Ambassador Varricchio studied Political Science at the University of Padua, graduating Summa con Laude in 1985. After a brief stint in the private sector, he entered civil service in 1986 and started a brilliant career which has led him to postings around the world, to include in Budapest, Belgrade, Brussels and Washington, where he became the Ambassador of Italy in March 2016. Previous positions have also seen him as Diplomatic Advisor of the Prime Minister and personal Sherpa at the G7/G20 summits (2013 to 2016), as well as Diplomatic Advisor to the President of the European Commission – Personal Representative (Sherpa) at the G7/G8 Summits of Okinawa, Genoa and Kananaskis. Intellectual curiosity, a firm belief in the need for a multidisciplinary approach, and respect for diversity have distinguished him since his student days. These, combined with his passion for diplomacy, and love of a challenge, have led him to serve his country in some of the most significant moments in recent history, starting with the collapse of the Soviet Union and on to being the Advisor of the youngest Prime Minister Italy to date.
It has been a few months since the beginning of my mission to the Embassy of Italy to the United States, and I am very pleased to extend my heartfelt greetings to my compatriots, to the elected representatives in the United States, to the community of Italian origin, to those who recognize themselves – ideally and culturally – in Italy, and to all the citizens of this great Country that hosts us. Thanks to you the historical relationship between our people is livelier today than ever. The strong friendship and alliance between Italy and the United States is built on a profound commonality of values. Our shared commitment is to create a future of prosperity and peace, where respect for human rights and fundamental liberties is guaranteed. To achieve this goal we cooperate closely in the area of international peace and security, for the protection of human rights, to promote gender equality and economic growth; and we support opening markets, protecting the environment, and all the activities of the United Nations. We are actively engaged alongside the United States in major world crisis: in Afghanistan, where an Italian military contingent participates in operations in a vast part of the country; and in the anti-ISIL coalition, where Italy immediately took on the important duties of training local military forces and protecting the Mosul dam. The relationship between our countries, in any sectors, is built on ongoing dialogue at a bilateral level and also within all international fora we are members of to name a few: the Atlantic Alliance and the G7, which Italy chairs in 2017. Economic and commercial relations are key elements of a strong partnership between Italy and the United States. Our industries advance through trade in goods and services; through shared culture, technology, and innovation; and mutual investments. The excellent performance of Italian exports to the United States represents undeniable evidence of the great appreciation that America has always shown for products that are Made in Italy. Every day the historical alliance between our countries is renewed and enriched with new developments in the fields of culture, innovation, and in the most technologically advanced sectors of the economy. An example of the cutting edge technology developed in Italy is the ongoing contribution to space missions. The Italian language is an extraordinary tool to promote our unrivalled cultural heritage and describe any new developments as the country takes on the challenges of the future. Promotion of the Italian language in the United States is one of the top priorities of the Embassy and of our Consular network that have the task to satisfy a growing demand from our compatriots, from U.S. citizens, and from foreign nationals. On this topic, let me assure you that we devote great attention and resources thanks to the engagement of the National Observatory on Italian Language at the Embassy and of local Observatories at our Consulates – to expanding the Advanced Placement Program (AP) in Italian language; to negotiating agreements with U.S. educational authorities and offer classes of Italian language as part of integrated courses of studies in High Schools and Elementary Schools; to schedule training and refresher courses for teachers. In the United States, Italian and Italian-American communities have always been a precious resource: they played a significant role in the development of the relationship between our countries, and they contributed to the prosperity of the United States. Over 250,000 citizens are accounted for in the registrar of Italian citizens living abroad (AIRE). In addition to the so-called “first generation Italians”, who arrived in the United States in various “waves” of migrations throughout last century, the most recent flows of immigrants consist of young, highly qualified individuals, with undergraduate and graduate degrees. They include entrepreneurs who invest in the United States; economists at international financial institutions (such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the Inter-American Development Bank), and at the Federal Reserve; scientists, professors, and researchers at numerous universities, think tanks, and prestigious centers such as NIH and NASA. Italy is a country with an ancient cultural identity: that endures even in this modern country that has welcomed us. Our culture defines who we are and provides us with great opportunities. Our Cultural Office and Italian Institutes of Culture play an important role in taking advantage of these opportunities. Music, art, fashion are showcases of the creative essence of Italy in the world. In 2016 it is Italy’s turn to serve as President of EUNIC (European Union National Institutes of Culture). The theme of our presidency is protecting the world cultural heritage, also through technological innovation – a truly cutting edge Italy. For me it is a great honor to serve my country in the United States. Together with my colleagues and the Consular network I will not spare any effort to contribute to further strengthening of our historical ties. You will definitely make my mission easier if you will join me and support me along the way.