A solid relationship with the United States has been a constant of Italy’s foreign policy and has traditionally been viewed as corresponding with, rather than in conflict with the strengthening of European integration, said Italian Ambassador Giovanni Castellaneta in his recent address at the “Frank J. Guarini Public Policy Forum.”
The forum, hosted by the National Italian American Foundation in conjunction with the Italian American Delegation of the U. S. Congress, was held on May 9, 2007, in the Capitol’s Rayburn House Office Building. The Forum was attended by numerous Members of Congress, Italian-American business executives, government officials, opinion leaders, and other Washington leaders, among them Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr.
In his discussion of transatlantic relations, Ambassador Castellaneta spoke of the “global challenges” that Europe and North America must address jointly. He cited, for example, the problems of climate change, energy supplies and efficiency, and appropriate strategies for fighting poverty, as well as “a shared and effective approach to the spread of democracy and basic rights.”
Observing that relations between Italy and North America are characterized by “deeply shared values and interests” at the government level, and “strongly integrated economic and financial systems” on the production level, Ambassador Castellaneta added that the transatlantic dialogue serves as “an engine to concretely apply these values and interests, not only for the two sides of the Atlantic but for the governance of today’s globalized world.”
The Ambassador noted the “excellent relationship” between the Italy and the United States, as expressed by Italy’s “strong commitment” in multilateral peace-keeping missions and the war on terrorism. He pointed, too, to the positive and growing trade balance between the two countries, a growing collaboration in science and technology, and increasing cultural exchanges.
“There is no doubt of the role played by the action, influence and commitment of the Italian-American community in cementing this foundation,” he said. This community, he added, which is the fifth largest ethnic group in the United States, “performs a primary role in the development of cultural and economic ties between the two countries.”
The “dynamic and vibrant” Italian-American community has risen to “the highest and most distinguished posts in this country’s political, economic and social environments,” Ambassador Castellaneta noted, identifying in particular Justice Alito.
Just days earlier, Justice Alito’s achievements had been recognized by the President of Italy, who conferred on him the “Cavalierato di Gran Croce,” the highest distinction in Italy’s Order of Merit.•
*Pictured above top: Ambassador Giovanni Castellaneta and Rep. William Pascrell
Pictured middle: Ambassador Giovanni Castellaneta and Rep. William Pascrell
Pictured bottom: Ambassador Giovanni Castellaneta, Rep. William Pascrell, and Rep. Renzi
Photos by Francesco Isgro