Lots of laughter and amore in the air as President Bill Clinton and Quincy Jones joined Italy’s President Giorgio Napolitano and Washington favorite Franco Nuschese at the Sons of Italy Foundation’s 22nd annual National Education & Leadership Awards gala in Washington, D.C. on May 26.
Clinton was honored with a lifetime achievement award for his career in public service and used the occasion to promote his new passion: bringing the FIFA World Cup to the U.S., which received a rousing round of applause (Italy is the defending champion heading into the 2010 World Cup games). Clinton was recently named the Honorary Chairman of the USA Bid to bring the games to the United States in 2018 or 2022.
The event, emceed by actor Joe Mantegna, also honored Capt. Anthony Odierno, (U.S. Army, Ret.), who was severely wounded in Iraq; and Lewis Merletti, former director of the U.S. Secret Service. National scholarships were also handed out to 11 young Italian Americans heading off to college.
On hand for the festivities were numerous notables ranging from the worlds of government to entertainment, including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House; Gen. Raymond Odierno, commander of U.S. forces in Iraq; NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci, Sons of Italy Foundation President Vincent Sarno, and tenor Michael Amante.