International Networking Week®: “A World of Thanks” story submitted by Bijay Rajnikantt Shah and Anna Shah, BNI National Directors – BNI United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a beloved home for people of all ages, ethnicities, backgrounds, religions, and cultures. It has been more than a second home for hundreds of thousands of ex-pats, that have come to this gracious land and made a living, started families, and made life-long friends. With generations of families being settled in this Middle-Eastern country, the new-generation even considers the UAE as their first and ONLY home.
When Anna & I first moved to the UAE, BNI was not on our radar and we had no plans to make it our permanent home. We were just exploring what could be possible and if there might be any opportunities for us to make a good living and build a future for ourselves.
We came here knowing only 2 people in 2004. Fast forward 16 years later and we can proudly call the UAE our permanent home. Our 13-year-old son Aryan is born here and he considers this to be his first and only home. We are surrounded by an active community of over 600 givers in BNI and over the years made connections with thousands more both locally and globally.
As we celebrate the 14th International Networking Week and its theme “A World of Thanks”, Anna & I would like to take this opportunity to express our deepest gratitude to the following people for what and who were are today:
Bijay and Anna Shah share a “World of Thanks”
- Dr. Ivan Misner & the late Elisabeth Misner for creating this amazing organization that is truly Changing the Way the World Does Business®. Over the last 16 years, the BNI system has helped generate over US$ 440 Million in new business for our members in the UAE.
- Under the Leadership of our CEO, Graham Weihmiller, and the support of the BNI Global Support Team, the last 5 years have seen exemplary progress in our technology and systems – creating a pathway to an even stronger and brighter future both for ourselves and our members.
- Our Members and our Executive Teams who trust us and followed the BNI system in an organization that changed their life. Their continued support and enthusiasm are what keeps us motivated in doing what we do every day.
- Lastly and most importantly, the leaders of this great country we now call our permanent home – the UAE. The UAE has also taught so many to dream big and to keep thriving until they achieve success, all being the influence of the great and visionary leader, H.H. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
H.H. Sheikh Zayed’s legacy is indispensable to healing the fractures of a world that is being disfigured by demagoguery and divisive politics. Upholding human dignity – treating “every person, no matter what his creed or race, as a special soul”, as he put it – was his principal objective in public life. He emphasized the urgency of opening up opportunities in “all sectors” for women and warned that no society that excluded half its citizens could prosper. He welcomed people from every part of the world with open arms, transforming the UAE into one of the most pluralistic societies in the world.
The momentous change over which Sheikh Zayed presided was never, in his eyes, a departure from the heritage of the UAE but an affirmation of its finest aspects. The true genius of culture and society lay, he believed, in their capacity to adapt and thrive in a changing world. A cursory glance at the Middle East shows how right he was – and how well he prepared the UAE for the 21st Century. In a region characterized by strife and conflict, the UAE is not only a haven of stability and prosperity but also the place where the future is imagined and brought into being. At the same time, it has given so munificently to the less fortunate that it has gained recognition as the most generous donor of aid on earth.
We owe a World of Thanks to all of the people mentioned above for helping us find meaning and making our life more purposeful – Thank you!
Bijay Rajnikantt Shah and Anna Shah | BNI United Arab Emirates National Directors
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