On May 6th, 2023, the National Organization of Italian American Women (NOIAW), a non-profit organization established 43 years ago, presented awards to three honorees during their annual luncheon at The St. Regis New York, along with a pre-recorded message from First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.
Mary Calvi, a TV News Anchor and Author, Cristina Carabetta, an Attorney and Founder of Betta Bag and Chair of the National Italian American Bar Association, and Joseph Sciame, the Vice President of St. John’s University and President of the Sons of Italy Foundation, were recognized for their professional achievements and contributions to the Italian American community as role models for the next generation.
Dr. Jill Biden, who frequently speaks about her own Italian heritage, delivered a pre-recorded message to the guests, reflecting on the significant role that traditions and cultural values learned at her Sicilian grandfather’s South Jersey home continue to play in her life. She did not speak specifically about the honorees or the event but rather shared her personal connection to Italian culture and heritage.
The event was hosted by Patricia Russo, Executive Director of The Campaign School at Yale and a 2010 NOIAW Wise Woman recipient, and NOIAW also presented scholarship awards to young Italian American women pursuing higher education at prestigious colleges, law schools, medical schools, and universities.
Maria Tamburri, the Chair of NOIAW’s Board of Directors, and Pat Tinto, the President of NOIAW, jointly stated that the honorees represented the epitome of Italian American women and men. The numerous accomplishments among NOIAW members across fields are remarkable and, in many cases, achieved against all odds. They also expressed their delight in sharing a message from Dr. Biden, who is the ‘first’ First Lady to continue her full-time career outside the White House and the first Italian American to live there.
NOIAW, founded in 1980, is the only national organization for women of Italian descent. Their mission is to unite and connect women through Italian culture and heritage, celebrate the achievements of women of Italian ancestry, inspire and enrich members with shared interests in cultural programs, and empower and advance the educational and professional aspirations of current and future generations. Over the years, the organization has expanded its membership programs, and accomplishments and introduced virtual programming during the pandemic.