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A Journey Through Diplomacy, Art, Tech, and Sustainability: An Interview with Princess Alessandra Von Bismarck

13 November 2023

A Journey Through Diplomacy, Art, Tech, and Sustainability: An Interview with Princess Alessandra Von Bismarck

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Welcome to an insightful exploration of Princess Alessandra Von Bismarck's diverse world, where diplomacy, art, technology, and sustainability intersect. From Sao Paulo to diplomatic endeavors, she unveils the delicate interplay between cultural diversity and global responsibility. In this interview, Alessandra discusses her aspirations for a more equitable future, emphasizing the importance of cutting-edge technologies, sustainable practices, and cultural heritage preservation.

Your background spans various continents and roles, such as art curator, diplomat, and tech advisor. How has your multicultural upbringing influenced your approach to these diverse sectors, and what valuable insights have you gained from this experience?

I was raised between two very different cultures: Italy in Europe the old continent and Brazil a new country that was colonized by the Portuguese in the Americas, combined with studies, work, and extensive travels in various countries on all continents provided me with a further understanding of human behavior and how the governments respond to their people’s needs and economic stability.

Despite our cultural identity we live in a globalized world, however the most important I noticed is: that we all only have one common place, one Planet, we occupy less than 15% of the planet's land although the human “print” is causing several changes in nature that lead to climate change which impacts all life forms in our beautiful blue planet. We must find suitable solutions for continued economic development while preserving our ecosystem.

I learned to admire and respect different cultures than mine, their history, their struggles, their resilience, and their bravery, we are different but we are one race: the human race.

My diplomatic years serving France as a spouse of the French Ambassador allowed me to meet and interact with heads of State, Nobel Prizes, artists, scientists, and international government agencies such as the UN, and FAO, and mostly to help others, I conducted several humanitarian projects in different countries. It doesn’t matter the size of one's contribution, it is essential to develop empathy and consistently help people in your community and abroad, we must reach out where governments can’t. Solidarity is the most incredible characteristic of human beings, surprisingly enough it is in the poorest communities where I witness the highest level of Solidarity.

I always say it takes an engineer to calculate the construction of airplanes, machines, bridges, buildings, and roads, my father, my grandfather, and my son are engineers. I immensely value technology because of the way it allows us to advance as humans and how it solves problems. I switched from IT to Web 3 in 2016 because of the strong belief that the new technologies that are currently being built and implemented will provide financial access to a broad population that is still excluded from the current financial system. I witnessed the fabulous results of simply providing Internet access for example: the Brazilian Indigenous people, can now sell their art crafts online directly from their tribes in the Amazon Forest, it allows them to keep their traditions while monetizing them directly themselves. Being a tech advisor keeps me updated with the latest technologies and the social transformations it creates. Technology is truly the best way to resolve a wide variety of complex problems.

You've been involved in humanitarian cooperation projects during your time as Consulate General of France in São Paulo and French Ambassador in Havana. Can you share a specific project that left a profound impact on you personally and professionally, and how did it shape your perspective on diplomacy and international relations?

Humanitarian cooperation exists to fill the gaps when the local governments are unable to provide the necessary responses to specific social needs. European countries have achieved a major objective in providing social security such as health, education, and minimum wage salaries to all, through laws and an effective tax system, which unfortunately is not the case in many developing countries due to the high level of corruption and mismanagement of public money.

What impacts me the most is the situation of the children living in the streets of the megalopolis of Sao Paulo, when I started working to rescue street kids, we had 3.000 minors living on the streets, and despite all the efforts this number sadly increased to an alarming 7.000 today. In Brazil, there is a terrible pattern of competing political parties canceling social projects built by their predecessors to implement new ones, and so on, this is a terrible mistake because any social project demands a long time to be implemented and to provide results. Any social project demands time and consistency to fructify. Fieldwork is different than just donating funds to a specific social project, in my view, it should be mandatory for young people to volunteer between the ages of 18 and 21 years at any social project as orphanages, oncological children’s hospitals, retirement houses for the elderly (which are unfortunately abandoned in many societies), volunteer social work at a young age gives through personal experience the knowledge about the needs of the unprivileged, it teaches us tolerance, empathy, it humanizes oneself, you stop seeing people as mere numbers or statistics and see as as they are human beings.

Given your deep interest in the arts and the emergence of NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens), how do you view the convergence of traditional art with digital art through NFTs? Do you see this trend as a transformative force for both artists and art curators and do you anticipate any challenges or opportunities arising from it?

We had a fantastic growth of interest in NFTs and Metaverse between 2017 and 2022. NFTs created hundreds of thousands of new jobs. The NFTs are digital assets that came to stay, it opened the space for a new form of digital art through Artificial Intelligence.

The traditional forms of art will never fade, it is an intrinsic need of expression to reflect the society, the techniques were perfectionated during centuries of artistic creation. In German there is a word  Zeitgeist: it means how we define the spirit of a particular period of history, through the ideas and beliefs of a specific time. The NFTS are the spirit of our time, like the Internet completely transformed the way we communicate, and the way business is conducted, the technology behind NFTS, and the Blockchain are adding new layers to this revolution as human creation is continuously evolving.

Sustainability and responsible investing are becoming increasingly important in today's financial landscape. How does the Bismarck Family Office incorporate these principles into its investment strategies, and can you provide examples of sustainable investment initiatives that align with your values and goals?

My husband's family, traditionally invested in real estate and forestry, and my family in industry: paper, cellulose, and later disposable diapers It is important to envision the commercial trends and shifts over a long period, it is necessary to execute changes to adapt. Comprehensive real estate development is one way to ensure its sustainability, it demands a visionary team who are knowledgeable about the most adapted sustainable technologies to be implemented at each project, for example, the brilliant project  where they successfully implemented cutting-edge international technologies while everything was produced locally with Brazilian materials and local labor.

Balancing roles within the Family Office, involvement in tech startups, and advisory positions is undoubtedly demanding. Could you share your approach to effectively managing these multifaceted commitments, and how do you ensure that each area receives the attention it deserves?

It's important to preserve one's well-being through sports and meditation to keep the balance. It's mandatory to research and find the best individuals and teams in each specific field.

What are your personal and professional aspirations, and what legacy do you envision creating through your dedicated contributions to diplomacy, art, technology, and investments? How do these aspirations drive you forward in your diverse roles and responsibilities?

I aspire to see a more fair and equitable way of living for all human beings, where basic needs such as housing, education, and medical access are met, as well as having the major corporations truly working hard to diminish their impact on global warming even if against their own financial goals.

The developed countries consume more electricity; plastic goods, fuel, and waste food than all the developing countries combined. There is a clear unbalance. Slow consumption it's one of the answers, of course it is opposed to the economic growth imposed by the major corporations, but it’s not a dead end it’s a direction we should take, as the high consumption directly impacts the environment, we only have one planet, our planet. I traveled extensively to regions where there is small economic development and at the same time it is noticeable the communion between man and nature, such as the Amazon Forest, regions in Central Asia or in Sub-Saharan Africa, places where they don’t have access to many material goods, although they sometimes have a more a fulfilling and healthy life, and sure they are not negatively impacting the climate change.

My responsibility is to keep advocating to fasten the pace to implement cutting-edge technologies that provide opportunities for economic growth to a vast number of people while preserving the traditional knowledge, and a certain return to the basics: less is more.  It's only one Planet, it is our duty to preserve it all.

More insights from Connect Group

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The Digital Revolution in Wealth Management: A Family Office Guide to Web3 and Digital Assets

Navigating the Climate Maze: Lessons from the Climate Transition Summit

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