Conference Of Presidents Of Major Italian American Organizations (COPOMIAO) Visits Rome, Provides Update

Special Report: Turning Vision Into Action

The President’s Report, From Basil M. Russo

Turning Vision Into Action:

  • COPOMIAO Leaders Forge Diplomatic Partnership With Italian Ambassador in Washington, D.C. (December 2021)
  • COPOMIAO Delegation Convenes With Italy’s Political Leaders in Rome to Strengthen Cultural and Commercial Ties (May 2022)
  • Delegation Greets Pope Francis and Sits Down With Vatican’s Secretary of State to Reaffirm Our Community’s Religious Commitment (May 2022)
  • Planning Under Way for a Groundbreaking National Youth Summit to Reconnect With Our Younger Generations (January 2023, dates TBA)

COPOMIAO, by the Numbers:

  • 54 Major Organizations Working as One to Preserve Our Heritage
  • Led 3 National Italian American Summit Meetings that Brought 400 IA Organizations to the Table
  • 6 National Committees Addressing Issues of Mutual Concern (from public policy and education, to Columbus activism and youth engagement)


The Conference of Presidents of Major Italian American Organizations (COPOMIAO) is a collective of leaders from the 54 most important cultural, charitable, educational, fraternal and anti-defamation organizations across the country. We work at the highest levels to preserve and promote our Italian American culture, traditions, values and history. Every two years the presidents of these organizations elect one from among them to, in effect, become the president of the presidents. I, as the ISDA president, was elected to serve as president of COPOMIAO in October 2020.

The COPOMIAO delegation meets with Italy’s leaders in Rome. Image Credit - COPOMIAO

The COPOMIAO delegation meets with Italy’s leaders in Rome. Image Credit – COPOMIAO


The biggest problem that has confronted Italian Americans and their organizations for generations is they never learned how to work together. As a result, our community couldn’t accomplish anything important at the national level because we were unable to amplify or unify our voice. Last year I had COPOMIAO sponsor three National Italian American Summit Meetings that brought hundreds of Italian American organizations together. We formed six national committees so that we could finally begin working together in a spirit of national unity.


In addition to never having been able to work together at the national level, Italian Americans have lacked a close relationship with the Italian government. This disconnect has prevented us from working with Italy to jointly promote programs and activities that celebrate our culture. Last fall, I made a request of the Italian Ambassador, Mariangela Zappia, to host a reception at her residence in Washington, D.C. so all the COPOMIAO presidents could meet her and her staff. She did so last December and a strong bond began to develop between COPOMIAO’s leaders and the Italian government.


Because of the successful relationship that came about as a result of the D.C. reception, I believed the next logical step would be to build upon it by taking a delegation of COPOMIAO’s presidents to Rome to meet and establish strong relationships with both Italian government leaders, as well as the leaders of the Catholic Church. We met with the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for Italy, as well as members of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, and the Secretary General of the Italian Supreme Court. I explained to all these officials that we Italian Americans are proud of our Italian heritage, and that we wanted to reconnect with the Italian people and their government so we could work with them to promote our collective culture, and to use our newfound relationship to develop strategic alliances that would allow us to strengthen commerce between the U.S. and Italy.  This message was very well received by everyone we spoke to.

Read More Here.

Banner Image: COPOMIAO in Rome. Image Credit – COPOMIAO

Italian American Museum

Logo A NEW HOME IN THE HEART OF LITTLE ITALY New Exterior The new Italian American Museum (IAM) will serve as a cultural hub and community nexus for Italian Americans and the Little Italy neighborhood. Through permanent and temporary exhibits, robust educational and cultural programming, and collaborations with the community, the IAM will become the preeminent center for learning about and engaging with Italian as a platform for sharing Italian American voices and celebrating Italian American achievements, the IAM will be interesting to both Italian Americans and non-Italian Americans, bringing Italian American culture and heritage to younger generations and a wide range of new audiences. The Italian American Museum preserves, promotes, and celebrates the culture and history of Italian Americans, serving as living record of their contributions to America and a bridge between the remarkable past and the evolving future of the community. By allowing Italian Americans to share their story in their voice, the Italian American Museum will encourage a full appreciation of what it means to be Italian American. News Progress Photos Building Update / Annual Appeal Dear friends, We are pleased to report that we have topped off our new building and the new brick facade is being applied. Below please find pictures of the new building and the brick facade. Topping off the building Close up of the new brick facade View of the brick facade on our building Due to COVID-19 we have postponed all of our fundraising activities for the year including our annual Golf Classic and Ambasciatore Awards dinner. However, we ask that you be as generous as possible during this time of our Annual Appeal since it will be our sole fundraiser for 2021. Please know that we sincerely appreciate your contributions and that funds raised will be used to support the construction for the new building. We do so look forward to seeing you again at the reopening of the “New” Italian American Museum in Fall 2022. We will be bigger and better than ever before. Thank you for your continued support of our Italian American Museum. Andrà tutto bene! Respectfully, Uff. Prof. Joseph V. Scelsa Italian American Museum 19th Annual Golf Classic to be held on Monday, June 6th at North Hills Country Club. North Hills Country Club Exhibitions The New Italian American Museum: Architectural renderings and model for the forthcoming newly designed museum. OUR STORY FROM COLUMBUS TO CUOMO From our beginnings in Little Italy The IAM is located on Mulberry Street in the heart of what was once the largest Italian community in the United States in the first quarter of the 20th century. We became aware of the need for our own Museum in 1999, with the launch of the first major exhibition on Italians in America at the New York Historical Society, “The Italians of New York: Five Centuries of Struggle and Achievement”. The exhibit was a great success and we realized that in order to be part of the cultural dialogue in America, we needed our own Museum. So in 2001, we were chartered in New York State as the first Italian Museum in America. In our Museum, we seek to tell our whole story from Columbus to Cuomo and everything in between, our struggles and our accomplishments through hard work, ingenuity and perseverance. It has not always been easy but we have much to be proud of, for our contributions to American society are enormous. Now we will have a secular cathedral for all to see, experience and appreciate where we came from and what we have achieved.

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