Stelios fundraiser selfie challenge

Marco Lambertini, Director General, WWF, HSH Prince Albert II, Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, Founder Stelios Philanthropic Foundation
Marco Lambertini, Director General, WWF, HSH Prince Albert II, Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, Founder Stelios Philanthropic Foundation

Prince Albert attended the 4th annual Stelios Philanthropic Foundation cocktail party and charity auction in benefit of the Pelagos Sanctuary.

Thursday night Sir Stelios’ immense port-view terrace on avenue de la Quarantaine was more squeezed than the Monaco-Nice train during a strike as 500 guests RSVPed, many who are repeat attendees. HSH Prince Albert II, HE Bernard Fautrier, CEO & Vice-President of the Prince Albert II Foundation and Marco Lambertini, Director General, WWF were also present.

The highly spirited fundraiser, one of the season’s not-to-be missed events judging by the dense and decked out crowd, was in support of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and the WWF to safeguard the Pelagos Sanctuary, ensuring efficient management of the Mediterranean’s “first transboundary area” and conserving its marine biodiversity.

Sir Stelios told Monaco Life early on in the evening: “WWF is a charity that I’ve worked with for more than twenty years. I started from the shipping business and then with creating the airline, I thought we should do something to give something back to the environment.” And when asked how does he choose who to invite? “It’s a good guest list but people are coming to make a difference.”

In his opening remarks, the easyJet founder sent out a challenge. “This is the ultimate selfie heaven,” he said to a cheering audience. “The person that posts the most selfies tonight on our Facebook group will win a bottle of champagne from me.”

Prince Albert thanked Sir Stelios for hosting the event and Marco Lambertini for his extremely valuable partnership.  “This evening is quite special for me, as my foundation is celebrating a ten year milestone,” the sovereign commented. “One of our main regions of focus is the Mediterranean and Pelagos is a sanctuary very dear to my heart because my father helped the establishment at Pelagos many years ago.

Adding that the sanctuary needs a new impetus, he added, “The original agreement between France, Italy and Monaco and its management is currently under reassessment and we hope to more proactive in that.”

The charity event included a silent auction, curated by Space SBH around a ‘Small is Beautiful’ theme, of 32 works of art and jewellery. All donations made by guests, from the €50 drinks at the Honesty Bar to “Adopt a Dolphin” for €1000, were doubled by the Stelios Philanthropic Foundation. The event raised €192,000, €2,000 more than last year.

The Pelgagos Sanctuary covers over 87,500sqm of the sea – 4% of the entire basin, making it the Med’s most extensive area protecting marine mammals – between southeastern France, Monaco, north-western Italy and northern Sardinia, and encompassing Corsica and the Tuscan Archipelago, and is home to the fin whale, the sperm whale and dolphins.

Article first published July 16, 2016.

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