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Newsletter 09/2020

A Message from The ABCD Board | Matt Burn, AFL Middle East


Dear ABCD Members and Community, 

Well what an interesting summer in Dubai - still going I know, but Sep 22 is just around the corner! If you were one of the lucky ones to escape the desert for a small break, I salute you; but I am sure there were many like myself, who have been here since March with my family and trying to make the best out of a bad situation. 

My daughter is almost two years old so I did not experience the home-schooling setup, which then rolled into 2 months of school holidays, but to all the families that went through that: A big WELL DONE!

From a personal view we decided to make the most of our Summer in Dubai and explore things we had never done. It really made us look locally and appreciate what we have in our own backyard, where we would normally be looking internationally. Thanks to the ABCD team who assembled a raft of staycation deals including everything from accommodation, to dining and a bit of retail therapy and some bouncing thrown in as well. If you haven’t had a chance to visit the new BOUNCE-X at Festival City then head out to Festival City Mall and experience the world’s first Freestyle Terrain Park!

I managed to get away for a couple of staycations with my family and it was every bit as relaxing as jumping on a plane to somewhere outside the UAE. We are spoilt here for resort options, even in the centre of Dubai and it was great to have the chance to experience them.

Sadly, this Summer also brought tragedy to our close neighbours, Beirut. Like the UAE, Australia and Lebanon share a special bond with many Lebanese Australians feeling the pain of losing loved ones and seeing the capital city decimated. ABCD Board member Adam Malouf was just outside Beirut at the time of the blast and has written a piece about that day in this edition of the John Dory. It was inspiring to witness the fund-raising efforts of people like Naim Madaad from Gates Hospitality, who organised the Cook for Beirut dinners at both Reform and Publique in partnership featuring several great chefs, including Lebanese Australian Greg Malouf. Although may challenges are ahead for Lebanon, I am sure the people of Beirut will recover given their indomitable spirit.

Looking ahead we are hoping to be able to bring you some face to face events alongside our line-up of webinars. If you haven’t had the chance to complete our short survey please do take a few minutes to do so; there is one for MEMBERS and one for the COMMUNITY. You have the chance to win a beautiful dinner for 2 plus help us deliver more of what you want. 

Some of the events we have lined up include...


Since March many businesses have had to abandon their 2020 forecasts, overhauled their processes, examined their cashflows and virtually re-invent themselves in some cases. Understanding how the pandemic has impacted business finance and what the legacy will be for the future will be discussed as we Take 30 with the Managing Director of Business Banking for RAKBANK, Dhiraj 


With the prospect of tax reform and economic stimulus packages being announced the big question will be whether Australian expats are going to be the purse that funds Canberra’s spending packages or will a expat friendly budget be announced. In this live webinar we will run through the policy announcements and how they may or may not affect Australian expats. 


We have also joined forces with UOWD on their Coffee with the Experts series kicking off on October 5th with a discussion on Media with Taha Benazoun, Head of Retail Marketing (MENA) for Jaguar Land Rover

It’s not all about webinars however, and as more live events are returning to Dubai, we too are looking forward to being able to host events before 2020 is over.

One for the golfers (or hackers, like me) out there…

The Battle of the Business Councils Golf Day is back, bigger and better than before. We take on the British, American, Canadian and New Zealand Business Councils to see who can take out the Tournament this year. Bookings and Sponsorships are available, so please reach out to the office as there are limited slots for the afternoon shotgun start!

Lastly, I hope to catch up with you all on the Grand Final Weekend Bonanza! The AFL (Saturday October 24) and NRL (Sunday October 25) will be running back to back grand finals. The AFL have moved the big day to the GABBA for the first time in history and this also means the game will be on over lunchtime in Dubai, a big plus for us all.

Thanks for your time and hope you and all your families are safe and well.

Matt Burn


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