I am very pleased to give a warm welcome to our Guest of Honor, the Italian Consul General, Minister Francesco Talò.
Francesco has been our friend and a part of GEI for the past five years and so it is very sad to see him leave New York. However, we understand that rules are rules, and that he is going to have a new important position.
You all know Francesco, and you all know that during his time here he has been extremely active and has been involved in almost every event and activity that has taken place in New York.
By car or by scooter, he has been almost everywhere and I still remember him in Black Tie, with Ornella on the back seat of his Vespa, speeding through Manhattan traffic to a Gala event, something no other Consul General has ever done.
On a more serious note, he has been working very effectively to give a sense of unity – un sistema paese – to the usually fragmented Italian activities, thus improving the image of Italy and giving relevance to the new Italian presence.
He has also been, with a great personal commitment, close to Italians, Italo-Americans and American friends, or potential friends, of Italy participating therefore in a countless number of events.
He has also reached out to the Italian community beyond Manhattan, in every area of the consular jurisdiction.
And let us not forget the strong relation he has established with the jewish community. Francesco has also shown a commitment to the Italian language and has helped to the reinstate the Advanced Placement program in the Italian language.
I will not mention all the events he organized or supervised from the June 2nd receptions to the visit of important dignitaries, like the recent visit of the Italian President, because we don’t have enough time and you have been part of all that.
We will miss you, Francesco, and we wish you the great success that you deserve in your future career.
We will also miss Ornella who has been at your side all these years, helping you in your activities with elegance and distinction.
And now I am very pleased, on behalf of GEI, to present our departing Consul General with a GEI PLAQUE given “With great admiration and appreciation for the activities conducted as Consul General in New York from 2007 to 2011.
The luncheon was held on June 23, 2011 in the Stella Private Room of Le Cirque restaurant in New York City.