March 31, 2016
During a whirlwind visit to Italy’s Southern Calabria region, Consul General Colombia Barrosse led a mixed Consulate and Embassy team in meetings across the southern region calling on educators, leaders of government, business and industry.
During a lively discussion on the U.S. Presidential Elections at the University of Calabria (UniCal) in Rende, Consul Barrosse talked about the myths and realities regarding the American vote. While at the university, which was the first American-style campus in Italy, the Consul General also met with President of Calabria Oliviero, along with Rector Crisci. The team also met with Fulbright alumni faculty in the Humanities and Engineering.
In her meetings with the region’s political leadership, she discussed a variety of issues, including migration, counter-terrorism efforts, organized crime, the importance of reversing the brain drain currently experienced by Calabria, and expanding commercial ties between the U.S. and Italy in several sectors. In Pizzo Calabro, Filippo “Pippo” Callipo, one of Southern Italy’s most successful businessmen, explained during a visit to his tuna factory how he refused to pay protection money to the mob, despite threats to himself and his business. Callipo’s son Giacinto showed the group around the eco-friendly factory, he mentioned how they are trying to increase exports to the United States. Another interesting stop-over was the visit to the port of Gioia Tauro, Italy’s largest container port. Deputy Commissioner Minciullo briefed the group on the port’s major achievements and plans for the future, mentioning in particular the transshipment of Syrian chemical weapons to a U.S. ship for destruction in 2014, and noting the process was completed without incident.