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VDI circles of friends better networked and integrated

VDI Netzwerk International

German engineers who live and work abroad like to keep in touch with each other and their colleagues back home through the friendship circles of the VDI, a German engineering knowledge forum. But also colleagues from neighbouring European countries working in Asia, America and Africa appreciate the partnership with the VDI. Generally, the VDI friendship circles helps all these engineers deal with interdisciplinary issues and quickly deliver reliable technical solutions. The VDI supports German engineers during cultural integration in foreign countries and helps them to maintain contact with Germany. 

In order to solve global tasks – for example in the areas of climate change, raw materials, health, etc. – international networking is not only necessary but of great importance, especially given the current deglobalisation tendencies that have been reinforced by the COVID pandemic. In a network such as that provided by the VDI, information about local conditions and cultural experiences are easily exchanged. The VDI helps its partners establish contact with universities and other training centres, the authorities and non-governmental organisations and find local job opportunities. In addition, the VDI helps with communication in the native language/s. About 3,500 members make use of VDI friendship circles in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, France, Italy, North America, the Republic of South Africa, Romania and Spain. 
In October 2021, the VDI Netzwerk International was established in an attempt to integrate the friendship circles into the VDI association structure and give them voting rights. The VDI Netzwerk International holds the same status as a district association and has its own constitution. The VDI Netzwerk International is chaired by Walter Brand (Dipl.-Ing.), chairperson of the Italian circle. Christopher Witrin (Dipl.-Ing.), chairperson of the South African circle, is the vice president, and Claas-Jürgen Klasen (Dr.-Ing.), member of the Asian VDI board, is the treasurer. 

Digitisation boosted the establishment of the Netzwerk, enabling, among other things, digital meetings and networking without the time and effort required by travel. 
The founders of the Netzwerk are confident it will further enhance the existing good image of German engineering abroad. The Netzwerk will facilitate communication with and manage demands from local authorities and help maintain existing and set new technical standards. In addition, the Netzwerk will host educational events, partner with the German Chambers of Commerce Abroad and expand collaboration with other associations and organisations, both local and foreign.
Aiming to promote networking among the existing VDI circles of friends, the Netzwerk also plans to involve members from countries without these circles. As a first step, a simple communication platform will be made available where advertisements for upcoming events such as lectures and workshops as well as reports on experiences from everyday life abroad can be posted. It is hoped that this platform will attract the attention of exchange students, grow awareness of and further expand the circles of friends.

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