[caption id="attachment_29272" align="alignnone" width="984"] PHOTO: HE Alexey Meshkov, HE Datin Paduka Malai Hajah Halimah Malai Haji Yussof, Minister of Foreign Affairs Gilles Tonelli, HE Rahman Sahib oglu Mustafayev, HE Rodolphe Adada. Photo: Manuel Vitali/DC[/caption]
At a luncheon held at the Hotel Hermitage on Tuesday, March 13, Gilles Tonelli, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, received HE Rahman Sahib oglu Mustafayev, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Azerbaijan; HE Datin Paduka Malai Hajah Halimah Malai Haji Yussof, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Brunei Darussalam; HE Rodolphe Adada, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of the Congo, and HE Alexey Meshkov, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation.
In the morning, the four had presented their Letters of Credence to the Sovereign Prince.
HE Rahman Sahib oglu Mustafayev joined the Azerbaijani Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1987. In 2004, he served as Director of the International Relations Section of the "Azadliq" newspaper. In 2000, he became Counsellor at the Russian Embassy. He was appointed Director of the Directorate of Europe and America at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in 2006, and was promoted as Azerbaijan's Ambassador to Greece and Albania.
HE Datin Paduka Malai Hajah Halimah Malai Haji Yussof joined the MFA Research Branch of Brunei Darussalam in 1983, where she successively held the positions of Deputy Director for Southeast Asia, Assistant Director for Asia-Pacific and Director of Analysis. In 2007, she was appointed Director of Political Affairs and became Ambassador of Brunei Darussalam in the Philippines in 2008.
HE Rodolphe Adada began his political career in 1976 as Minister of Scientific Research of Congo. He accomplished this mission in different ministries before becoming advisor to the President. He was later appointed Minister of State, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation of the Republic of Congo.
HE Alexey Meshkov held various diplomatic positions in the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs before joining the Embassies of Italy and the Republic of San Marino as Ambassador.
[caption id="attachment_29235" align="alignnone" width="960"] Model Victoria Silvstedt. Photo: Thomas Iser[/caption]
Thomas Iser, Universal Humanity Photographer
ML: Our paths crossed at the Fairmont Monte Carlo. Talk a little about yourself.
TI: I was born in Metz, France in 1987, and had a quite a turbulent childhood as my brother and I were raised with no rules or boundaries.
Our parents split when I was three, and then life became a rollercoaster. As a teenager I saw my brother fall into drugs and become schizophrenic, my mother suffer from depression and my father quite distant, not by choice but due to circumstances.
My mom’s parents were really caring and loving, and thanks to them I got to see what nature had to offer, the beautiful forests, the rivers – I still dream today about the beauty I saw fishing in those rivers with my grandfather. Without my grandparents, I would have surely taken a wrong path. You can only give what you receive.
ML: You are a self-taught performer, photographer and painter. When did this all begin?
TI: I started skateboarding at a really young age, and also doing graffiti. I was fascinated by the energy and the colours, and because it was something forbidden, almost secret in a way. Plus the adrenaline you get while painting in illegal places is really addictive, a pure shot of life. When you do get caught, you have to use your imagination to get out of trouble as best you can. Street graffiti is a very good education.
Art became my life over time, and nothing matters more to me than expressing inspiring ideas through my work. As humanity faces bigger challenges, the world, more than ever, needs unity. If we want to survive on this planet we have to understand that we are one, all connected, and that we need to work together to face the threats to human existence. Art is something very personal I share with the world and everyday I learn about people and myself.
[caption id="attachment_29244" align="alignnone" width="720"] Photo: Thomas Iser[/caption]
ML: With your Universal Humanity project, you take thousands of photos of people holding a card over their right eye. Where did the concept come from?
TI: Universal Humanity is basically a portrait of humanity, celebrating diversity in a unique way. It started three years ago, when I painted my body like a broken sculpture and began to roam the streets around the world. My body was painted in black, with breaking lines in gold, colours representing space and light. Each part of my body represented mankind, all different yet building something unique and alive together ... humanity.
I was inspired by Kintsugi, the Japanese art of repairing pottery with melted gold and then accepting the piece is more beautiful and stronger after having been broken and repaired. This art resonates in me, I feel like a Kintsugi object in a way because I knew how to rebuild myself after all the things I experienced with my family.
Then one day, while performing, I decided to take pictures superimposing my famous yellow card, which represents my own eye, over other people’s eyes and so sharing my vision, a vision of a world with no borders and more justice. I guess everyone suffers, so everyone can understand the message.
I have now over 5,000 photos (Universal Humanity Instagram) and I will never stop taking them as long as I live.
[caption id="attachment_29243" align="alignnone" width="640"] Photo: Thomas Iser[/caption]
ML: When I asked where you were from, you called yourself a “luxury homeless”.
TI: Yes, I said I’m a luxury homeless because I sometimes have the opportunity to be in incredible places like Monaco, and benefit from amazing accommodation thanks to the people I meet, new friends I make, wanting to support me.
Like, for instance, when I was in Dubai last year staying on a friend’s boat for a while, painting my body, painting canvas also … but don’t take this the wrong way, I am just as happy on a sofa and have been in many weird situations (I should write a book!).
I use the term homeless because I don’t have a real address. I prefer to buy plane tickets or invest in art supplies than to pay for rent. So I am always on the move and creating.
Art is a lifestyle and I'm very happy to have more and more people collecting my work, which helps to keep me going. I am building something very specific and once the dots are connected everyone will be able to understand and feel the design.
ML: How do people react to your request to take their photo?
TI: Most people are pretty happy to take part, and they tend to repost their picture on social media, more now than at the beginning of the project. Maybe because they see I have taken a lot of pictures, including celebrities like designer Stefano Gabbana, Victoria's Secret Angel Sara Sampaio, actor Gad Elmaleh (who is also father to Raphael with former partner Charlotte Casiraghi), X-Factor judge Nicole Scherzinger, rapper Pharrell Williams, American photographer David LaChapelle, Victoria Silvstedt and many others.
When I photograph people it can be very intimate. Holding their hand with the yellow card, I feel their pulse, I look into their eyes. And I have to say, we all share the same sparkle of life, even though for some, unfortunately, life has made it hard to see.
ML: What does travelling teach you about yourself?
TI: I love to travel and see new cultures, landscapes and nature. Travelling is amazing and inspiring, it shows us different possibilities, different systems ... but also how to travel within yourself. You can be happy anywhere if you are happy with yourself.
Freedom is the most important thing in my eyes. The freer you are the more your imagination will be able to make new things happen in your life.
ML: Favourite thing to do when passing through Monaco?
TI: Walk around the town, discover its people and take pictures of them.
[gallery td_select_gallery_slide="slide" size="large" ids="29239,29245,29240,29241,29242,29236"]
Article first published March 13, 2018.
[caption id="attachment_18898" align="alignnone" width="640"] Olivier Mura Photo: Philippe Fitte[/caption]
Olivier Mura, 2017 President Junior Chamber International Monaco
Olivier Mura, 2017 President JCI, for Monaco Life
ML: Tell us about your education and professional background in Monaco.
OM: My studies have been long and varied, as I did a professional baccalaureate in sales, a university degree in marketing, and then a Masters in Human Resource Management.
In 2010, when my father sold his car dealership company with 50 employees in Nice, I happened to see an ad in the local press for a sales manager at Auto Koncept Lotus in Monaco. I am very grateful for the trust that Pascale Ounnas, my director at that time, had in me, because he brought me into a quality company in the Principality.
I then left for British Motors/MyWay at the end of 2012, and I still work for MINI. Monaco was a personal choice because the market here was totally different, in a positive sense, from France. It was an opportunity and I do not regret one bit the choice that I made.
[caption id="attachment_18880" align="alignnone" width="640"] Photo: Philippe Fitte[/caption]
ML: How would you describe Monaco's 18-to 40-year-old working community and what would surprise people to learn about the working culture in the Principality?
OM: The 18-40s are very active. They work in varied and diverse fields and are committed to their jobs. It’s much less stressful to work here than in neighbouring countries because of the quality of life offered here.
Many young people from outside Monaco believe that it is impossible for them to come to work in the Principality, as all they see are pictures of stars and sports cars. This image is gradually changing thanks to the efforts of His Serene Highness Prince Albert II, and the government who are communicating about the investment being made towards energy transition and the vitality and dynamism of Monaco in all sectors.
Our actions are also helping to show the reality of the Principality where more than 52,000 people work daily compared to a resident population of 37,500; it’s exceptional.
ML: How did you get involved with Junior Chamber International Monaco (JCI Monaco)?
OM: When I arrived in the Principality in 2011, a friend, Jean-Nicolas Rousselot, who was a JCIM member and one of the initiators of the JCI Monaco's commission team, told me about the organisation. It was during the plenary assembly of January 2013 that I decided to go to meet the young members.
I was amazed by the projects in progress, especially the European Conference, and this is what motivated me to became fully involved. In JCI Monaco I discovered commitment, quality and an impeccable team spirit to carry out all the projects.
[caption id="attachment_23174" align="alignnone" width="640"] JCIM Business Time. Photo: Philippe Fitte[/caption]
ML: Tell us more about JCI Monaco.
OM: Created in 1963, JCI Monaco aims to bring together the enterprising young workers in the Principality with a mission to develop Monaco’s economic attractiveness.
Our vision is to be the number one organisation for leaders and entrepreneurs of the Principality and our goals include developing the skills of our members in business leadership or to be successful in their professional lives, to help the community and contribute to its progress, and to contribute to the positive image of Monaco abroad.
The JCI Monaco is about openness, commitment, teamwork and projects, and innovation – adapting to an ever-changing world
Volunteering: each member finds gratification by acting in their field, in the development of their personal leadership skills, and in the strength of the network.
As for training, the experience of action helps personal development – leading and managing teams, taking on responsibilities and public speaking skills.
[caption id="attachment_18877" align="alignnone" width="640"] JCE, Business Time a Fondation Stelios. Photo: Philippe Fitte[/caption]
ML: What kinds of Entrepreneurship, Networking and Training events and conferences does JCI Monaco hold?
OM: Our actions are structured around three major themes: entrepreneurship, training and networking.
Our initiatives include the Business Plan Competition, Economic Directory, Startup Weekend, Employer’s Guide, Monaco Trade Survey, Get in the Ring, and Graine d’Entrepreneur, which is a collaboration with the Board of Education, Lycée Albert 1er, and 15 business owners who talk about their professional experience to high school seniors in order to create a virtual project.
Our big networking activities are Business Time evenings, and business breakfasts with topics related to the Monegasque economy.
We also do a TEAM sport tournament for Monegasque companies and administration, and offer after-work training from 6:30 pm to 8 pm, on various topics such as leadership, management, personal development, entrepreneurship, public speaking, etc.
ML: How is JCI Monaco involved in the community?
OM: It’s one of our missions, to develop the economic attractiveness of Monaco through our actions and events. We have Member of the Management committee of the Monaco Economic Board (MEB), a seat on the Economic and Social Committee (CES), a seat on the Strategic Council for Attractiveness (CSA), and a seat on the Observatory for Industry and the Observatory for Trade.
ML: How is it involved with the International Junior Chamber of Commerce (JCI)
OM:We work together with the International Junior Chamber, which includes 200,000 members from 112 countries, to provides young people with development opportunities to create positive change. And for the first time in Monaco’s history, JCI’s Executive Vice-President is a Monaco-resident, JCI Monaco member Kevin Hin.
ML: In your role as presidentbetween January 2017 and December 2017, what did you learn?
OM: I learned not to give in, to push myself and to exceed my limits, but also to be able to count on people. As an only child, I am quite individualistic in nature, and JCI Monaco has made me more open to teamwork, and for this, I thank my Board of Directors and my Committee Directors for their unfailing support.
I also learned to express myself in public, quite bizarre for a president I know, because it is an exercise that I appreciate very little. Professionally I learned to divide my tasks – to lead the JCI Monaco and to work as part of a team.
[caption id="attachment_27834" align="alignnone" width="640"] JCI 2018 President Olena Prykhodko with Olivier Mura, 2017 President. Photo: Flickr JCE Monaco[/caption]
ML: What advice would you give the 2018 President, Olena Prykhodko-Sullivan?OM: Our presidency is a unique experience, as we operate on several axes and must have an open mind and be responsive to meet the challenges of the current year and prepare for the next.
We are presidents of a movement that requires constant evolution while, at the same time, we carry on our shoulders the weight of the previous years and the exceptional work done before. Our mission is to create a network of young leaders and quality entrepreneurs to move forward and adapt to a changing world.
Olena is for me the person who best represents JCI Monaco today and I am proud to pass the torch to such a brilliant young woman.
ML: Who should join the Junior Chamber International Monaco, either as an associate member or active member?
OM: Anyone who wants to develop his or her business network, create new business opportunities, improve leadership skills, and contribute to the success of Monaco.
For more, see the Junior Chamber International Monaco's website. Article first published March 11, 2018.