Delegates from throughout the country welcomed by The Russo Brothers

Basil Russo’s keynote speech given a standing ovation, and John Viola lays out strategy for five more conferences over the next five years. 

The precedent-setting IAFL Conference — sponsored by COPOMIAO — has reached its midpoint, and COPOMIAO VP John Viola is setting the stage for a new wave of leaders to uphold our heritage, elevate our culture and promote our history — starting with Columbus.  

View the IAFL social media slideshow here.

Conference organizers were struck by the impassioned and highly insightful remarks by delegates that mirrored the viewpoints of elder generations concerning the importance of ancestry and traditions, and the negative effects of pervasive stereotypes.  

Hollywood directors Joe and Anthony Russo highlighted how their Italian American upbringing played a critical role in shaping their lives and careers. The Russo Brothers encouraged attendees to take up the torch and celebrate their heritage. 

 “Our family emigrated to the U.S. from four small hill towns in the Abruzzo and Sicily. We feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to travel to those places and connect with our roots because we love and value the role our Italian cultural heritage has had in our lives,” said Anthony Russo.

COPOMIAO President Basil Russo’s motivational keynote address set the tone and was enthusiastically received by the delegates.

Russo spoke about the significant contributions Italians have made to world civilization, the need for younger Italian Americans to assume the mantle of leadership in the IA community, the challenges facing the younger generation of Italian American leaders, and his faith that younger delegates will get the job done. 

Stay tuned for a comprehensive recap of the first-ever Italian American Future Leaders Conference!


Formed in 1975 and based in NYC, the Conference of Presidents of Major Italian American Organizations is comprised of 60 of the most influential, cultural, educational, fraternal and anti-defamation groups in the nation. The Conference of Presidents is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit institution.

%d bloggers like this: