The National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations, in partnership with the Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission and Saudi Arabian Ministry of Higher Education, escorted a delegation of Model Arab League students on a cultural immersion study visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, December 27, 2012-January 7, 2013. During the course of the visit, the students met Saudi Arabian educators, business representatives, civil society leaders, and American diplomats in addition to visiting numerous sites of cultural and historical interest. The study visit provided the young American leaders a hands-on experience in the Arab world that few others their age have had.
As the 33rd Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Ministerial and Heads of State Summit approaches on December 24-25, 2012 in Manama, Bahrain, the Arabia, the Gulf, and the GCC Blog presents for reference a listing of GCC-related posts from the past several months.
- “Regional Geo-Political Dynamics: The Arabian Peninsula (GCC Countries and Yemen)” at the 2012 Arab-U.S. Policymakers Conference (December 13, 2012)
- Joint Communique from the U.S.-GCC Strategic Cooperation Forum (October 4, 2012)
- US and GCC Sign Framework Agreement for Trade and Economic Cooperation (October 2, 2012)
- Gulf Cooperation Council Trade Facts & Figures Infograph (August 30, 2012)
- “A Window onto the Gulf Cooperation Council” – Remarks by His Excellency Abdul Latif Bin Rashid Al Zayani (July 11, 2012)
- U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Report Identifies Security Challenges in the Persian Gulf (July 10, 2012)
- John Duke Anthony Speaks With KSA2 About the GCC (June 19, 2012)
- Remarks on GCC Economic Issues by Dr. Odeh Aburdene (June 15, 2012)
- The Future Significance of the Gulf Cooperation Council (June 7, 2012)
- The Gulf Cooperation Council at 31: Implications of Trends and Indications for GCC and US Interests (May 30, 2012)
- Strategic Dynamics of Iran-GCC Relations (May 11, 2012)
In the past half century, no Arab sub-regional inter-state organization has been as successful as the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), established in May 1981. Next week, Bahrain will host the 33rd GCC Ministerial and Heads of State Summit in Manama (December 24-25, 2012). In an effort to explore how the GCC and its six member-countries (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE) achieved what they have accomplished, the Arabia, the Gulf, and the GCC Blog presents a 2006 article from Dr. John Duke Anthony, Founding President and CEO of the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations and the only American to have been invited to each of the GCC’s Ministerial and Heads of State Summits since the GCC’s inception, which examines some of the dynamics surrounding the GCC’s formation and strategic position.
- John Duke Anthony – “The Future Significance of the Gulf Cooperation Council” (.pdf)
- John Duke Anthony – “The Intervention in Bahrain through the Lenses of its Supporters” (.pdf)
- John Duke Anthony – “The 2010 GCC Summit in Perspective: A Conversation with John Duke Anthony”
- John Duke Anthony – “Strategic Dynamics of Iran-GCC relations” (.pdf)
Dr. John Duke Anthony, Dr. Abdel Aziz Abu Hamad Aluwaisheg, Dr. Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, and Dr. Abdullah K. Al-Shayji gave remarks on “Policymaking Opportunities and Lessons Learned From Regional Geo-Political Dynamics: The Arabian Peninsula (GCC Countries and Yemen)” at the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations’ 21st Annual Arab-U.S. Policymakers Conference. The conference, on the theme “Arab-U.S. Relations Amidst Transition within Constancy: Implications for American and Arab Interests and Policies,” was held October 25-26, 2012 at the Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center in Washington, DC.
Later in December the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations will escort a delegation of student leaders from the Council’s Model Arab League program on a cultural immersion study visit to Saudi Arabia. The visit will provide the young American leaders a hands-on experience in the Arab world that few others their age have had.
The National Council, in partnership with the Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission (SACM) and the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE), organized and escorted a delegation of ten Model Arab League students on a cultural immersion study visit to Saudi Arabia, December 27, 2011 to January 9, 2012. The visit provided the young American leaders a hands-on experience in the Arab world that few others their age have had.
In the 2010-2011 academic year, nearly 28,000 Saudi Arabian students, forty percent of them females, were enrolled in American universities across the United States. Accompanying them were more than 40,000 spouses and dependents. In marked contrast, fewer than fifty American students in U.S. institutions of higher education were among those privileged over the same period of time in having a firsthand university level educational experience in Saudi Arabia.
In an effort to help narrow this “knowledge and understanding gap,” the National Council has partnered with the SACM and the MOHE. The goal: to provide an empirical educational introduction to the kingdom’s culture and society for a select group of American students who have performed exceptionally well in the Council’s Model Arab League student leadership development program. During the course of the visit, the students met Saudi Arabian educators, business representatives, civil society leaders, and American diplomats in addition to visiting numerous sites of cultural, developmental, and historical interest.
HRH Prince Turki Al Faisal delivered a keynote address at the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations’ 21st Annual Arab-U.S. Policymakers Conference. He was introduced by Dr. John Duke Anthony, Founding President & CEO of the National Council. The conference, on the theme “Arab-U.S. Relations Amidst Transition within Constancy: Implications for American and Arab Interests and Policies,” was held October 25-26, 2012 at the Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center in Washington, DC.
Dr. John Duke Anthony – Founding President & CEO, National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations
HRH Prince Turki Al Faisal – Chairman, King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; former Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the United Kingdom and to the United States of America; former Director General, General Intelligence Directorate, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
For more information visit the Annual Arab-U.S. Policymakers Conference homepage.
By John Mulholland
By whatever genetic twist that has been in play, I have always been interested in other people’s cultures, countries, languages, and histories. At age ten a teacher remarked, “that’s as far away as Yemen.” I flattered myself that I knew every country on the globe but this was one I had obviously missed. I ran to the Atlas to fill the void. Although I found Yemen and its nearby countries of interest, I could hardly have imagined that, thirteen years later, I would dedicate most of my adult life to the Arab world and various aspects of the Arab-U.S. relationship.
At the age of seventeen, I was fortunate to spend over a year traveling around Mexico and Central America. The experience inspired me, for the first time, to learn a language and assimilate a culture. I joined the Army at eighteen years of age and was stationed in Livorno, Italy. At the time, I was a fanatical bicycle rider trying hard to be the first Lance Armstrong. After my Army stint I remained in Italy to race but finally realized, sadly, that I was not built to be a first rate professional rider. Even so, I gained another language and knowledge of another culture.
By chance, the headquarters for Middle East operations of the US Army Corps of Engineers was located at the Army base where I had served in Italy. They offered me a position in their Jeddah office running their high frequency communications. By then I had read everything I could find by the great mid-twentieth century traveler and explorer in the Arab world, Wilfred Thesiger, who stoked my romantic interest. I also read everything else I could find on the region. I already knew the general geography, a little history of Saudi Arabia and the Arab-Israeli conflict, but none of this prepared me for Beirut, where I landed in October, 1968 during what in retrospect was viewed by many as the city’s golden age in the modern era. Nothing could have prepared me for the kaleidoscope of cultures, cuisines, and languages I found there, all picture postcard framed by the Mediterranean Sea in front and the terraced mountains behind. I said to myself, “If this is the Middle East, I’ll take it.”
Only a few days later I landed in Riyadh. If Beirut was filled with Western influences that I was familiar with, Riyadh was different. I was hardly put off, I was ecstatic. Now, after Latin America and Italy, I felt prepared to tackle another culture and language. I quickly found a superb classical Arabic teacher who within a month had taught me to write, basic grammar, and the beginnings of Gulf dialect. In those days, Riyadh was still a city constructed mainly of mud brick dwellings, with a road into the desert to the airport lined by Egyptian-built ministerial offices. On weekends and holidays, I used every spare minute to explore Riyadh, the central province of Najd, and also the Eastern Province, center of the country’s massive energy reserves.
All too soon, I was moved to my permanent assignment in Jeddah. Even though Riyadh was the capital of the kingdom, all the embassies and most of the foreign companies were in Jeddah. (The Corps of Engineers was the first foreign concern allowed to be established in Riyadh). In Jeddah I was fortunate to find an office of only five people and was able to avoid having to live in a corporate compound. If Americans or any other foreigners wanted a social life, they had to go out and make it. I soon found that Jeddah offered incredible opportunities. Many of our government’s best diplomats and Arabists served in the US Embassy in Jeddah in the 1960s and 70s. People like Hermann Eilts, Ray Close, Charles Cecil, Bill Stoltfuz, and, to my mind and many others, the most remarkable of them all, Hume Horan, who would become a lifelong friend and mentor, were stationed there.