AMI Monaco: bringing together Latin passion, pride and purpose

Monaco Life meets Erika Sheramin Sora Torres de Beauseigneur and her team to learn about AMI, the Monegasque Ibero-American Association that is bringing the best of Latin America, Spain and Portugal to Monaco.

Erika Sheramin, or Sheramin as she rather be called, was born in Peru and then moved to Venezuela to study paediatric nursing. She happened to arrive in Monaco in 2003, the same year my husband and I did. She is married to French born David Beauseigneur, and they have three adorable children. She currently works for the Direction de l’Action et de l’Aide Sociales in Monaco (DASO) and is president of AMI.

In 2021, Sheramin and a group of close friends, who share the same vision and are passionate about Latin culture, decided to create AMI to strengthen cultural ties between Latin America, Spain, Portugal, and Monaco. AMI’s close knit team is comprised of Susana Perdiguero de Segovia (Spain), Vice-President; David Beauseigneur (France), General Secretary; Lourdes (Lulu) Pages (Venezuela), Treasurer; Luisa Morales (Colombia), Secretary; Samira Irakelle Bezerra Nicacio (Spain/Brazil), Administrator and Public Relations Manager; Sarah Rivera de Bolonotto (Dominican Republic), International Cooperation Project Manager and AMI representative in Latin America; and Celine Guitard Torres (France/Spain), Administrator. They form a great team and are all actively working on organising events to raise funds for their solidarity projects for the most deprived. Due to their typical long last names, we will be addressing them by their first name.

Samira’s fluency in Portuguese, Spanish, French, English and Italian make her a great asset in her PR position. She explained the mission behind AMI.

“AMI is a non-profit association that aims to promote cultural exchanges between Latin America, Spain, Portugal and Monaco,” she told Monaco Life. “We organise events and activities in the fields of gastronomy, fashion, music, and art to share the traditions and know-how of these countries. We also support international competitions and seek to publicise the historical, musical, sports and gastronomic culture of these regions.”

Sarah added: “The association began to promote Ibero-American culture to awaken the curiosity of the principality. But it became much more as we realised we could help with small gestures that gave great results. By showing who we are in a cultural way, we create awareness of our existence and our countries’ needs.”

Prince Albert with Sarah, Sheramin, Luisa, Marta and Lula at the YCM in May 2022. Source: Prince’s Palace

Collaboration, creativity, and working together for a common cause

Since a young age, Sheramin had a particular interest in humanitarian and charitable actions, and for this reason she became a nurse so she could help others, and continued working on solidarity and social projects. In creating AMI, she has pooled the qualities, values, ​​and skills of the group to promote the culture of their respective countries of origin. “The objective is to lead several battles in different fronts against malnutrition of children and the elderly, the defence of the right of access to teaching and education, and the protection of the ecosystem, plus the strong desire to strengthen alliances between communities,” said Sheramin.

Meanwhile, Samira is “motivated by my passion for the culture, gastronomy, fashion, music and art of Latin American countries, Spain and Portugal. I want to discover these cultural riches and generate funds to support actions in these countries and help disadvantaged populations.”

Building a two-way bridge between Monaco and Ibero-America

AMI facilitates the connection between Ibero-American cultures and Monaco through the organisation of gastronomic, cultural events or educational exchanges, thereby promoting meetings, creating, or strengthening links between the different communities, the governments of Monaco and countries in the spotlight. AMI works closely with the local governments, businesses, and reputable personalities.

“We seek to promote exchanges between different regions, inviting artists, chefs, fashion designers, musicians, and artisans from these countries to participate in our events. This allows residents of Monaco and neighbouring countries to discover the richness of these cultures and support actions in these countries,” explained Sheramin.

As Susana also explained, the association helps Ibero-American countries by opening ties between the embassies and Monaco, and does so through events related to the culture of the countries. They also help country associations financially, so that they can carry out projects for disadvantaged communities.

“Spain and Portugal are the homelands of Latin America, we have very close and strong ties, so learning from their culture, gastronomy, history, and language, we get to know that of Latin America,” said Sarah. “When we carry out our negotiations, we always work with the official support of the embassies and governments, thus bringing them closer to Monaco and creating interest in the Principality.”

Prince Albert II with, from left to right: Christophe Prat – General Director Monaco Interior Dept., Luisa, Susana, Mrs Oscar Orrantia, Oscar Orrantia – Ambassador Ecuador, Sheramin, Yolanda Rodriguez, Lula, Sandra Murcia Robert. Credit: Alex Nicola Siffredi

Events organised by AMI – diplomatic gastronomy dinners

Their most notable events are the diplomatic gastronomy dinners scheduled annually at the Yacht Club of Monaco, putting in the spotlight different countries and organised in partnership with the Monaco Department of National Education, with a focus on the students from the Technical and Hospitality School, where the guest chef of the honoured country works alongside students. The objective is to promote understanding, respect, and appreciation of cultural heritage and gastronomy of each country, thereby helping to improve international interaction and cooperation as well as raise funds for their projects in Latin America, Spain, and Portugal.

The first event was held in May 2022 and honoured the Dominican Republic. It was attended by representatives from that country and Prince Albert II of Monaco, accompanied by the Minister of Culture and Education.

The second gastronomy dinner honoured Ecuador on 9th May 2023, in the presence of Prince Albert II of Monaco, Ambassador of Ecuador in France and Monaco Oscar Orrantia, Christophe Prat, General Director Monaco Department of Interior, and distinguished guests.

AMI’s third gastronomy dinner is scheduled for 16th May 2024, and will focus on Honduras, inviting members of the diplomatic corps, and working closely with the Ambassador of Honduras in Paris and Monaco.

First Ibero-American Junior Festival. Photo supplied.

Sponsored competitions

AMI also organised the Ibero American Junior Festival on 15th October 2022, with the best dancers in the junior category judged by a Latin American Jury, composed of Enrique vargas Flores (Mexico), General Secretary of the Ibero-American Cultural Space); Sandra Murcia Robert (Colombia), AMI Ambassador; and Alejandro Corcuera (Peru), Marinera World Champion. It was an imaginary voyage to Peru through their typical dance representing their national identity with rhythm, elegance, force, and joy. On that festive occasion AMI celebrated their first anniversary of the association.

Meanwhile, AMI is sponsoring the participation of an Ecuadorian team that will play in the Sainte Dévote rugby tournament, in Monaco, next April. The team is made up of children aged nine to 12, and is the representative of the association’s rugby schools project, developed in collaboration with the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation.

The Ecuadorian team with Princess Charlene, and her children Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella, in 2022 at the Stade Louis II for the Sainte Dévote Rugby Tournament. Photo supplied.

AMI celebrated its 2nd anniversary in October 2023 with a private party celebrating its members and events.

AMI’s goals

As Sheramin told Monaco Life, “We aim to become a positive and lasting force in seeking and achieving effective cooperation in the humanitarian field. We have opened the doors of Monaco wide to our countries of origin with a mission that requires our love and dedication. We are determined to continue our efforts to increase cooperation and help eradicate poverty.”

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Main photo: Susana, Lourdes, Celina, Sheramin, and Louisa. Photo supplied