Saudi Aramco Dinner Celebrates ‘Nation-to-Nation, People-to-People: The Human Connection’

As part of the activities surrounding the recent visit of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman ibn ‘Abd Al-‘Aziz Al Sa’ud to the United States, Saudi Aramco hosted a reception and dinner for 500 guests to commemorate the close ties between Saudi Arabia and the United States. The theme of the evening was “Nation to Nation, People to People: The Human Connection” and it complemented the event’s spirit of lasting friendship and trust built on a decades-long association. Saudi government officials, Aramco retirees and family members, and representatives of the U.S. academic, business, and diplomatic community, mixed and mingled during a pre-event reception while, around them, a photo gallery of key moments in Saudi-U.S. history were displayed. Also attending the festivities were special guests HE Ibrahim Al-Assaf, Minister of Finance, HE Adel Al-Jubeir, Minister of Foreign Affairs, HE Khalid A. Al-Falih, Minister of Health and Chairman of the Board of Saudi Aramco, HE Abdullatif Al-Othman, Governor of the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority, and retired Saudi Aramco CEOs Abdallah S. Jum‘ah and Frank Jungers. Jum‘ah and Jungers were asked to look back in time at Saudi-American relations and share their perspectives. Jungers, who came to Saudi Arabia in 1947, said close bonds between Americans and Saudis came about early on — out of necessity: “Aramco and the Saudi government grew up together.”. Understanding the human and physical environment in which Aramco was operating was a focus from “from day one,” said Jum‘ah. To support that, the company hired scholars in Arab studies right along with drillers. He said it was critical for individuals and companies to understand and respect the cultures of those with whom they would interact, adding that Saudi Aramco has achieved success because it has followed that policy. The second panel discussion brought Al-Falih and Al-Jubeir together to comment on the future of the U.S.-Saudi relationship. In his opening remarks, Al-Jubeir said King Salman’s meeting with President Barack Obama was “outstanding,” reflecting well on relations between the two nations over the previous 70 years: “It has grown by leaps and bounds, and the stage is now set for the next 70 years,” with new undertakings planned in the fields of health, education, and investment. In the field of energy supply, Al-Falih said the Kingdom remains “the anchor of global energy markets,” noting that U.S.-Saudi energy relationship had been one of evolution from the very beginning. He said Obama had praised Saudi Arabia’s “consistent policy of being a reliable supplier of oil”. In his closing remarks, Al-Jubeir said the U.S.-Saudi relationship remains solid, in part because of the “very unique” connections built over the years among Aramcons. “Ultimately, it’s not only about oil and trade and investment and the common interests that we have, it’s also about the people-to-people link that we have that very few people appreciate who are outside this relationship.”.