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President George W. Bush, Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi Attending Sons of Italy Foundation® Gala in DC

Press Contact: Kylie Cafiero, (202) 547-2900

WASHINGTON, May 10, 2004 ­ The Sons of Italy Foundation® (SIF), a leading Italian American philanthropic organization, announced today that President George W. Bush and Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi will attend its awards Gala in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, May 19.

Prime Minister Berlusconi will receive an international award from the SIF during its 16th annual National Education & Leadership Awards (NELA) Gala. Three Italian Americans who have excelled in business, the fight against breast cancer and academia along with the SIF's 2004 scholarship winners will also be honored.

"This is an historic moment," says Philip R. Piccigallo, PhD, SIF executive director and CEO. "It is the first time that a sitting U.S. president and a prime minister of Italy attend a major Italian American event together."

The other honorees are:

Joseph J. Grano, chairman of UBS Financial Services, who will receive the SIF 2004 NELA award for his leadership in the financial world. Grano was president of PaineWebber when it merged with UBS in 2001. Before entering the business world he served in the US Army Special Forces.

Frances M. Visco, Esq., president of the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC), will receive the SIF 2004 Humanitarian Award for her dedication to the fight against breast cancer. She serves on NBCC's Executive Committee and represents the organization at various national and international events. Visco has served on the President's Cancer Panel for three terms since 1993.

John J. DeGioia, Ph.D., president of Georgetown University, will be recognized with the 2004 SIF Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Academia. He held various leadership positions throughout the University for more than two decades before becoming president in 2001.

The SIF is the philanthropic arm of the Order Sons of Italy in America® (OSIA), the nation's oldest and largest organization for people of Italian heritage. Over the years, the SIF has contributed more than $84 million to medical research, disaster relief, and scholarships. The NELA Gala proceeds help fund these philanthropic programs.

About 1,000 guests are expected at this year's NELA black tie gala, including Cabinet officers, members of Congress and corporate leaders. The gala is at the Grand Hyatt Hotel (1000 H Street, NW). Tickets are $500.00 each and seating is limited. For reservations, call 202/547-2900 or email: