NEW YORK, MAY 18 – The 2017 edition of the United Nations International Bazaar (UNIB) will take place at the UN Visitors Plaza on May 25 starting at 10:30. The initiative, once again promoted by the families of UN- accredited diplomats, aims to raise funds for a number of worldwide charities by selling food, high-end items, handicrafts, works of art and lottery tickets for donated prizes. Maria Grazia Gragnano-Lambertini, Chairwoman of the Planning Committee, who organized the Bazaar and coordinated Italian contributions within it, told OnuItalia that “This year, 50% of the proceeds will go to Syrian refugees.”
Originally from Naples, with two grown children, and an administrative director at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Maria Grazia Gragnano-Lambertini has been following her husband, Ambassador Inigo Lambertini, around the world to the many posts covered during his career: Kinshasa, Brasilia, Bruxelles, Washington, and Paris. She is now in New York where her husband is the Deputy Permanent Representative of Italy to the UN.
Gragnano-Lambertini had already organized Italian participation in the 2015 and 2016 editions of the Bazaar. But this year, her role has been much more demanding. In fact,
whereas in previous years the overall coordination of the event was traditionally assigned to the spouse of the UN Secretary General, and thus carried out by Ban Soon-taek (wife of former Secretary General Ban Ki-moon), this year Catarina Marquez de Almeida Vaz Pinto, Antonio Guterres’ spouse, who is also responsible for cultural events at the city-council of Lisbon, manifested that she would not be able to take on the commitment for logistical reasons, limiting herself to bestowing her High Patronage to the event.
Bottom line: the ball fell right into the Ambassador’s wife. Undaunted, Mrs. Gragnano drew on her creative spirit, enlisting the help of dozens of diplomatic missions, and that of the UN Women’s Guild – an organization that assists distressed women and children worldwide, with small-scale but effective projects – and succeeded in organizing the Bazaar in a matter of weeks.
“People were immediately enthusiastic and eager to participate.” Maria Grazia Gragnano-Lambertini remarked. Not only was she proud of the efforts made by many developing countries, than made even the simplest of donations – like a teacup or cookies – in order to participate, but also of the massive show of generosity made by Italian businesses, like Valentino, Cucinelli, Ferrero and Ferragamo (see complete list below), which outdid one another to provide the finest of what the “Made in Italy” team had to offer.
The Bazaar is a win-win proposition; valuables will be sold at discounted prices and winners of the lottery, which will be drawn on the 25th, have a good chance of winning one of the many airplane tickets that were donated as prizes.
Sure enough, even charity events can give rise to diplomatic incidents, logistical dilemmas, and misunderstandings among countries. For example, why does the U.S. insist on not lifting a finger? How can affluent nations be persuaded to open their wallets? And, on a smaller scale, what to do with the left-over food, if any, on the evening of May 25th? For now, there is an answer to this last question. Left-over food from the Italian stands will be distributed to the homeless of New York by the Community of Sant’Egidio.
Symbolic undertones aside, it is everyone’s hope that the 2017 edition of the Bazaar succeed in strengthening aid to the Syrian refugees by making a tangible contribution.
BAZAAR 2017, ITALIAN SPONSORS
Food, Beverages, and RestaurantsARUMICELI LLCBAULIBORBONE CAFFE’COLAVITACOLAVOLPEDE CECCOEATALYFERREROGAROFALOMEDITERRANEO RISTORANTEMELOTTI RISOTTERIAPICCOLO CAFFE’POMì
RIBALTA PIZZERIAROERO ARNEIS LIMONCELLOSAN MATTEO PIZZERIASANT AMBROEUS HOSPITALITY GROUP
THE LEOPARD AT DES ARTISTESURBANIVIAS ( DISTRIBUTORE VINI )ZONINFashion and OthersBALDASSARRE AGNELLI PENTOLEBROOKS BROTHERSBRUNELLO CUCINELLI
EUROPA EDITIONSFENDIFERRARIFERRAGAMOFLOSFRETTEGENNARO REGINA
PARRUCCHIERE CRISTIAN MAZZAPIQUADROPORTOLANO
PUCCISANTA MARIA NOVELLA PROFUMISOLIMENE CERAMICHESPALLANZANI GIOIELLISTROILI OROTOD’SVALENTINOWOOLRICH
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