(AGI) Rome, Mar. 4 - Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta and29 other leading figures from Romania's world of culture, sportand entertainment have received the "Italian-speaker card", anaward that came at the initiative of Undersecretary for ForeignAffairs Mario Giro. The winners, besides the Romanian leader,include the soprano Mariana Nicolesco, a regular at La Scala inMilan; tennis player Ilie Nastase, who won the U.S. Open andRoland Garros; violinist Alexandru Tomescu (who plays aprecious Stradivarius); footballer George Hagi and Romania'sbest sommelier 2014, Marinela Ardelean. The winners were chosenfor their in-depth knowledge of the Italian language andculture as well as because of their excellence in variousfields of knowledge, including art, gastronomy, politics,opera, classical music, the academic world and sports. TheRomanian press played a leading role in the event. The hope isthat each of these people can act as a force for "culturalattraction" to Italy and serve as a valuable "cultural bridge"between the two nations. All Italian embassies worldwide arebestowing this award. (AGI) . .