(WASHINGTON, D.C.- MAY 22, 2006) Mayor of Miami Manny Diaz joined prominent members of the Hispanic media and journalists of Italian ancestry at the National Italian American Foundation’s (NIAF) third media networking reception at the Conrad Miami hotel. Mayor Diaz proclaimed May 18 “National Italian American Foundation Day” in Miami and presented the Proclamation to Arthur J. Furia, Esq. the Foundation’s regional vice president in the Southeast USA. The mayor also spoke about the importance of cultural consciousness and the educational initiatives of the Foundation, in particular the upcoming Miami-Dade County public school delegation to the Region of Lombardy in Italy. He celebrated Miami’s rich cultural and ethnic diversity as being among the greatest in the United States.

“NIAF is honored that Mayor Diaz wants to join the Miami-Dade County Public School official delegation to the Region of Lombardy, “ Furia said. “Today approximately 5,000 students (K-12 grades) study the Italian language in the state of Florida,” Furia added.

The City of Miami recognized NIAF for “its outstanding educational and youth initiatives,” adding, “In 2005, it gave more than $1.3 million to a broad range of programming to promote and preserve Italian language and culture.”

Italian American and Hispanic journalists, Italophiles and other prominent individuals from South Florida’s international community were invited to network with their colleagues over Italian delicacies and specialty wines. Helen Aguirre-Ferre, opinion page editor of Diario Las Americas, and Michele Gillen, chief investigative reporter at WFOR-TV CBS4, were the evening’s co-hosts.

Representatives from the Miami Herald, Associated Press, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Miami Today, WSVN Fox 7, El Nuevo Herald, La Gente D’Italia, and ABC news attended the event which was held on the pool deck of the Miami Conrad.  Italy’s Consul General to the United States in Miami, Gianfranco Colognato, donated fine Italian wines from the region of Friuli Venezia-Giulia. He spoke briefly of the importance in continuing the promotion of Italian culture and the Italian language here in the United States. The Conrad Miami underwrote the evening and prepared Italian-themed delicacies, including risotto and antipasti. Lisa Cole, Hilton director of communications for the Southeast region, expressed enthusiasm for the event and its importance as an innovative initiative to bring Hispanic and other Italophiles into our network.

NIAF is a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., and dedicated to preserving the heritage of Italian Americans. To learn about our programs/events, visit

Elissa Ruffino

Director of Communications

The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF)

1860 19th Street NW

Washington, DC 20009

Direct: 202/939-3106

Main: 202/387-0600

Fax: 202/387-0833 On the web at

Visit to access a FREE online dual citizenship questionnaire to determine if you pre-qualify for Italian citizenship!


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