We The Italians | What's up with WTI: Editorial # 168

What's up with WTI: Editorial # 168

Dear friends,

What a month! So many things, so many friends, so many events! It always happens in October, but this year has been extraordinary!

It actually started at the end of September, when in Florence I had the honor of representing We the Italians and the Italian American community at the Made in Italy event organized by Maurizio Mancianti, our Ambassador to Tuscany and President of the Tuscan American Association. The event was held at the prestigious and beautiful Florence Chamber of Commerce, the first one established in Italy in 1770, 6 years before the revolution that led to the birth of the United States of America... Florence is the Italian capital of luxury, and interesting new developments and opportunities for our We the Italians readers will arise from this event. Stay tuned!

A few days later it was a pleasure to go to Verona, where our Ambassador to Veneto, Alessandro Tapparini, organized an important conference dedicated to Christopher Columbus in which I had the opportunity to inform about what is happening in America, the unfair attacks on Columbus, and why he should be vigorously defended both on this side and on the other side of the ocean. The full room was very appreciative, which is wonderful news because in Italy the topic is much less known and debated than in America.

After Florence and Verona, it was the turn of Rome, where in representation of We the Italians I accompanied NIAF President Robert Allegrini to sign the agreement with the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs on the diffusion of the Year of Roots, 2024, which Italy dedicates to return tourism for all Italian-descendants abroad. Along with President Allegrini and myself was the new U.S. Ambassador to Rome, Jack Markell. The Year of Roots was an idea that We the Italians launched in 2019, and the Foreign Ministry adopted it in 2021, announcing it during the interview that the then Foreign Minister gave us. We will have a chance to talk more about it, soon.

Then we traveled to the US.

October 12 for We the Italians was a historic day for two reasons. The first is that for the first time - finally! - an event was held without me, at the Columbus Citizens Foundation in New York, the presentation of the Italian American Reputation Lab's 2023 report. General Director of We the Italians Fabrizio Fasani and our partner and IARL co-founder Davide Ippolito described the report. At the same time, in Washington DC, thanks to the generosity of Mr. Basil Russo, I had the honor of being invited by the First Lady to the White House for a reception to mark Italian Heritage Month.  

Over the next two days Fabrizio Fasani and Davide Ippolito joined me in Washington DC and together we had the honor of being part of four prestigious events. At the Italian Embassy we participated in the second edition of the Transatlantic Investment Committee; then at the reception at Villa Firenze held by Italian Ambassador Mariangela Zappia; then we gave the presentation of the IARL 2023 report also as part of the NIAF forum. This year's Italian American Reputation Lab event also dealt with the Italian diaspora, in concert with similar presentations given by LUISS University and the Centro Studi Ambrosetti. The report analyzes how the reputation of Italy and Italians in the United States has evolved and how stereotypes about Italian Americans are changing thanks to the great work of institutions and organizations engaged on the ground.

The presentation was opened by Italian Consul in Detroit Paola Allegra Baistrocchi, who briefly described the importance of the report on Italy in Michigan carried out and presented by the Italian American Reputation Lab in September. Alma Laias, representing NIAF, then spoke. Following this, I introduced the report, described by Davide Ippolito.

Finally, the trip to Washington DC ended with the wonderful 48th NIAF Gala, during which First Lady Jill Biden surprised us all by presenting a surprise visit from President Joe Biden. Exhausted, but happy, we returned to Rome with a full load of excitement and new ideas.

Last but not least, once again this year We the Italians has decided to nominate the Italian American of the Year. Last year there was no time to ask all of you. So we decided to ask our team, our family. And so the Italian American of 2022 was decided by us, internally. 80 members of our team voted. 35 of them live in Italy, 45 in the United States. In 2022, Stanley Tucci won. This year we are asking you to vote. You can vote for anyone you want: a famous person, the President of your club, anyone who is Italian American and deserves for you to be elected Italian American of 2023. Please vote filling out the form here. We will announce the results in December.

Once again let me remind you that the 2023 yearbook of We the Italians is available, with the 23 interviews (in Italian and English) published during 2022. You can find a preview and buy a copy here. Also, please use our virtual store to buy gifts and gadgets, where you can find more than 20 products in different colors: t-shirts, tank tops, hoodies, onesies, mugs, notebooks, pillows, totes, tapestries, pins, laptop and smartphone cases, magnets, stickers, masks. Buy We the Italians!

It’s all for now. Please stay safe and take care, and enjoy our magazine and our contents on our website. The future’s so bright, we gotta wear shades. A big Italian hug from Rome!