This post is for those of you who don't know why I'm going to Saudi Arabia, or didn't quit understand it when I explained it to you. In early October I found out that I was invited to participate in the Saudi Arabia Exchange Fellowship. The National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations (NCUSAR) sponsors the fellowship for Model Arab League alumni (I participated in Model Arab League last Fall 2012) in collaboration with the Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission to the U.S. and the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Higher Education. Ten students from across the country are selected for the fellowship which lasts for a year. The fellowship includes an all-expense-paid study visit to Saudi Arabia from December 28th to January 8th. After the trip participants spend their fellowship year carrying out events and programs to share their experiences in Saudi Arabia with their respective communities.
The statement of purpose for the program has a more eloquent description:
"While thousands of Saudi Arabian students visit and study in the United States each year, very few American students have a reciprocal opportunity. As a result, the average Saudi Arabian citizen knows a great deal about American culture, economics, government, etc. while Americans remain uninformed of the nuances, intricacies, and even basic details of a country of such strategic importance and interest to the United States, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The Saudi Arabia Fellowship was formed to help remedy this shortcoming and enhance knowledge and understanding of Saudi Arabia among America’s future leaders and general public."
For my family and friends, I hope that you can keep up with my trip from this blog! This was the best way I could think of for reaching as many of you as possible. I apologize in advance for the number of inexcusable spelling and grammar errors that will inevitably follow. I'm not actually aware of how much free time I'll have on the trip for blogging let alone proofreading (a task that I already find most unpleasant). I can only hope that you ignore my graceless writing and actually learn something about Saudi Arabia from this silly, self-important blog.