Last month, on September 11, 2014, InterNations turned exactly seven years old to a day. What better place to celebrate this special occasion than our largest InterNations Community worldwide?
So I got myself on a plane to London in order to meet up with our three local InterNations Ambassadors at that night’s event location, the Buddha-Bar, a trendy nightclub/restaurant hybrid in swanky Knightsbridge.
The InterNations Ambassadors Team in London
Our Ambassadors in London, Rosa, Alex, and Francesco, have been organizing events for our community for quite some time, and they complement each other well, forming a great team for one of the most diverse and dynamic cities on the globe.
Alex, a Russian expat, works in the finance industry as well, though he also has a background in communications and international relations and used to work for one of the EU institutions in Strasbourg. He appreciates the amazing opportunities that London can offer – be they gallery visits or vintage parties.
Last but certainly not least, Francesco has made the leap from Italy to London (with a little detour via NYC) to start working as a cardiologist at a local university hospital. After a hard working day, he thinks that London has just the right cultural events and socializing opportunities to forget about the stress!
The three of them are definitely fun to talk to, and they seem very dedicated to the InterNations idea of bringing people together.
An Inauspicious Date?
Speaking of bringing people together: Our founding date has a rather tragic connotation, since 9/11 will always be a reminder of the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City in 2001, as well as all the international crises and conflicts that have followed. Understandably, a few members have asked me if it is a good idea to celebrate our network’s anniversary on that very day.
Well, actually our “birthday” in 2007 was pure coincidence. We were originally aiming to go live on September 1, but just like an actual birth, our InterNations “baby” took a little longer. (If you’ve ever worked in IT or tech, this may not surprise you. We have learned by now that even the best of roadmaps don’t always work out as accurately as planned.) So we were suddenly stuck with a less-than-fortunate date of birth, so to speak.
Two years later, for our second anniversary in 2009, we attended a birthday reception for InterNations in Berlin’s diplomatic quarter. The former Egyptian ambassador to Germany gave a short introductory speech that I still remember very well. He said that in 2001, people from different nations, ethnicities, and faiths really started drifting apart. But that was all the more reason to find new opportunities to bring them together.
InterNations is, of course, not a political organization. We aren’t an NGO or NPO or a think tank, but a social networking site. However, we do bring many very different people from all around the world together, and I think this is an achievement very much worth celebrating, regardless of the date.
Birthday Parties in London and around the Globe
Our birthday event in London united several hundred guests from dozens of countries – an impressive turnout. But before most of the attendees arrived, I seized the chance to talk to our London Ambassadors about the truly astonishing development of their Local Community, which has over 50,000 members by now.
We clinked glasses to the 7th birthday of InterNations, and then I gave a brief interview to the Daily Telegraph about the InterNations story before our members started pouring into the event location.
I tried to talk to as many of them as possible and listen to their feedback. Quite a few had attended InterNations Events in other Local Communities before, so it’s always interesting to get a glimpse at our various get-togethers across the globe. Our site relaunch and a mobile-friendly version were also popular topics.
Somewhat later, Alex, a former journalist, introduced me officially, thus giving me the chance to thank our InterNations Ambassadors, Group Consuls, and all our members for making InterNations what it is today. A delicious birthday cake topped off this occasion perfectly.
Below, you can see some more yummy cakes and lovely snapshots from other birthday parties worldwide. After all, we didn’t just celebrate in London, but in plenty of our 390+ InterNations Communities around the world: Just have a look at our snapshots from Johannesburg, Dubai, and Toronto.
Here’s to the next seven years of connecting global minds!