N.J. Senate President Sweeney Receives Italian Consular award

N.J. Senate President Sweeney Receives Italian Consular award

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At the ceremony were (left to right) Consul General of Italy in Philadelphia Andrea Canepari, State Senate President Steve Sweeney and Rowan President Dr. Ali Houshmand.

The Consul General of Italy in Philadelphia, Andrea Canepari, presented New Jersey State Senate President Stephen Sweeney with the Italian Consular General Award May 23 at Rowan University.

The award recognizes Sweeney’s support of, and friendship with, Italian Americans in Sweeney’s legislative district and around the state, Canepari said.

The consul general said Sweeney was the only recipient of the award in the Philadelphia region in 2016. Past recipients include Rowan University Board of Trustees member Frank Giordano and Drexel University President John Fry.

Canepari presented the award to Sweeney at Rowan’s Hollybush Mansion, an 1849 Italianate villa that was the site of the historic 1967 U.S.-Soviet Glassboro Summit. The framed original etching of a Roman bridge from the 1800s includes the seal of the Italian Republic.

Amid a crowd of local dignitaries, Rowan administrators and board members, and friends at an evening that featured Italian music and a buffet, Canepari said, “I’m proud being here today in this historical place. I believe this region and Italy are perfect together.”

Canepari said in addition to celebrating Sweeney’s past support of Italian Americans, the award is meant to encourage closer ties in the future. He lauded the senate president for his commitment to creating new bridges to “contemporary Italy.”

Sweeney, who noted 36 percent of Gloucester County residents are of Italian heritage, said, “It really is an honor to receive this . .  .We want to build this relationship (with Italy) much more.”

Like a nation’s ambassador, whose mission it is to build relations with host nations at the federal level, the consul general is tasked with building relationships at the state and local levels, Canepari said.

He said the Italian government has had a functioning consul general in Philadelphia since 1791, and there are others in New York, Miami, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago.