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Feel at home with Club Austria

Club Austria
10. October 2011

Club Austria is more than an informal networking platform for Austrians-the forum also teams with the Austrian business council, the Austrian Trade Commission to host events that is of special significance to Austrians. Thomas Edelmann, the founder of Club Austria talks to the Austrian Trade Commission about the inception, mission and activities of Club Austria

1. What were the motivations behind the establishment of Club Austria?
When I came to Dubai in 2000 there was no established Austrian community network. Feeling homesick and missing mingling with fellow Austrians, the idea of creating a platform for informal get-togethers was borne.
2. When was Club Austria established?
In 2001, and we had the first meeting in the Cafe Vienne (which does not exist anymore) on the beach road in Jumeirah, and there were not even 10 people.
3. Who are the founding members?
Hildegard Ferling had the same idea and jointly we organized the first couple of meetings. In between Hildegard had left UAE for some years and I managed the forum in her absence. However, I am happy to inform that she returned to UAE last year.
4. Currently, what is the total strength of the forum?
I have about 350 email addresses in my database, and the all time high participation number at a Club Austria event was more than 160 people at an Oktoberfest function at the Sheraton Jumeirah.
5. Can you list out the activities conducted by this forum?
It is mainly informal dinner activities at places which have a significance for Austrians-we try to have our functions at hotels/restaurants where Austrians work in order to get authentic food and beverage at our events. For many of our recent events, Engelbert Gamsriegler, the Executive Chef of the Sheraton Jumeirah Beach was our host and before him, Christian Muhr, the GM of the Hilton Jumeirah Beach was our host for quite some years. Club Austria also teams with the Austrian Business Council and the Team of Wolfgang Penzias, our trade commissioner, to run joint events. Besides that, many small groups at the forums organize their own events and outings like 4x4 tours, etc.
6. What is the main objective of the forum?
The forum aims to be an informal networking platform for Austrians.
7. How has it helped Austrians in UAE?
I get regular email inquiries about all kind of subjects, and I try to help them to the best of my ability. By distributing resumes of potential Austrians via email, we have helped ten Austrians find jobs via this platform. Information about events which are organized by Austrian individuals or companies get broadcasted through email shots, like the recent Maifest organized by Siegfried Spiegl. The platform also helps to get some firsthand information from our Austrian Ambassador Dr. Julius Lauritsch and Our Austrian trade commissioner Dr Wolfgang Penzias who attend the meetings regularly. And most importantly, the platform helps Austrians who attend the functions to connect, and many provide very encouraging feedback and become regular attendees of our functions.
8. What benefits do you offer your members?
There are no tangible benefits, it is just about getting together and sharing a few good moments. Moreover, the forum is also about benefitting from networking with similar minded people with common goals and aspirations.
9. Can you list out the activities of your forum for the calendar year of 2011?
We had one meeting in the first half year and will have two more get-togethers in the 2nd half of 2011.

For Austrians who are looking to be a part of Club Austria, please contact Thomas Edelmann at