On one side, the Honorary Consul of Monaco in Jakarta, Mrs. Karlina Damiri, is a successful entrepreneur whose transportation company is a household name in Indonesia. On the other side, Princess Karlina Damiri holds several nobility and honorific titles in Indonesia where she is highly regarded for her generous and kind personality, which – for the last two decades – she has been putting relentlessly and with obvious impact, at the service of several charitable causes.
Could you introduce yourself and share with us how you became Monaco’s Honorary Consul in Indonesia?
I had already conducted some initiatives in the 2000s on behalf of the government of Indonesia, promoting products of the country, particularly our excellent coffee, through charity events. On these occasions, I would invite the foreign representative of the diplomatic corps as well as high-ranking decision makers from the Indonesian ministries of Tourism, Agriculture, and Foreign Affairs.
At the same time, H.S.H. Albert II, Sovereign Prince of Monaco, had sponsored environment programs in Indonesia through the Monaco Asia Society and later through His own Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation. Particularly on the Island of Nias, where 239 houses and a school were rebuilt in Sirumbu village in 2006 after the deadly tsunami ravaged the island in December 2004. H.S.H visited Indonesia on several occasions in those times and His initiatives were widely published in the local Indonesian newspapers. I realized at that moment that Monaco, this esteemed country, was not yet represented in Indonesia. Therefore, on 28 November 2011 I applied for the position of Honorary Consul and I received my Exequatur on 24 October 2013.
What is the image of Monaco in Indonesia from your personal experience?
Indonesians are familiar with Monaco which they recognize as a prestigious and luxurious place to visit in Europe. Monaco is often associated with Princess Grace, with Prince Albert II, superyachts, super cars and for being the true heart of the French Riviera. It is a very aspirational place on Earth. People often gasp when they speak about it from knowledge or personal experience and I am immensely proud to be the Honorary Consul of Monaco, amongst the 100 persons in Indonesia who exercise the same charge on behalf of other countries.
You have been personally engaged in not-for-profit associations for the last two decades, how have you managed to open your network for the benefit of the charitable work and environmental advocacy work that Monaco does around the world?
I would put that on the account of my personality. It is not about me or who I want to project to be. But I love people and I love to share my enthusiasm and my causes with people. I love to try and make a difference for the good of the community, whether it be in the frame of cancer support groups, stroke support groups or other promotional initiatives. Many means can come on board to support these causes. Money needs to be raised of course, but it is also about personal involvement and presence on the ground. Providing logistical means, such as a facility or buses or cars for example, can also be crucial when organizing a big-sized event to raise funds. I try to bring as much as I can to the table, using my network and my influence.
For example, Miss Coffee Indonesia Pageant – which we have been organizing for almost 10 years – was my own initiative to support my country. Partly thanks to that, it is now better recognized that coffee is Indonesia’s 2nd biggest commodity export and that Indonesia is the 4th biggest producer in the world, producing an excellent coffee including several types of highly sought-after specialty coffees. So, it is only natural for me to want to do the same on behalf of Monaco and particularly of Prince Albert II of Monaco foundation, every time we have a chance.
Can you share your best memory in Monaco to date?
I have accumulated a lot of wonderful memories of Monaco as I have been visiting at least once yearly since 2012. However, if I would have to choose one, it would be the memories of my first visit to Monaco. There were heavy rains during the National Day celebrations on 19 November and as we were walking from the Cathedral, where the mass had been held, to the nearby Princely Palace, where Prince Albert II was expecting us, I was somehow rescued halfway by my counterpart based in the U.K. who kindly invited me to sit with her in the Castelroc restaurant while waiting for the rain to stop. There were other Hon. Consuls as well as local officials from Monaco doing the same thing and I was taken in the spell of such a family-like atmosphere. Everyone was so welcoming, kind, warm, down to earth, and happy to be reunited there, like every year, under the good auspices of Monaco.
What project are you hoping to lead in Indonesia soon on behalf of Monaco?
I am determined to further promote Monaco in Indonesia. There is still a lot to do. The luxury products which are made in Monaco and which are loved by the high society in Jakarta are one potential angle. For example, recently I was delighted to receive M. Alberto Repossi, the iconic Jeweler based in Monaco and to introduce him to some members of the high society in Jakarta for possible business collaborations. I am also keen to develop collaborations between Monaco and Indonesia in the fields of sports & culture: although small, Monaco is a powerhouse in these two fields and Indonesia could benefit from Monaco’s experience while leveraging on its talented and enthusiastic youth.
Finally, I believe that more ocean-related collaborative projects can be developed between Monaco and Indonesia which still has a huge untapped potential expecting to be developed. For example, its countless natural beauties, its thousands of untouched islands make Indonesia an obvious paradise for sailors. Yachting is a low hanging fruit for Indonesia’s tourism development and Monaco could contribute its vast array of experience in this field. But Monaco can also contribute its precious experience in the field of ocean preservation and oceanography, so that these developments are made through best practices and sustainability and with the preservation of our beautiful environment in mind.