Ciao! I’m Araceli.

My friends call me Sally.

Global Citizen

When I walk the streets of Rome, I’m often reminded of how blessed I am to live in a country I now call home—a country often referred to as an open-air museum where ancient ruins, renaissance churches, and architecture from the Etruscans to the Roman Empire are on full display. But there is one place in Rome that reminds me of how far I’ve traveled from the United States—the United Nations (UN). From the moment I walk into the UN, I’m welcomed by a colorful display of flags representing every country in the world. As much as I try to zero in on my own country’s flag, I marvel at every other flag, knowing each one represents an entire nation, language, and history. It represents a way of life, food, culture, tradition, beliefs, and so much more. Some countries are vastly different from my own, while others seem quite familiar, but when I hear and see colleagues come in and out of the building, each flag comes alive. In their faces, I see a reflection of my own unique nature of growing up in a multicultural, bilingual home as a Mexican-American girl in South Texas. I’m reminded of the work we are called to do as UN Civil Servants to achieve food security for all. I look up at the flags in gratitude towards my parents, knowing they prepared me for this day long before I traveled to Rome. And with this, I step out in confidence, knowing there is a place at the table for each one of us to be welcomed and valued as global citizens.

My Background

Araceli (Sally) Cardenas works with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Rome. Her experience as a reporter and producer for two major networks, Telemundo and NBC in San Antonio, Texas, allowed her to accept an opportunity of a lifetime—a one-year stint with Rome Reports (RR), an independent TV news agency that produces news coverage and documentaries on the Vatican for media organizations around the world. She has covered many fascinating stories and met incredible people all around the world from all cultural backgrounds. Today, Cardenas is the founder of Rome Today TV and Tours. She combines her passion for storytelling, food, and the best of Italy through her writings and film, bringing to life those sacred locations relevant to the spiritual journeys of St. Peter and Apostle Paul. She speaks fluent Italian, Spanish, and English.

Raised in a town near the Texas-Mexico border, Cardenas grew up in a bilingual English and Spanish household, which taught her to embrace diversity without limitations. Her passion and calling are to encourage, equip, and empower people from all over the world to discover their value and worth in who they are in Christ, including a Bible study she leads at the UN made up of men and women from all backgrounds and nationalities. She thrives on hearing how each person came to learn the love of Jesus. And when possible, she teaches children their unique value through her latest children’s book, Buddy Moves to Rome, capturing the unlikely friendship between an odd doggy couple (a Boxer and a Chihuahua) and how they learn to rely on each other no matter their shape or size.

Cardenas enjoys traveling, but her greatest comfort comes in those quiet moments walking along the beach, admiring the ocean, and knowing God’s unconditional love for her as His beloved mirrors its depths. Those quiet moments remind her that Jesus Christ is the only One with the power to silence the storm roaring around us and within us with His calming presence. He is the “anchor for our soul” during the trials and storms of life. The anchor has come to represent the firm foundation and security she longed for and chronicles in her memoir, Beyond the Veil.

Based in Rome, Cardenas splits her time between the United States and Europe in the company of her extended Italian Mexican-American family and friends. She firmly believes that “Mille viae ducunt homines per saecula Romam – All Roads Lead to Rome!” She travels freely throughout both countries, knowing everyone has their own story to share…and it all starts in the kitchen where food unites us all regardless of nationality.