Skal International Dublin celebrated its 70th Anniversary in great style with dinner in the Main Dining Hall of Trinity College Dublin, hosted by the Club President, Jim Flannery. The Club was honoured by the presence of the World President of Skal International, Susanna Saari, who flew in from Helsinki for the event. National President of Skal International Ireland, Margaret Cahill from the Killarney Club, attended the dinner.
Susanna Saari is the fifth lady to be elected World President of Skal International. Following her graduation, Susanna spent some years in the industry, including two years in the Middle East with Hyatt Hotels. Here she gravitated towards personnel development and research, and she is now a senior lecturer in hotel management, health and well-being tourism in Turku University. In recent years Susanna has also project managed research teams on destination and spa management and e-learning.
Jim Flannery said: “Skal International was formed in 1932 in Paris. The instigator of that event was Florimond Volckaert, now known as the father of Skal. Thirty-six clubs were formed in the next few years, mainly in Europe.
In 1939 World War Two intervened and Skal went into semi-hibernation until 1948. In 1948, Dublin was the first post-war club to be formed. One of the founding members was George Volckaert, son of Florimond. George was then the Sabena Airlines Manager in Ireland.”
Today Skal International has 14,00 members in 355 clubs in 83 countries.
Jim added: “Our Dublin club has, as many European clubs have, experienced a decline in membership. I am happy to say this decline has been halted, but we have much work to do to attract more new young members. Modern, instant and ever evolving communications are now expected within club membership and within the international Skal family. We are working on our systems and look forward to the outcome of the work being done under Susanna’s presidency to upgrade the headquarters’ systems, bringing our international family closer together.”