A promise we renew: AVSI celebrates its 50th anniversary at the Italian Embassy in Washington D.C.

AVSI-USA hosted a festive evening cocktail at the Embassy of Italy in Washington D.C. to celebrate half a century of preserving and upholding the dignity of local communities in 39 countries worldwide.

Jackie Aldrette (AVSI-USA), Joyce Malombe (Wellspring Fund), Lucia Castelli (AVSI), Beverly Nyberg (Former State Dept.), Thais Braga (AVSI Brazil)

Celebration in Washington D.C.

This year, AVSI celebrates its 50th anniversary by bringing together staff, donors, longtime supporters, and beneficiaries in various events and activities around the world.

On November 10th, 2022, representatives from various US government agencies, non-governmental organizations, foundations, private corporations, UN agencies, and long-time AVSI friends and supporters joined AVSI-USA at the Italian Embassy in Washington to celebrate the path taken and look forward to the next 50 years and beyond, and the many ways AVSI’s “promise” can be renewed.  

The event focused on the past, present, and future of AVSI with special attention to what AVSI has accomplished in partnership with the US Government and US-based foundations since 2000. Welcoming greetings by the Ambassador of Italy to the United States, Mariangela Zappia, and opening remarks by the CEO elect of Global Partnership for Education, Laura Frigenti opened the cocktail hour.

The evening was followed by videos, testimonies, awards, and speeches reflecting on AVSI’s work and projecting a vision for the future. Among the speakers: Lucia Castelli AVSI Senior Child Protection Advisor, Joyce Malombe, Program Director at Wellspring Philanthropic Fund, Beverly Nyberg Former US State Dept. Office of Global AIDS, the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

Photo gallery

Photo credit: Jun Ma

Remarks by Mariangela Zappia, Ambassador of Italy to the United States

“International cooperation for sustainable development is a pillar of Italian foreign policy” highlighted the Ambassador of Italy, Mariangela Zappia.

In her speech (featured by the ANSA agency), the Ambassador highlighted AVSI’s long-standing collaboration with the US government. She also celebrated how AVSI has launched several projects in response to refugee crises in South America, Africa, Europe, and the Middle East.

She recognized AVSI’s key contributions to the objectives of the United Nations 2030 Agenda. The Ambassador shared how she values Italy’s commitment to achieving them, most recently witnessed by the active participation of the Prime Minister in the COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh and Rome’s candidacy to host the Universal Expo 2030, centered on sustainable development issues. She also highlighted our shared focus on female empowerment, and gender-based violence; praising AVSI’s full adherence to the UN agenda on women, peace, and security.

Remarks by Jackie Aldrette, Deputy Secretary General of AVSI Foundation

“As we celebrate 50 of this AVSI adventure, and look ahead to the years to come, all of us at AVSI want to renew our promise to all our beneficiaries, the thousands of other children, young people, and adults who have encountered, that we will do what it takes to remain close and committed, even if the form and the face of our accompaniment will change over time. The person at the center… this is our method, and a people for development… our motto, meaning can’t do this alone.”

Evening Speakers and Honorees

Thais Braga, Manager, AVSI Brasil

“This is not only about a job, it’s about providing means to the achievement of a decent livelihood and the importance of work for the dignity of the human person.”

Lucia Castelli, Senior Child Protection Advisor,  AVSI Foundation

“We are there because we have compassion for the people. Com-passion. We are passionate about them, and we have passion for them and with them. And as you get to know the people, really get to know them. You learn to believe that even if they are in need, they are not their need; they are people and have value, always have something to say and tell. They are always the ones creating the development of that country.”

Laura Frigenti

CEO Elect, Global Partnership for Education

Introduced the Ambassador and AVSI’s work.


A Promise of Partnership- Beverly Nyberg

“We shared similar goals, values, compatible strategies, and complimentary strengths. And as I got to know AVSI better, I felt like here is an organization not only had the necessary skills but also the wisdom and integrity that we could trust to do the right thing at the right time in the right way.”

A Promise to the Future of Our Children- Joyce Malombe

“This partnership has been a pleasure and a privilege seeing development the way believe in it myself. Because everyone is valued, everyone matters. Not defining a person by a single episode.”

A Promise to Uplift the Most Vulnerable- Sharon and Michael Mollerus

“We appreciate the stories of aid offered to the person in the context of family and community, addressing basic needs and giving priority to education as a foundation. This work resonates greatly with us, and we are honored to share in these efforts on the behalf of so many.”

Photo Exhibition

At our celebratory event, we exhibited a series of photos to highlight our work around the world.

Press release