“The current tragic situation in Ukraine makes this year’s International Women’s Day even more meaningful” said Italian Ambassador to the U.S. Mariangela Zappia at the March 8 premiere of the documentary film One of Us – East Coast, with special guest the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Hon. Nancy Pelosi. “We honor this important date with our hearts and minds to the ongoing, horrifying attack on Ukraine; to the courage of Ukrainian people who fight for freedom, and particularly to Ukrainian women. Our hope today is to inspire the young generations of future leaders and to honor and celebrate the key role of women in diplomacy, business, and every sector of life,” the Ambassador told the audience, including Ukraine’s Ambassador to the U.S. Oksana Markarova and several women ambassadors, high-level officials, young professionals, faculty members, and students of all ages.

“It was a privilege to join Ambassador Mariangela Zappia at the Italian Embassy today to mark International Women’s Day and to celebrate Italian women who have broken barriers in culture, medicine, technology and diplomacy,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. “Women today stand on the shoulders of giants who marched and mobilized across the globe for dignity, equality and opportunity for themselves and for their daughters. On behalf of Congress and the Country, we also salute today the courage and resilience of the people of Ukraine, especially the women defending their democracy and protecting their families. May this International Women’s Day serve as inspiration to the next generation of women leaders around the world, who carry on the fight for gender justice and full equality.”

The docu-film, produced by the Embassy of Italy and the Italian Cultural Institute in Washington DC, in collaboration with Frequency Production, marks this year’s International Women’s Day and features the stories of five Italian women – including Ambassador Zappia’s – who pursued a career in the United States and distinguished themselves for (extra)ordinary achievements in various fields, from diplomacy, to science arts, business. They are stories of courage, of unity, strength, mentorship, and empowerment.

The March 8 premiere of the documentary, directed by Italian film-maker, producer and social entrepreneur Chiara Tilesi, was dedicated to Ukraine and included a high-level networking and mentoring event to promote women’s leadership in foreign policy and in other related fields. Among the audience, both mentors and mentees from think tanks, universities, and schools. A group of young leaders and women leaders, including their mentees, was also selected in partnership with Globally’s Young Professionals in Foreign Policy (YPFP) and Women in Foreign Policy Group (WFPG).

The initiative is part of the “Gender Champion campaign” promoted by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. The goal is to break down gender barriers and support gender equality.

The women featured in the documentary are: Cecilia Alemani, artistic director of the 59th Venice Biennale; Natalia Bergamaschi, strategic partner lead at Google; Cristina Cassetti, Branch Chief of the Virology Branch Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health (NIH); Isabella Rossellini, Italian American actress, author, philanthropist, and model; Mariangela Zappia, Ambassador of Italy to the United States.

The successful One of Us series kicked off in 2021 in Los Angeles with a first season dedicated to talented Italian women in the West Coast. Starting from March 10, One of Us – Los Angeles Season 2 will also be released.