Minister Bernini Opens Italy-USA Council Meetings at the Italian Embassy in Washington

The Italian Embassy in Washington hosted the annual meeting of the Italy-United States Council for Relations in America (Consiusa) on April 9-10. Italian Ambassador to the USA, Mariangela Zappia, welcomed participants on the evening of April 9 at Villa Firenze. The guest of honour was Senator Anna Maria Bernini, Italy’s Minister of University and Research. Following greetings from the Minister, the Ambassador, and the President of Consiusa, Domenico Siniscalco, the evening continued with a conversation between Senator Shelley Moore Capito and Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, moderated by the Ambassador.

On April 10, the Italian Embassy hosted the Council’s workshop titled “Next! Forging The Future. Our World, Our Challenges.” Opening the sessions, after greetings from Ambassador Zappia and US Ambassador to Italy Jack Markell (via video link), were Minister Bernini and Assistant Secretary for Europe and Eurasia at the Department of State, Ambassador James O’Brien.

The closed-door sessions focused on the role of research and innovation in shaping future geopolitical and economic scenarios, global economic and financial outlooks, ongoing crises and conflicts, the potential and challenges of artificial intelligence, and the role of culture and sport in the transatlantic relationship. Speakers included Anna Ascani, Vice President of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, as well as Italian and American representatives from the business and finance sectors, research and innovation, and media. Member of Parliament Christian Diego Di Sanzo also attended. Special attention was given to the relationship between Italy, Europe, and the United States, as well as NATO, with contributions from former US Ambassadors to Italy.

Concluding the sessions were President of Consiusa Domenico Siniscalco and Chairman of the US section Luca Montebugnoli.

In her opening remarks, Ambassador Zappia highlighted Consiusa as a forum for reflecting on the central role that our two countries play together in the current international scenario, particularly in light of the G7 summit in Italy and the NATO summit in the USA, to advance the international agenda for promoting an order based on shared values.

Minister Bernini emphasized the centrality of research and innovation in shaping geopolitical and economic scenarios for future generations, stressing how “science plays a dual role, contributing to consolidating the democratic foundations of our societies while providing tools to tackle the challenges of our time.” He also noted the opportunity to intensify international scientific collaboration, starting with our closest partners. The Minister highlighted the intensity of Italy-USA cooperation, underscored by thousands of agreements between universities in Italy and the United States, the presence of 15,000 Italian researchers and scientists in the USA, and strengthened by the recent mission to the USA during which collaboration agreements were signed with leading American scientific institutions, from the National Science Foundation to the Department of Energy. Minister Bernini also highlighted significant investments underway in Italy to strengthen the research ecosystem thanks to the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR), and Italy’s commitment as G7 President on issues related to research infrastructures and emerging technologies, including Italy’s bid to host the Einstein Telescope in Sardinia.

The Council for Relations between Italy and the United States (Consiusa) is an association founded in 1983 at the initiative of Gianni Agnelli and David Rockefeller to promote bilateral relations through dialogue and exchange between industry, economy, and finance executives, managers, professionals, scientists, communication and media experts, and scholars from Italy and the United States. Honorary President Marco Tronchetti Provera, CEO and Executive Vice President of Pirelli & C., currently presides over it. Domenico Siniscalco, Managing Director and Vice President of Morgan Stanley, is the current President. Gianni Riotta, Visiting Professor at Princeton University, is the Executive Vice President.