In this episode of The Italian American Podcast, we traveled out of the studio for a conversation with John Viola, former President of The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF), just 10 days after he stepped down from the position he held for six years. The conversation was rich with topics of importance to Italian Americans like family, faith, and tradition. John also talked about how he believes that the Italian American community needs to work together to continue to grow and strengthen over time.
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller
- “Being the president of NIAF was a great title to define who I’ve always been and who I think I always will be.” – John Viola
- “We need the brightest lights in the community to lend themselves to what we are doing.” – John Viola
- “Our pursuit is culture and identity, and identity is something that you can define on your own.” –John Viola
- “Our community is not going to continue to grow and evolve in a healthy way if there are segments that feel that they don’t belong.” – John Viola
- “It’s not about the younger generation taking over the older generation, it’s about adding to it so that it stays a community and remains vibrant.” – Dolores Alfieri
- “Our culture is a continuously flowing river and not just sand and stone.” – John Viola
- “Italians are fighting to get back to the life they came from.” – John Viola
- “An organization is only going to remain if its got, heart and soul.” – Anthony Fasano
- “When new ideas are represented to you, you should, at any age be open and receptive to it, if you are working for the right reasons.” – John Viola
- “Passion takes you to places you didn’t even imagine you would go.” – Dolores Alfieri
- “I feel great about our community because our culture is so wonderful and real and has survived.” –John Viola
About our Guest…
John M. Viola
John M. Viola was elected President of the National Italian American Foundation in March of 2013 and served in that role until December 2017.
A graduate of Fordham University with a dual degree in Sociology and Anthropology, Viola has dedicated himself to developing international and domestic service programs inspired by the Jesuit mission to create “men and women for others” and to infuse a sense of social justice into all acts. He is a Knight of the Order of Merit of Savoy and serves as the United States Delegate for the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George, one of the oldest Chivalric Orders in the world. A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., he traces his ancestry to the Vallo di Diano in the province of Salerno, Puglia and Sicily.
The New Neighborhood
The National Italian American Foundation
IAP 48: The hidden history of Southern Italy’s glory – Part Three
Cooking with Nonna
IAP 45: The hidden history of Southern Italy’s glory – Part One
IAP 46: The hidden history of Southern Italy’s glory – Part Two