Media Note
Bureau of Public Affairs
Washington, DC
May 27, 2009

The U.S. Department of State and the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) announce the formation of a public-private partnership to respond to the educational needs of the region of Abruzzo, Italy, specifically the University of L’Aquila, in the aftermath of the Abruzzo earthquake. The April 6, 2009 earthquake that caused a tragic loss of life and massive destruction of buildings also severely damaged L’Aquila University, which had to close several of its buildings, including the main University building. The students are key to the future of the region, and the University is an economic lifeblood of the city of L’Aquila. It is therefore vital to help this sector recover in this time of need.

The State Department and NIAF are combining their strengths to provide a generous American response to the people of Abruzzo. Through NIAF’s fundraising efforts, the partnership will strive to help the students and other human resource needs of L’Aquila University. Our collective aim is to help return the University quickly to the important academic, social, and economic role that it played for the entire region before the earthquake. The physical infrastructure of the University will be considered for a limited contribution towards construction of new facilities and/or a restoration project of a section of the University having particular historic, cultural, or artistic significance. The Partnership also will provide a package of NIAF-funded scholarships and strategic use of existing State Department exchanges, and will help facilitate appropriate assistance with civic programs.

More information about this effort is available at, by phone at 202-387-0600, or email

PRN: 2009/509