Letter from the President
September 26th, 2014
HAPPY BIRTHDAY AGBC!
The year 2014 is a very special year in the history of the American German Business Club, as it marks our 50th anniversary. This is not only a commemorative year, but also year of celebrations. Several of our chapters will be having major celebrations in the course of the year.
We lived in a very dynamic and dangerous world in 1964. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in November 1963; the first stirrings of a domino effect were beginning in SE Asia: and the Soviet Union was amassing an extraordinary number of combat divisions close to the border between East and West Germany.
Bonn was West Germany’s legal “Seat of Government” at this time; it was home for embassies and a large number of corporations and institutions with a vested interest in central Europe. The “American Embassy Club on the Rhine” was a maelstrom of diplomats, lobbyists, agents, expats and citizens from countries all over the world. It was also a beautiful place to congregate.
This became the luncheon location for a group of American defense industrialists who decided it was prudent to get together periodically to discuss the most important issues of the day. They became the American Businessmen’s Club in 1964. This group was the genesis for the AGBC of today. Women, German citizens and other nationalities were soon welcomed. New chapters soon evolved in other German cities causing a name evolution to the Association of American German Business Clubs, with our national headquarters transferred to Frankfurt am Main. (A more extensive history can be found on our website).
Our first major celebration of our 50th birthday was held in Frankfurt's beautiful Kaisersaal, May 8th, courtesy of Frankfurt's Oberbürgermeister, Mr. Peter Feldmann. I gave a short talk, relating a truncated version of the history of AGBC. But our keynote speaker was the US Ambassador to Germany, the honorable John B. Emerson. The evening was a great success, and the speeches were followed by a wonderful buffet there in Frankfurt's beautiful Römer. The weekend continued with an Invitational Charity Golf Tournament one day later. Finally, this was followed on Saturday, the 10th, with our semi-annual national membership meeting, which is an invitational event for any and all members of our national AGBC. There were meals and the occasional drink in between all these events. But all in all, it was a great celebration, with networking and fun shared by all.
Our next celebration was held in Kaiserslautern a few weeks later on the 24th of May with a fantastic banquet. I spoke once again, and again we had a dignitary as keynote speaker. The US Consul General, Mr. Kevin C. Milas, gave this address. Everyone really had a chance to mix, share ideas and enjoy the time together. This event not only commemorated the 50th anniversary of our national, but also the 20th anniversary of AGBC Kaiserslautern. It was a very special time.
This is the season for Special Event meetings, and other chapters are holding their own celebrations of our national anniversary. But the biggest one remaining on the calendar is during the weekend of November 14/15 in Bonn, our birthplace.
Our National Membership Meeting will be held on Friday the 14th at the Hotel Königshof, Adenauerallee 9, near the University, starting at 11:00. As a member of AGBC, you are invited to attend any of our membership meetings, whereby we conduct the business for the AGBC.
This meeting is being held on a Friday because the festivities for our 50th celebration are on Saturday, November 15th, from 12:00 to 15:00 at the Deutsche Welle. This event will be under the “Schirmherrschaft” of Ministerpräsidentin NRW Hannelore Kraft. Our AGBC is very happy to have as guests of honor, the US Ambassador to Germany, Mr. John B. Emerson, Staatssekretär Dr. Marc Jan Eumann and US Consul General Stephan Hubler. Following the presentations commemorating the founding of the AGBC, there will arguably be socializing, eating and drinking as well. These promises to be a Saturday you won't soon forget. I'm led to believe that our "home" hotel for this weekend is the Hotel Königshof. So if your plan is to join for this celebratory weekend, it might be prudent to book early. Tell them AGBC for our group price.
We have other excitement in store for the coming months, from introducing a new chapter to the continuing evolution of our website. So, stay tuned. 2015 starts our second 50 years.
The enduring success of our AGBC is not simply predicated on business but rather it is based on our common commitment to the integrity of continuing education, the sharing of ideas, the promotion of values, networking with each other and enjoying the process.
We look forward to working with you, doing whatever is necessary and good, to promote the continuing success of our AGBC in the decades to come.