Interview with Swiss Ambassador Benedikt Wechsler, Head of Division for Digitalisation, Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.
For this edition we interviewed Swiss Ambassador Benedikt Wechsler, Head of Division for Digitalisation, Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.
We had a review of UNESCO’s first global summit on internet governance with Asha Allen, Director, Advocacy, of the Center for Democracy and Technology in Brussels.
We also spoke with Amayes Aouli, Head of European Sales and Director at Sothebys’ France, where he manages fine wine charity auctions in clouding the prestigious Hospices de Beaune annual fundraiser for the hospitals in the region of Bourgogne.
We caught up with Isabelle Legeron, CEO and founder of RAW Wine, a trade fair for natural, organic, and low-intervention wines that are in line with the UN SDGs.
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We spoke with Swiss Ambassador Benedikt Wechsler, Head of Division for Digitalisation, Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, to understand this new role and its priorities for 2023.
Presented by Microsoft
The imperative for digital transformation and public-private partnerships in Least Developed Countries (LDCs).
As part of an ongoing commitment to the mission and ambition of the United Nations, Microsoft served as the co-chair of LDC5 / Private Sector Forum, where they explored ways that digital development can become a reality. Learn more here.
UNESCO Global Summit on Internet Governance
Interview with Asha Allen, Director, Advocacy, Europe, for Online Expression and Civic Space at the Center for Democracy and Technology in Brussels
We spoke about her participation at UNESCO Global Summit where she presented their latest reports on digital governance.
Presented by citizenM
Where to stay in Paris
When I was organising tastings with tech companies and founders, and reporting on the wine industry in London I met several times with Steven Spurrier, the late British wine critic who put California’s wine region on the map with the eponymous event called The Judgment of Paris.
The Judgement of Paris was where top French wine critics tasted for the first time the best wines from the US together with French wines, in a blind tasting (meaning not knowing which wine was in the bag covering its label), and what happened was that California’s wines came up on top, to the amazement of all.
The last time I saw Steven Spurrier was in 2016, at Christie’s London, during a presentation/tasting and lecture by California’s wine producers, preceding a wine auction of, among other gems, Chateau Montelena’s wines.
Steven Spurrier was supporter of Tech Tastes Wine, the events I organised for technologists to discover wine at Google Campus for Startups in Shoreditch and at The Collective, in Russell Square. When we first met at the Three Bicchieri wine tasting in London, and I explained the concept of Tech Tastes Wine he was very encouraging. It is a pity he left us so soon, he was an innovator in the wine industry.
Invest in Delighting Yourself Regularly
I remember he saying to wine collectors, “Wine is an investment in pleasure.”
Sothebys’ to Run Auction to Support the Gérard Basset Foundation
Listen to my interview with Sothebys’ Amayès Aouli, Director, Head of Sales, Europe, at their Paris office, on the Hospices de Beaune Charity Auction and the upcoming fundraiser for the Gérard Basset Foundation to fund scholarships for diversity and inclusion of people who survived conflict zones and war, and want to work in the wine sector. We also spoke about how the new generations are collecting and appreciating fine wines from all over the world, as wealth is being built in the Global South.
Apart from being a wealth-building investment class asset, it is an investment on moments of enjoyment with family and friends autour d’une bonne table. Or as my Italian grandmother from the Piedmont wine producing area would say, “In our house we never have food without wine and we never drink wine without food.”
What she meant was that wine is sacred, it is a spiritual experience, it is a conviviality experience. Best shared. Like travelling.
citizenM at Gare de Lyon in Paris
Combining Business Travel with a Long Weekend in the City of Light
What is the best way to discover Paris for a weekend if you were there for work, business, or for a conference during the week?
You could, for starters, stay at citizenM at Gare de Lyon, the hotel that caters to your essential needs when travelling for work and leisure, with great design, and the latest tech amenities to control temperature, ambiance, and lighting in your room.
Truly what you really need from a hotel is great sleep, and surroundings that make you relax in the evening and be energised in the morning as you sprint to discover Paris and close deals.
citizenM Gare de Lyon gives you that and more. A friendly welcome, prompt service, cool guests and surroundings. What is not to like?
If you travelling from Geneva, citizenM is right next to the Gare de Lyon train station, no need to fight the crowds for a taxi or a UBER, particularly if you arrive and there is a strike.
A short 3 minutes walk and you are literally a world away from the hustle and bustle of Gare de Lyon. If you are visiting Paris for the first time take a moment to enjoy the beautiful ceilings in the hallway to Hall 2, and to see the tower clock outside.
If some public transportation works, you are in luck, because just half-a-block away there is the bus number 63 that takes you straight to the Petit Palais, Rue du Bac, and St. Germain, where great cafes and restaurants are plenty.
There has never been a hotel so well placed in Paris for going to meetings anywhere in the City of Lights.
But you could also stay in.
citizenM Gare de Lyon offers high-speed Internet access, a lounge tastefully decorated with whimsical objects, books, art, photos, great work tables, Apple desktops for guest use, comfortable sofas and armchairs to read, write, and hold business meetings.
canteenM, where the delicious breakfast is served, also serves food, and wine, and they will cater to you until 10 PM, after that you can also grab something from their fresh deli, that stays open 27/7 with nice organic salads, and other healthy nibbles, plus water, ½ bottles of wine and sparkling wine if you fancy a drink indoors.
The breakfast is totally worth it, great choices of pastries, eggs, bacon, cold cuts, fresh home-made yogurt, fresh squeezed OJ and grapefruit juice. I have never tasted a croissant so perfectly flaky, better than many Parisian bakeries (and that is a very high standard of croissant perfection).
In the evening you can see the City of Lights from above, at their lounge, cloudM, on the 16th Floor, where food and cocktails as well as a very simple but nice choice of French wines by the glass are available.
The rooms are spacious for Paris standards, the beds huge, and the views of the River Seine in the higher floors are amazing. The beautiful Cite de La Mode et du Design (where you can go have a drink or coffee in their open terrace from 10 am to midnight), is right in front of the hotel, across le Pont Charles de Gaulle, by the river, as well as the new building where the newspaper Le Monde is now housed. They were absolutely spectacular to look at during the day as well as the night from our hotel suite.
Bring your significant other along for the weekend part if you can. There is so much to do and see in Paris, you want to share those experiences with a loved one.
Invest in travel, leisure, moments with family and friends. Invest in your well-being.
If you can stretch a fews days your stay you will have a delightful weekend seeing one of the many museums that Paris offers. No need to stand for hours trying to get into the Louvre and fight the crowds to see a piece of art.
Paris has hundreds of museums that are fabulous, small, intimate, and where you will find a respite from the touristy spots to do a deep-dive on a period of history or a subject. Museum Eugene Delacroix, in the 6th Arrondissement, in Saint Germain, comes to mind.
You could also catch up with the very trendy organic wines’ scene. During the weekend of 12 March RAW Wine Fair took place, for the first time, in Paris.
Listen to my interview with Founder and CEO of RAW Wine, Isabelle Legeron:
They will be in Paris again next year in February. In a month they will be in Los Angeles, and after that in Copenhagen.
The brainchild of Isabelle Legeron, a Master of Wine (the British two-years Master’s program that is the top qualification on wine education in the world), who launched RAW Wines trade fair a couple of years ago to ensure that producers of natural and organic wine have a place to meet wine merchants and distributors in London.
RAW WINE Paris will be taking place for a second time on 11-12th February 2024.
She has also published a book on natural wine.
A Museum to Discover the History of Economics
Tucked away in the XX Arrondissement (that is neighbourhood in French), is the Museum of Economics, or Citeco, a museum created and supported by the Banque of France, which aims to educate the young and not so young on the history and evolution of economics. They do it through a series of high-tech exhibitions and educational programs. Have an afternoon of leisure in Paris? Are the kids with you?
Head out to Citeco. It can be reached by metro from citizenM Gare de Lyon in 20 minutes.
Books to understand wine
The Economist list