastic success. Here you can find photos and videos.

Our guests of honor were the members of the board of the National Italian American Foundation.

More than 200 personalities from the world of institutions and industry, professionals and artists attended the Gala Dinner, celebrating the friendship between Italy and the United States and the outstanding contribution made by Italian Americans to the economy, culture and every sector of American society. Also, we had the honor of hosting two Ministers of the Italian government, while a third one sent us a letter of greeting published in the journal of the evening.

The evening began with a poolside cocktail reception that was then followed by a seated dinner on the beautiful lawn of the location, where the national anthems were performed: the Italian one will be sung by Meri Kacbufi, the American one by Sofia Robinson-Pelosi.

This was followed by three brief welcome addresses by Minister Plenipotentiary Luigi Maria Vignali, Director General for Italians Abroad of the Foreign Ministry and Chairman Emeritus of the Circolo del Ministero degli Esteri; by me; and by Robert Carlucci, Chairman of the Board of the National Italian American Foundation.

Following this, Andrea Gumina, President of Associazione Amerigo, described the birth of the Transatlantic Investment Committee, which was established in October 2021 to foster improved transatlantic relations from an investment perspective. Then, three agreements have been announced: one between We the Italians and NIAF, one between the Transatlantic Investment Committee and We the Italians, and one between NIAF and the Transatlantic Investment Committee.

Then it was Luca Vullo's turn on stage: an author, director and producer of film and theater, Luca is an ambassador of Italian gestures in the world.

Later, the 2022 winners of the Four Freedoms Literary Award, organized by the Amerigo Association, which brings together Italian alumni of the International Cultural Exchange Programs sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, were announced and awarded.

To close the evening, plaques for the We the Italians "Two Flags One Heart 2022" awards were presented. This year's award recipients were two: the National Italian American Foundation and Italian American baseball legend Mike Piazza, who was among us.

Finally, We the Italians' issuance of its first NFT Non Fungible Token has been announced. We love Columbus is the name of the NFT promoted to support We the Italians' commitment to Christopher Columbus. The We love Columbus collection consists of 1492 NFTs and was published on the Opensea platform. Besides, the Federazione Italiana Baseball and Softball also issued their own NFT and were kind to donate one to me, representing the whole We the Italians family.

This was my brief speech.

Good evening ladies and gentlemen, I am Umberto Mucci, founder and president of We the Italians, and I am pleased to welcome you to our first Gala Dinner. A big thanks to Director Luigi Maria Vignali, also as president emeritus of this wonderful location that is the perfect venue for this evening.

We are the Italians who love the United States, celebrating the friendship between Italy and the US, today more than ever: this is a fundamental moment to confirm and witness our Atlantic loyalty, and the relationship between Italy and the United States would not be so excellent without the fundamental help that has always come from the experience of the Italian American community. That is why today we are happy and proud to host here with us the board of the National Italian American Foundation, the most important institution representing the 20 million Italian Americans who love Italy as much and many times even more than some Italians living here do. Italy needs more America, and America needs more Italy: the truth of these words is embodied by Italian Americans and We the Italians has been telling this story for years now.

Now, before some due thanks, I would like to tell you that if you are satisfied with the table where you are sitting, the credit goes to my friend and colleague Alma Laias, while if something is wrong, please blame it on me!

Let me thank the three Ministers of the Italian government who honored us with their contributions: Minister for Regional Affairs and Autonomies Mariastella Gelmini and Minister for Economic Development Giancarlo Giorgetti are here with us, while Minister of Foreign Affairs Luigi Di Maio could not be present but sent us a kind letter of greeting, which you will find in the journal of the evening along with all the other contents of this gala.

Another thank you that I personally feel very much due is to all the Italian parliamentarians who signed and then a year ago, on June 18 2021, voted in favor of the motion in defense of Christopher Columbus. The motion was the result of widely shared work but I want to personally thank here two members of the Italian parliament, whom I have the honor to consider my personal friends, who more than others made sure that this motion was passed. They are Fucsia Fitzgerald Nissoli and Federico Mollicone. Their work in defense of Columbus has been going on for years, and it is very necessary so that Italy does not leave Italian Americans alone to fight this necessary and important battle. The work in defense of Columbus by We the Italians, however, will be enriched today by a beautiful new innovative initiative.

Organizing this evening was quite a challenge. Let me thank my partners in crime: Alma Laias, Nicola Paglietti, Edoardo Colombo, Fabrizio Fasani and Giovanni Vagnone. Again, I thank Meri Kacbufi and Sofia Robinson-Pelosi for wonderfully singing our two anthems, the Italian and the American anthems respectively, assisted by Maestro Matteo Mastracco. I thank Luca Vullo, the ambassador of Italian gestures in the world, who will excite and entertain us by telling us about this true Italian excellence. And I thank the recipient of one of our Two Flags One Heart awards this year, a true legend of world baseball: the great Mike Piazza.

Of course, I would also like to thank those who supported us financially by sponsoring the evening: Federazione Italiana Baseball e Softball, ITA Airways, Amerigo, Oro Rosso, Fondazione Scudieri, Origine, John Cabot University, American University of Rome, Centro Studi Americani, Italian Citizenship Assistance, Business Plus, Kefa Collection, Into the Change, Confabitare, All Food.

But most of all, and I conclude, thank you all 200 for being here. Have a great evening everyone, Two Flags One Heart.

 

It’s all for this month, please stay safe and take care. The future’s so bright, we gotta wear shades! Ciao from Rome

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