Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Today I am very pleased to welcome to GEI, Mr. James Periconi, founder of Periconi, LLC, and a global leader bibliophile of Italian-American publications.
James Periconi is a highly rated environmental lawyer in New York, a “Superlawyer” for several years, and a former Chair of the Environmental Law Section of the New York State Bar Association. His business and real estate investor clients prize his advice on business affairs. He was educated at Columbia College and New York University School of Law.
However, we particularly honor him today as a Friend of GEI because of the ground-breaking work he has done in developing a collection of Italian-language texts, written and published in this country, and displaying them at the prestigious Grolier Club, the premier book-collecting club in the country, this fall, in an exhibition that just ended. Many outside of the Italian community got their first glimpse of the complex world of Italians in the United States. Several favorable reviews of the show appeared in the Italian press in Italy as well as in America Oggi here – see the attached.
To do this work, Mr. Periconi has for the last 10 years or so studied the literature and culture reflecting the world of Italians who continued to write, speak and live in Italian in the United States, especially in the 50-60 years before World War II.
He not only mounted this important exhibition of books and other printed materials – the first of its kind in the nation – but he also wrote an extensive catalogue to weave together the stories of these Italians, and included three essays by the leading scholars – two of them professors at Italian universities – and an extensive bibliography of these primary works, and secondary works about them.
This field of study in Italian universities – what happened to Italians fuori d’Italia – those who left the mother country from the mid-19th through the mid-20th century, how did they live, what literature and culture did they develop – has become of paramount importance among thoughtful Italians, especially as they confront the challenges that Italy faces in the future because of a declining native population, and the redefinition of what it means to be Italian.
I am very glad to finally meet Mr. Periconi, a distinguished attorney and a man of culture, who has greatly enhanced the knowledge of Italian culture in the United States.
Therefore, I am pleased to welcome James Periconi and present him on behalf of GEI with the “GEI FRIENDSHIP AWARD” in recognition of his outstanding accomplishments.
The luncheon was held on November 27, 2012 in the Stella Private Room of Le Cirque restaurant in New York City.