Italian–US Relations: A Conversation with Ambassador Giovanni Castellaneta
Moderated by Elisabeth Bumiller, The New York Times

Washington, DC—On March 31, 2009, Italian Ambassador Giovanni Castellaneta hosted a WFPG event at the Italian Embassy in Washington, DC for WFPG members and friends. The event included a reception and program on Italian-US Relations which was moderated by Elisabeth Bumiller, author of Condoleezza Rice: An American Life and the Pentagon Correspondent for The New York Times. Ambassador Castellaneta spoke about Italian-American cultural heritage, President Barack Obama’s visit to Europe for the G-20 Conference, foreign aid to developing countries, Afghanistan, and the 60th anniversary of NATO. The Ambassador emphasized the importance of collaboration and community as “important factors of strength in relations” between the United States and Italy. He also expressed confidence that the collaboration of the US and the EU would be beneficial in addressing problems from the financial crisis to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Elisabeth Bumiller asked the Ambassador about the steps being taken by the US and EU to solve the financial crisis, Italy’s foreign policy toward Iran and Afghanistan, and the role Italy would like NATO to play in Afghanistan. Responding to questions about the financial crisis, the Ambassador highlighted the importance of working together and the need for solutions that specifically address the various situations in the countries affected by the crisis.

Regarding the situation in Afghanistan, the Ambassador said “our policy is currently limited to fighting terrorism” but that there must also be work on institution-building and economic recovery. He discussed the prime importance of having one million soldiers stabilize Afghanistan, find roots of terrorist cells there, fight the drug trade, and help the Afghans start a new economy. He expressed optimism that NATO can and will do more to help US efforts in Afghanistan, stating that a failure of NATO in Afghanistan could become a failure of NATO as a whole. He also spoke of the need for new global governance to deal with the problems caused by the current financial crisis and to continue the ongoing work to help developing countries.


alt alt alt
Ambassador Giovanni Castellaneta of Italy

  Ambassador Castellaneta speaking with
Elisabeth Bumiller, The New York Times

alt alt alt
WFPG President Patricia Ellis
introducing Ambassador Castellaneta

  Ambassador Castellaneta with Elisabeth
Bumiller during the Q&A

alt alt alt
The WFPG reception at the Italian Embassy

  Susan Reardon of Johnson & Johnson

alt alt  alt=
Elisabeth Bumiller and Ambassador Castellaneta
during the WFPG Reception

  The WFPG Reception at the Italian Embassy

alt alt  alt=
Elisabeth Bumiller speaking with Susan Hovanec,
Patricia Ellis, Ambassador Houda Ezra Nonoo
of Bahrain, and Silvia Limoncini of the
Italian Embassy during reception

  Susana Florian of Parsons Corporation asks the
Ambassador a question during the Q&A

alt alt  alt=
Patricia Ellis speaks with Ambassador Castellaneta and
Paolo Galli of the UNDP Washington Office

  WFPG Board Secretary Donna Constantinople with her husband,
Dr. Nicholas Constantinople, and Ava Smith of the
State Department

alt alt  alt=
Silvia Limoncini, Patricia Ellis, and WFPG
Board Member Mary Catherine Toker

  Ava Smith, Patricia Ellis, Ambassador Castellaneta,
Ambassador Nonoo, and Paolo Galli

alt alt  alt=
Patricia Ellis and Silvia Limoncini

  Elisabeth Bumiller, Ambassador Castellaneta,
WFPG Board Member Theresa Loar,
and Tom Searle of CH2M Hill