Man-about-town Bernardo was leading the charge, as is his typical charming nature. And on Thursday, September 20th he rallied folks from my cocktail party (me included) to stop by the EuroCircle event across the street on the spectacular 42nd floor Estrala Penthouse atop the Le Parker Meridien hotel.
Founded in January 1999 by Kaisa Kokkonen the EuroCircle is an informal network of European professionals where ideas, thoughts and information are exchanged between European and non-European individuals, companies and other institutions. There is an on-line community at EuroCircle.com and an off-line community via it's events. With over 65 countries represented, and with events in thirteen cities, they are quickly becoming one of the de facto networking organizations for Europeans.
After the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Centers, which had people from 80 other countries, in addition to the United States, in the towers, the EuroCircle began getting hundreds of emails from other chapters expressing their sadness, sympathy and solidarity with New Yorkers. Some hoped the EuroCircle could help them locate missing loved ones. Many wanted to contribute to the relief efforts but didn't know which funds were reputable. As a result, the EuroCircle's event became a fundraiser as well. They collected donations from people and will send them on to one of the four leading established charities.
From the pretty views Central Park and midtown on the terrace, I chatted with some of the guests and EuroCircle director of logistics Victor Voloshin. He was quick to point out that they felt having the event as a benefit was very important. He also mentioned that religious and ethnic tolerance is a guiding principle of EuroCircle and now, more than ever, we must be vigilant about prejudices and not blindly attack Arab Americans, Middle Easterners or members of the Islamic faith. They will continue to provide a community and support network for Europeans and based on the strength in numbers last Thursday night, it seems they'll be going strong for a while.