Keeping Active in Dubai
Having lived in Dubai since 2001, Waleed knows the city as if it were his own. His local knowledge and passion for bringing people together to share his interests have led him to become one of the most active InterNations Consuls worldwide.
When Waleed joined InterNations in 2012, the concept of InterNations Groups was still quite new. Many groups did not have Consuls and Waleed decided to breathe some life into the community by opening the InterNations Dubai Volleyball Group.
As he would learn, getting a group off the ground isn’t always easy. The most successful Group Consuls are those who persist in posting activities to get the group started, even if the first activities don’t have a high attendance rate. When you meet Waleed, you can quickly recognize that he is not the kind of person to give up easily.
“I still remember my first activity. It was me and 3 of my friends — that’s it! I remember my friends telling me to give up after this, but I knew if I persisted my group would be successful. The next day I thought ‘let’s give this another shot’. I posted my next activity, to which 12 people came — 2 full teams!”
From its humble beginnings, his volleyball group has grown to over 600 members and has activities almost weekly. Having brought together a strong contingent of players interested in volleyball, Waleed thought it was time to expand.
Waleed continued to try out new activities and new groups he was interested in. Two years later, he finds himself the Group Consul for 10 groups in Dubai: volleyball, bowling, tennis, badminton, water sports, boot camp, billiards, football, ping pong, and concerts & theaters.
Keeping 10 groups active (each with between 200 and 1200 members) is no small task. Waleed attributes his success to his enjoyment of bringing people together, planning and teamwork.
“As a Consul, you really need to be someone who enjoys socializing. You need to be active in posting activities and really make it your goal to ensure that the people who come feel at home”
“We have such a diverse expatriate population here with people representing every nationality. As a Group Consul and Newcomers’ Ambassador I have had the opportunity to meet so many interesting people through our activities and events. I enjoy meeting new members and helping them adjust to the culture here.”
“I tell people not to be afraid, embrace the culture and enjoy living in the best city on Earth!”
When asked what his key tips would be for a new Consul, Waleed doesn’t hesitate:
Do something you love. I always keep in mind that these activities are for me, not just for participants. If the activity you run is something you are passionate about, it won’t feel like hard work at all.
Plan in advance and make changes as you go. If you can see people don’t like something, make some changes and keep going.
Be patient and create an atmosphere at your activities that makes people want to come, and come back.
About Waleed Al-Taleb
Iraqi born Waleed Al-Taleb has lived in Dubai since 2001. He is currently an Industrial Factory Manager in Dubai and has held previous roles with the United Nations and World Health Organization. He describes Dubai as 'the best city on Earth' and looks forward to sharing his local knowledge with members at his activities.
Recent Activities organized by Waleed Al-Taleb,
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Facts & Figures
- 390 InterNations Communities worldwide
- 5,284 InterNations Consuls representing 162 nationalities
- 4,300 InterNations Groups worldwide for all kinds of interests
- 4,500 InterNations Activities per month across the globe