Our 2013 Annual Dinner “CELEBRATING THE IRISH IN NEWPORT” was held on Friday, October 18th, from 7:00pm until 10:00pm at the Vasco de Gama Hall on Fenner Ave., Newport.

The committee worked diligently on the Annual Dinner ensuring invitations were sent to all CIV members and several other civic organizations including the RI Ancient Order of Hibernians and the Newport Museum of Irish History and the Sons of Italy. Limited seating ensured a packed house of diners and members who feasted on a choice of authentic Irish Fare of Slow Roasted Salmon, Slow Roasted Beef or Slow Roasted Vegetables prepared by Chef Julianne Viau of the IOH, the choice of a glass of red or white wine or iced tea. Dinner was preceded by the most delicious appetizers of smoked salmon and Irish sausage, generously donated by Finbarr Murray of the Fastnet Irish Pub. The committee worked with several other Irish and local restaurants to secure additional appetizers and desserts such as O’Brein’s Pub and McGrath Clambakes. Tables were creatively decorated by Set the Stage with Flowers. Thank you to our Event Sponsors.

The food was thoroughly enjoyed as the evening’s program commenced and Father Bernard M. O'Reilly from Saint Patrick's Church in Harrisville had said grace in Gaelic.


CIV Members Sharon Coleman, Tom Feeney and President Gail Minoff-Keck emceed the evening’s program.  RI Representative Peter Martin joined our lineup of speakers and talked of his role in the pardon of John Gordon, an Irish immigrant at the turn of the nineteenth century. wrongfully convicted of murder and executed in Cranston. Guest Speaker, author Ken Dooley discussed his play “The Murder of John Gordon”, which was instrumental in bringing this injustice into the light and the exoneration. We were further treated to a reading of a pivotal  excerpt from the play by several actors who had performed in the original production.

A hilarious Irish 1-act play enacted by actor Mike Healy entitled “First Confession” had the audience roaring with laughter.  

 A very successful Silent Auction run by President Gail Minoff-Keck, husband Randy Keck and Linda Chandler had members Peggy Phelan and Judy Terry lining up a wonderful range of donations from Island businesses and CIV members. Tourism Ireland provided posters and a wonderful donation to the Silent Auction. Funds raised are used for the mission of NCIV and our  Academic Award presented annually to a Senior attending school on the Island and pursuing a career in international affairs.

The busy program also included a few words from Mayor Harry Winthrop, who introduced his Sister City Clubs initiative to maintain and enhance Newport’s special relationships with her Sister Cities in 7 countries with socio-economic ties to Newport. An award was received by President Rick O’Neill of the Irish Sister City Club for Kinsale, honoring that City. President O’Neill, also lent some Irish artifacts from his personal collection which were on display; including the beautiful Celtic Cross banner which adorned the podium. Vince Arnold, long time member of NCIV, who has since passed away, was awarded with an engraved silver platter by NCIV for his untiring efforts for the recognition of the Irish in Newport and an indefatigable  volunteer, especially in the establishing of the Museum of Newport Irish History. Vice President of NMOIH, Mike Slein, spoke eloquently of the Museum, the Irish Cemetery on Barney St, and Vince Arnold, whose daughters received the Award on his behalf.

Newport Council for International Visitors introduced their 2013 ACADEMIC AWARD WINNER, Alycia Karlovich, who was on hand to say a few words.

The business part of the evening was conducted quickly and efficiently with the Election of the new Officers for 2013 to 2014.


A magnificent and culturally enriching evening for all who attended! Thank you President Gail Minoff Keck and your Committee.

 A special thanks to the following businesses for donations and assistance:

 5th Ward Liquor; 15 Point Rd. Restaurant; 99 Restaurant;  Allen’s Wine and Spirits; Becky’s BBQ; Celtica; Fastnet Irish Pub; French Confection; Greenvale Winery;  Homewood Suites; IHOP Restaurant; Ireland Calls, The Island Garden Shop, La Forge on Bellevue; Pier Restaurant; Pour Judgement; Rheas Restaurant; Sigs Deli; Sullivan Tire; Vanderbilt Spa


Much gratitude to NCIV Members, Committee People and Friends who put in so much hard work or contributed:  Gail Minoff-Keck, PRES; Sharon Coleman VP; Angela Vars; Anne Huot; Ann Joslin; BJ Owen; Daniel Lynch; Jean Peterson; Linda Chandler;  Merrilee Zellner; Nina Minoff; Paul Caranci; Peggy Phelan; Randy Keck; Rick O’Neill; Tom Feeney; Judy Terry; Walt Wasowski.



The Council’s Annual Meeting and Dinner was held at the Vasco de Gama Hall, Newport, RI, on October 13, 2012.  Approximately 105 CIV members and guests joined together in celebrating Newport’s Portuguese Sister City, Ponta Delgada on the Island of San Miguel, Azores. Also recognized was the Azorean community who came to the United States as a result of the devastating volcano on the Island of Faial between September 27, 1957, and October 24, 1958, and has made Rhode Island and immediate area their home

After the business meeting at which several New Board members were elected, a sit-down dinner featured delicious regional fare from the Azores and traditional Fado. Mayor Harry Winthrop declared October 13, 2012, Ponta Delgada Day, and announced his initiative to establish Sister City Clubs to mentor the relationships established between Newport and its five Sister Cities to enhance cultural, educational and economic ties.

Other speakers included Sen. Paiva-Weed; Portuguese Vice-Consul in RI, Leonel Texieira, and John Lima, a recognized historian on Portuguese and Azorean life.  Virginia Davis, a Bristol, RI teacher and historian of the Portuguese culture and language in Rhode Island, gave a fascinating presentation about the Capelinhos

Accompanying the dinner was an exciting silent auction with many great prizes. The funds raised will be used to support CIV programming.

At the end of the evening, CIV also raffled off round trip tickets from Boston to Ponta Delgada for two (2) plus six (6) nights hotel and breakfast. The lucky winner of this trip is a member of the Staff of Defense Institute for International Legal Studies, whose students CIV members have sponsored. Nuno Puim, Director of SATA Airlines, was introduced by President Gail Minhoff-Keck .



Click here to view our Press Release on the 2011 Annual Dinner Meeting.


Tuesday, June 29, 2010
6:00PM International Tennis Hall of Fame, Newport, RI 02840

At it's Annual Summer Members' Reception, 2010, CIV and the City of Newport honored jazz impresario and Festival producer George Wein, who co-founded the Newport Jazz Festival in 1954 and founded the Newport Folk Festival in 1959. The Reception was held at the International Tennis Hall of Fame which was the venue in the early years for the Festival. It was open to the public and members. All enjoyed the fine music of the Dick Lupino Trio and the excellent food provided by Members and donations from the Bliss Market, Canfield House Restaurant and Pub, O'Brein's Pub, Sambar and Sardella's Italian Restaurant.

Mr. Tom Feeney, President of CIV presented Mr. Wein a Recognition of Excellence Award as Humanitarian as well as for his significant contributions to spreading goodwill and cultural enrichment internationally through the medium of American "roots" music. Noted also were the many famous international musicians and singers he has brought to our City by The Sea to perform at the Festivals.  Mayor Jeanne Marie Napolitano read a Proclamation from the City of Newport, proclaiming August 7th, 2010 as George Wein Day in Newport, RI. She then presented him a singular honor, the Key to the City.


Mr. Wein was held up in a major traffic tie-up on I-95 outside New York City for several hours and was therefore unable to make the reception. However, during the ceremonies he participated over the phone while a microphone broadcast the call to the delight of those gathered to honor him. Mr. Tim Tobin, longtime Operations Manager for the Folk and Jazz Festivals, who was present at the ceremonies, accepted the awards on Mr. Wein's behalf.

He later commented that this year the festival is allied with the 42nd International Jazz Festival in Barcelona, Spain.  At a press conference in Barcelona in May, he told the press about the CareFusion Jazz Festival in Newport and talked about how through music, people from different countries and backgrounds can find common ground.  In music this is the equivalent to the mission of the Council for International Visitors.

Patrick Fogerty, a Middletown graduating High School Senior perusing studies in International Affairs, is the recipient of CIV's first annual Academic Award and he was recognized for his superior academic achievements at this event.

Mr Wein has since given CIV a generous gift in lieu of his presence at the Reception. Thank you Mr. Wein.


Monday 26, October 2009
6:00PM Young Building, Salve Regina University, Newport, RI 02840

Saturday 24th, October was United Nations Day and in celebration of one of the UN's missions, Education, CIV chose to honor at their Annual Dinner, the excellent work performed by Salve Regina University in their International Studies programs and the lifelong work of the late Sen. Claiborne Pell. At the dinner meeting, which was held on Monday 26, October, at the Young Building, home of the Pell Center, four new Directors were elected to replace John Bagwill, Barbara Fontaine, Anne Huot, who is also the outgoing President and Paul Marshall, whose terms had expired. Appointed were Anthony Cercena, Armando Heredia, Cynthia Martin, and Jolene Polidoro.

The Keynote Guest Speaker was Dr. Dean de la Motte, Vice-President of Academics Affairs at SRU. 

Receiving a Certificate of Achievement was the International Programs Department at SRU which includes the Extensive Study Abroad Program; International Studies Major and Graduate International Relations Degree under the directorship of Dr. George Anton. Cited for Meritorious Service in her Department was Dr. Camille Allen, Assistant Director of International Programs, for her dedication to student programming. Sister Jane Gerety, President of SRU, accepted the Award on behalf of SRU. Capt. Rob Winneg, Director of the Naval Staff College read a joint letter from the Naval Command and Staff Colleges honoring SRU.

Also honored was Sen. Pell and the mission of the Pell Center, which was a result of his vision and life’s work dedicated to education and international dialogue. An Act of Congress on September 27, 1996 established the Pell Center at SRU. The Certificate of Achievement was presented by Capt Ray Perry, Commander of the SENE Coast Guard Sector and received in memory by, Mrs. Nuala Pell. Dr. Peter Liotta, Director of the Pell Center spoke on the Pell Center. The Pell Library was open for viewing during the cocktail reception. 


Among the seventy or so members and guests were Salve faculty, Newport Mayor Jeanne Marie Napolitano, Capt Neil Parrott and Sen. June Gibbs as well as students and their families from the Naval Staff College.


Tuesday 18, August 2009
6:00PM Elks Lodge, Newport, RI 02840

The Newport International Film Festival and the Jane Pickens Theatre and Events Center were honored at a cocktail reception held at the Elks Lodge, Newport, RI. Fifty or more members, guests and honorees enjoyed balmy weather on the wraparound porch overlooking Bellevue Ave. Members brought appetizers to share.

Jennifer Maizel, Executive Director of the Newport International Film Festival and Kathleen Staab, President of the Jane Pickens Theater and Events Center were recipients of Certificates of Achievement. Receiving Certificates of Appreciation for their volunteer efforts with NIFF were Bryan Belmore, Joe Ruggeri and Ken Scigulinsky, who is also a CIV Board Member, and his wife Tia. Mayor Jeanne Marie Napolitano helped present the Awards.

As guest speaker, Jennifer spoke about NIFF's philosopy in selecting the films, short films and other subject matter from around the world shown at the Festival held in June. Also included in the programing are special presentations designed for children to educate as well as entertain. Their informative website is   Kathleen Staab, Jane Pickens President, has been a strong supporter of NIFF. Jane Pickens Theater has a varied schedule of independent and "art" films and fascinating programs from every corner of the globe. Significant films included the first showing of Slumdog Millionaire locally and events have included a live feed to first night at La Scala Opera in Milan. Their website is

A raffle was held which raised funds for CIV's new Academic Award. Membership Chair George Wardwell also made a donation to the Fund. Among the guests were Capt.Neil Parrott, the new Commanding Officer at SWOS and several of his newly arrived International Officers who were warmly welcomed as were several members of the Providence World Affairs Council. Also joining in the festivities were several Command and Staff College students and their families.


Click here for photos

Wednesday 28, January 2009
7:00PM Elks Lodge, Newport, RI 02840

The Guest Speaker was Rear Admiral James Philip Wisecup, the new President of the Naval War College. His illustrated presentation on the History of the War College drew an enthusiastic response from the crowd. The Council for International Visitors welcomes R.Adm. Wisecup and wishes him well on his tour of duty here and looks forward to working closely with him in their continuing sponsorships of the international students there.

At a recent reception Adm Wisecup, the new President of the Naval War College, delivered a well-received illustrated presentation on the history of the Naval War College to members of the Council for International Visitors at their Great Decisions Kick Off Reception at the Elks Lodge on Bellevue Ave.
The annual event marks the beginning of the Council's yearly eight week series of discussions on topical issues of global importance. The series is held every Wednesday at 7:00PM at the Newport Public Library and is free and open to the public. The topics and speakers for 2009 include Race For The Arctic; Global Food Crisis; Afghanistan & Pakistan; Energy & The Global Economy; Cuba: On The Verge; Egypt: Key Ally In The Middle East; The USA & Rising World Powers; Human Rights In A New Era: War For Peace. Speakers include Cdr. Sandra K. Selman. USCG, NWC; DR. Kathleen Gorman, URI; Col. Theodore Gatchel, USMC (Ret.); Col. Gregory D. Reilly, US Army, NWC, Mr. John Dowd, Fidelity Research & Mortgage Co.; Dr. Alberto Coll, DePaul University, Dept of Law and Col. Linda S. Murnane, USAF, Ret., NWC.

Click here for photos

January 2008