It was a chilly morning in Kuala Lumpur, but H.E Evelyne Genta radiated warmth and gentle hospitality. Opting for the Mandarin Oriental as her latest accommodation, the spacious suite served as the backdrop for an engaging discussion between FirstClasse and the Monegasque Ambassador to the United Kingdom.
The conversation aimed to explore the intricacies of her role and the responsibilities she holds in representing Monaco in the UK, the cultural richness of Monaco and why this small nation deserves recognition on par with its larger counterparts in the vicinity.
Tell us about your journey and transition from a luxury background to becoming an ambassador?
I’m a Monegasque myself. Although my husband was Swiss, my nationality remained Monaco. After successfully managing the Gérald Genta business for several years, we made the decision to sell the company and relocate to London. Our primary motivation was to provide our daughter with a high-quality education in the United Kingdom. There, [in London] Monaco didn’t have any diplomatic representation, so the Prince offered me this position.
Initially, I was a bit hesitant as it wasn’t really my ‘world’. In order to ensure that I could fulfil my responsibilities, I decided to pursue a six-month internship at the Swiss Embassy. I gained valuable insights and knowledge about the diplomatic world and the nation I would be representing. Because if I am going to take this job, I must be fully prepared and capable of performing it. Throughout interning, I learned the language and the intricacies of diplomacy. Thank God, I managed to succeed in this role for the past 15 years, in representing Monaco in London.
From overseeing a luxury watchmaking business to becoming an ambassador. How do you find similarities between these two?
There’s a lot of similarities. Just like luxury watches, Monaco is not known for catering to the masses. It is a small country that focuses on providing personal attention to tourists. Similarly, luxury watchmaking prioritise top qualities and are handmade, ensuring that they are crafted with care and attention to detail. I think both Monaco and luxury watches are designed for individuals who appreciate and understand the finer things in life.
As someone who has never been to the country, what are the cultural and artistic events that Monaco is known for?
Despite its small size, Monaco boasts a remarkably dynamic and diverse culture. It’s a bit challenging to steer away from the stereotypes when discussing with the public about Monaco. Monaco is not just sheer luxury; Grand Prix, yachts, and extravagance. There’s more than that. We’re very strong in hospitality and festivals.
I have had the pleasure of hosting tourists from Malaysia – where I hosted a grand celebration for them. Surprisingly, around 600 Malaysians joined the festivities, and they thoroughly enjoyed their time in Monaco. This shows our commitment to being an inclusive and welcoming country that embraces all cultures. We strive to create an environment where people from all walks of life can feel at home and experience the warmth of our hospitality.
How is Monaco doing post-Covid?
To be completely honest, the impact of the Covid pandemic was quite challenging for us. Given that our economy heavily depends on tourism, the sudden halt in travel and tourism activities had a significant impact. However, Monaco, being a resilient and robust place, managed to weather the storm quite effectively. Thanks to our strong city experience, a resilient economy, and minimal debt, we were able to bounce back relatively quickly.
15 years as an ambassador. What would you say is the proudest moment of your career?
When I met Queen Elizabeth. It was an extraordinary moment and I was quite lucky to be.
What is your vision to further promote Monaco’s unique cultural heritage and attract investment opportunities on an international platform?
Monaco’s potential for technological advancement is a priority for me – that it aligns with the direction in which the world is progressing. I want to witness Monaco’s continuous evolution, serving as a hub for a brilliant and ambitious young generation of Monegasque individuals who have pursued their education abroad and bring with them fresh perspectives and innovative ideas.
This progress is something we would have deemed impossible a decade ago, and it exemplifies the immense potential for Monaco to reap the rewards of embracing technological advancements.