King Abdulaziz bin Abdulrahman Al-Saud founded modern day Saudi Arabia on Sep. 23, 1932. On this day we celebrate our National Day, a day of pride for all Saudis. Our country achieved great feats in a very short time. King Abdulaziz united a fragile country and build one of the fastest growing economies in the world. When oil was discovered eight years after Saudi Arabia was founded, it became a major player in politics and economics.
Last week I started writing a piece about our National Day, and I wanted to write about how our youth would celebrate it. In the Kingdom, the youth will drive around the streets, flying the Saudi flag, singing and dancing. Later on, I decided to write about how our youth living abroad are celebrating it. How would they present the history of Saudi Arabia to the people abroad?
Just when I had put down the main points for the article, I received an e-mail from Saleh Hunaitem Al-Ghamdi, a Saudi Aramco employee. His e-mail was full of many encouraging stories about what Saudi students and trainees have done while in Houston, Texas, to give the American instructors and their classmates a better idea of the Saudi culture. Saudi Aramco-Total Petrochemical Company (SATORP) sent the trainees to Port Arthur, Texas for an on-the-job training.
The Saudi trainees decided to have an open introduction party for the American staff. Many activities took place. They played the Saudi national anthem, drank Arabic coffee, ate traditional Saudi food and danced a traditional Saudi dance. The students were there for three months, but the best impression the students made in Port Arthur was during the party they threw for everyone. All had a good time, and a show of patriotism was the best impression the students gave to instructors and staff.
Celebrating Saudi National Day abroad is a remarkable and joyful event for Saudi students, especially in the US. The genuine love for a country is an amazing sensation. And when you are celebrating your National Day abroad, then it becomes a different feeling, because it reminds us of our homeland and families whom we miss.
I saw many Saudi students at American campuses that initiated National Day celebrations on their own. I met two Saudi students, Faris Alsaydalani and Abdullah Alatiq, at George Mason University in Virginia.
They told me they started preparations to celebrate Saudi National Day and had invited many of their classmates from different nationalities. Saudi students mark this day as an opportunity for public relations and to speak about Saudi Arabia and its culture.
However, with the celebrations there are certain duties which young Saudi men and women abroad have to fulfill. The young Saudis have to know that showing patriotism by celebrating National Day must be in parallel with their hard work. Saudi Arabia is in need of highly qualified graduates to run the complex infrastructure in many areas of the Kingdom. Patriotism is also proving others your seriousness in pursuing higher education and potential for hard work. Upright behavior is another way to show how patriotic you are.
When you treat people of other cultures with integrity and respect, they will respect you and respect your culture, and will gladly join you in celebrating your National Day.