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NIAF president: ‘Admiration’ doesn’t equal ‘respect’ in U.S.


Robert Allegrini, President of The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF)

Italian-American Herald

ROME – The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) President Robert Allegrini spoke April 3 to an assembly of Italian senators at the government palace, Palazzo Giustiniani, in Rome, Italy. Allegrini was invited by Brussels-based think tank and NIAF partner ItalyUntold to address the image of Italy in the United States, the perception of Italians in America, and Italian stereotypes.

“When you ask, ‘What is the perception of Italy and Italians in America?’, it is a question that requires a complex answer. On the one hand, there is a lot that Americans love about Italy and Italians. There is a great love for Made in Italy products, from food, to fashion, to sports cars. There is admiration for Italian art and music, and appreciation for Italian creativity and lifestyle. So, in those stereotypically Italian excellences, there is a real admiration. But does this admiration translate into a constant respect and trust towards the Italian people and the country itself? I must admit that this is not the case,” said Allegrini.

Allegrini continued his remarks adding, “Italians must realize that the Italian-American community is one of their greatest assets and they must do more to support it because Italian Americans are immensely proud of their legacy. They are the first to come to the defense of Italy when it is attacked unjustly just as the National Italian American Foundation regularly does.”

Italy is the fifth power in the world for trade surplus and the second European manufacturing country. Italian industries enjoy leading positions in many high tech- nology sectors, from robotics to shipyards, and they build major infrastructure in more than 90 countries. The Italian language is the fourth most studied language in the world, a clear signal of the international attention to the country.

The partnership between ItalyUntold and NIAF, which was solidified in November of 2021, aims at amplifying these positive messages and disseminating them globally, helping Italy’s repositioning within the inter-national community. The conference was organized by Senator Laura Garavini, vice president of the Foreign Affairs Committee, and Senators Fabio Porta and Francesco Giacobbe, in collaboration with ItalyUnTold.

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