The Italy-America Society, a predecessor of the AIS, was established in 1918: “to create and maintain between the United States and Italy an international friendship based upon mutual understanding of their national ideals and aspiration and of the contributions of each to progress in science, art, and literature, and upon cooperative efforts to develop international trade.” Incorporated in 1935, the Italy-America Society sponsored such events as luncheons, receptions, and cultural occasions featuring prominent Italian government and business persons. Members included individuals, corporations, and organizations.
With Italy’s entry in World War II, the Society’s board of directors voted to cease activity, “on account of the participation of Italy in the war and the existing state of international relations.” Read the February 10, 1941, resolution.
The inactive organization was formally dissolved in 1948, despite the opposition of such former members as Luigi Criscuolo and the Italian government. The U.S. State Department strongly recommended that the old organization be reinstituted or a new organization with similar aims be established.
A new organization, the AIS, was ultimately established in 1949 “to promote, by education, cultural, and lawful means, international friendship between the republic of Italy and the United States of America, based upon mutual understanding of their respective contributions to progress in science, art, music, literature, law, and government.” The organization is generally social in nature, sponsoring a variety of events that relate to Italian culture in some way. At this writing, the organization bases its operations from offices in New York City.