UN PR Zappia breaks another glass ceiling as next Italian Ambassador to US

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NEW YORK, MARCH 11 – From NATO to the UN Headquarters in New York, and now on to Washington: Mariangela Zappia, who in 2018 broke a glass ceiling as the first Italian woman Permanent Representative to the UN, has been appointed to the top job of Italy’s Ambassador to the United States.

Zappia will take the place of Armando Varricchio, who will be moving to Berlin. The EU Representation in Brussels, Maurizio Massari, will be replaced by the former diplomatic advisor of Giuseppe Conte, Piero Benassi. Massari will go to the UN Headquarters in New York, after a mandatory stop in Rome, as he has held the assignments abroad for over eight years. Minister plenipotentiary Luigi Benedetti will be headed to Tokyo.

Zappia’s appointment was hailed by the Associazione Donne Italiane Diplomatiche (Association of Italian Diplomatic Women): “54 years after the first woman entered a diplomatic career, Mariangela Zappia was appointed today as the first Italian Ambassador to Washington. An example for all, and a great step towards gender equality in Italy”.

A former diplomatic advisor to Prime Ministers Matteo Renzi and Paolo Gentiloni, Zappia was in 2014 the first Italian woman ambassador to NATO before becoming, four years later, the first Italian Permanent Representative to the United Nations. Born in Mantua, she is a Political Science graduate of the University in Florence and in 1983 entered the Italian foreign service. From 2011 to September 2014 she was Ambassador of the European Union (EEAS, European External Action Service) to the United Nations in Geneva. Earlier in her career she was first Counsellor at the Permanent Representation to the UN in New York, while from 1997 to 2000 she was seconded to the NATO Information Task Force during the Kosovo conflict. She was also Assistant Consul in New York (1990-1993) and Commercial Secretary in Dakar (1986-1990), while in Rome led the office of Development Cooperation for the Mediterranean, the Middle East and the Balkans and, previously, the office of the Press Service that coordinates relations with the Italian media. (@OnuItalia)