Meeting caps yearlong effort to create a spirit of national unity among Italian Americans and establish a new era of diplomatic collaboration with Italy’s government.

Washington, D.C. (Dec. 4, 2021) — A delegation of Italian American leaders met Friday with Mariangela Zappia, Italy’s first female ambassador to the U.S., to cement a partnership that’s designed to strengthen cultural relations, foster new trade, and bolster advocacy on issues of mutual concern.

The much-anticipated meeting in Washington, D.C. was organized by Zappia and Hon. Basil M. Russo, who leads The Conference of Presidents of Major Italian American Organizations (COPOMIAO).   

“This landmark meeting is the culmination of a yearlong effort, which has united a once-fragmented Italian American community around common goals that include the preservation of our history, heritage, institutions and businesses,” Judge Russo said. “Hon. Mariangela Zappia has represented Italy at NATO and the UN, and now she stands with Italian America to promote our initiatives and policies — and COPOMIAO, in turn, is here to do the same for Italy.” 

“The Embassy, and Italian institutions on both sides of the Atlantic, greatly appreciate all that you do, each day, to promote our language, culture, and traditions — in short, our heritage — in this exceptional country,” noted Ambassador Zappia in welcoming Judge Russo and the COPOMIAO delegation. “The entire Italian diplomatic network in the U.S. is proud to work with you, side-by-side, to continue enhancing and promoting our beautiful Italy…Italian identity is strong and apparent in all aspects of daily life in this wonderful country: from food to art, culture to music, architecture to politics.”


Formed in 1975 and based in New York City, The Conference of Presidents of Major Italian American Organizations (COPOMIAO) is comprised of 50 of the most influential cultural, educational, fraternal and anti-defamation groups in the nation. For more information, visit

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