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Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi Attending Sons of Italy Foundation® Gala in DC on May 19

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

WASHINGTON, DC - Apr. 22, 04 ­ Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi will be honored by the Sons of Italy Foundation® (SIF) during its annual Gala on Wednesday, May 19 in Washington, DC.

"Prime Minister Berlusconi will receive the first SIF International Man of Courage Award for his staunch support of the United States in its war against international terrorism," says Philip R. Piccigallo, PhD, SIF executive director and CEO.

President George W. Bush has been invited to the 2004 NELA Gala as well as Cabinet officers, members of Congress and corporate leaders. About 1,000 guests are expected to attend.

Berlusconi's award will be conferred during the SIF's 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 also will be honored. They 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 $85 million to medical research, disaster relief, and scholarships. The NELA Gala proceeds help fund these philanthropic programs.

The NELA 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: