Editor’s Note: Global Atlanta will introduce Honorary Consul Filiberto Calascibetta during a virtual consular interview with Italian Consul General Cristiano Musillo next Tuesday, February 9th at 11am. Sign up here.
Italy’s new Honorary Consul to the State of Georgia was sworn in this week in Miami and officially took on duties he has been planning to take on for more than a year.
Filiberto Calascibetta leads the Italian practice for the Atlanta office Rödl & Partner, a tax and advisory firm helping European companies invade the southeastern US
Mr. Calascibetta, a self-proclaimed “novice” in diplomacy, spent Thursday in Miami Completion of an orientation to prepare for the operation of an emergency hotline, keeping a register of Italian citizens and processing requests for documents He even returned to Atlanta with a portable fingerprint reader in tow, and was given a passport renewal role that the Honorary Consulate did not previously have.
Mr. Calascibetta was born and educated in Palermo before obtaining a Masters in Taxation in Milan. He came to Atlanta almost 18 years ago and has spent the last 15 years with Rödl. He had no intention of doing a side appearance in diplomacy.
The opportunity first arose in June 2019 when former Honorary Consul Ryan Kurtz, an attorney for Miller & Martin PLLC, expressed interest in the delivery of the torch. The men often worked together on their “common niche”: Italian investment projects; Mr. Calascibetta seemed a natural fit.
The prestige and visibility of his practice were not to be neglected, but an important motivating factor was the momentum that was beginning to grow within the Italian business community in Georgia and which was largely driven by Consul General Cristiano Musillo in Miami.
“The momentum, timing and meeting with Cristiano in mid-2019 were really a very good meeting,” Calascibetta said on a phone call from Miami Airport.
Over the years he had watched the Italian Trade Commission in Atlanta – just down the hall from Rödl’s downtown office – shrink and finally close. Despite a strong presence in the manufacturing sector, Italy’s visibility in Georgia pale in comparison to other European countries, even those with much less secondary economies and fewer cultural connections.
Mr. Musillo, the Consul General, wanted to change that, and he turned to Mr. Calascibetta while urging the Italy-America Southeast Chamber of Commerce in Miami to open a chapter in Georgia.
“There are so many parts of this picture,” Calascibetta told Global Atlanta.
While business is his forte – his practice focuses on manufacturing, logistics, luxury goods, retail and other sectors – the new Honorary Consul also looks forward to serving the Italian expatriate community by leveraging hard-earned empathy from his own travel an immigrant.
“This is my second life, if you will,” he said of the new challenge.
He also hopes to improve education and health relations with Georgia as the world looks to recover from a pandemic. Italy is one of the state’s top travel destinations abroad. The University of Georgia and Kennesaw State University have campuses in Cortona and Montepulciano, respectively.
Mr. Calascibetta was present last week at the signing of an agreement between the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce and the Georgia Chapter of the Italy-America Chamber, a fitting confluence of his various roles.
Even before the position of Honorary Consul became possible, he traveled with the Chamber on a trade mission to Italy in 2017 to deepen relationships with existing and potential Italian investors in Gwinnett, the epicenter for Italian investment in the state.