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Gli italiani che hanno fatto l’America

Lo scorso 2 novembre Stroncature ha ospitato il seminario “Gli italiani che hanno fatto l’America”, parte del programma Transatlantic Talks, diretto da Vincenzo Pascale. Ospite della puntata John Calvelli, vice presidente National Italian American Foundation e il Console Generale d’Italia a New York, Francesco Genuardi.

John F. Calvelli is the Executive Vice President of Public Affairs for the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), a global conservation organization headquartered at the Bronx Zoo dedicated to saving wildlife and wild places. Mr. Calvelli serves on the Executive Management team that manages the overall organization and he specifically oversees the work of WCS in Government and Community Affairs, Policy, Communications and the WCS Digital Program.

Prior to joining WCS in 2000, Mr. Calvelli served as the senior staff person to Congressman Eliot Engel (D-Bronx/Westchester) in Washington, DC. As Administrative Assistant/Counsel, he had oversight responsibility for Congressional administrative office functions and oversaw, directed and supervised all legislative initiatives of Rep. Engel during his tenure on the House Energy and Commerce, Foreign Affairs, Science and Education and Labor Committees. Prior to his work in Washington, D.C., Mr. Calvelli was chosen to participate in a clinical program with the Civil Division of the Office of then U.S. Attorney Rudolph Giuliani and subsequently served as Associate Counsel to the New York State Assembly.

Mr. Calvelli was a founder and currently serves as Chair of the Executive Committee of the International Conservation Partnership (ICP), which is comprised of senior public affairs representatives from the major global U.S. conservation organizations. The ICP helps to coordinate policy initiatives with a focus on educating the U.S. Congress and appropriate governmental agencies on global conservation needs. He is also a member of the New York State Environmental Leaders Group, comprised of the senior environmental community leadership dedicated to engaging our political leadership on issues of concern.

Mr. Calvelli served as a lead member of the negotiation team during the land transfer of 680,000 acres on Tierra del Fuego from Goldman Sachs to the Wildlife Conservation Society in 2003. The first of its kind, this landmark public-private partnership resulted in the creation of Karukinka, a nature preserve that protects key ecological features found in this extraordinary part of the world.

In the aftermath of the devastating April 6, 2009, earthquake in Abruzzo, Italy, he led the effort to develop a public-private partnership with the U.S. Department of State to bring a generous American response to the people of the stricken region. The focus of the partnership has been to direct aid to the students of the University of L’Aquila and help restore the institution’s role as an important academic, social and economic engine for the region.

Mr. Calvelli serves on the Board of New York City and Company, the National Italian American Foundation, the Belmont Business Improvement District, the Picture House Regional Film Center, Bronx Chamber of Commerce and the Preserve Plum Island. He is a member of the Board of Advisors of the Food Bank Westchester, a domestic hunger relief charity, WFUV Radio and CAUSE-NY, a division of The Jewish Community Relations Council of New York’s Commission on Intergroup Relations and Community Concerns. On October 15, 1999, the Republic of Italy bestowed the honorific title of Knighthood in the Order of Merit to Calvelli for his work promoting stronger U.S.-Italy relations.

Mr. Calvelli graduated from Salesian High School, Fordham University and went on to earn a law degree from Fordham Law School. He is married to Maria DiMeo Calvelli and they have a 13-year-old son, John Domenico, as well as their 2-year-old dog named Felix.

The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) is a nationwide organization headquartered in Washington, D.C., and is the largest and most loyal representative of the more than 20 million Italian American citizens living in the United States. NIAF was founded in 1975 and is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with no political affiliations.

NIAF’s two most important purposes are to encourage Italian Americans to continue keeping their culturally rich heritage and traditions alive and present, and to ensure that the entire community never forgets the great contribution that Italians have made to the history and progress of the United States. To this end, the Foundation actively collaborates with the United States Congress and the White House on all major issues affecting Italian Americans.

To celebrate the great legacy that unites us and all the objectives achieved so far, NIAF organizes its Anniversary Gala every October in Washington, D.C., which is usually attended by the President of the United States; figureheads from the political, financial and cultural arenas; illustrious Italian Americans; and about 1,200 guests from the United States and Italy.

On this occasion, the Foundation awards honors to eminent Italian and Italian American personalities who have distinguished themselves in their professional or civic role. In the past, NIAF has honored personalities such as Antonin Scalia, who was the first Italian American judge of the United States Supreme Court; Frank Sinatra; Joe Di Maggio; Lee Iacocca; Liza Minnelli; Luciano Pavarotti; and Sofia Loren.