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Serendipitously, around this time I had the opportunity to accompany my husband, his firm, and the U.

S.-Saudi Business Council on a trip to Saudi Arabia to explore joint venture activities between Saudi and northern Virginia companies.

None of these stories and reports would dissuade me, however, but rather strengthened my resolve to see this mysterious place and form my own opinions and judgments.

Fascinated by, yet somewhat wary, myself, of, the images of long black abayas, white thobes, and bustling marketplaces in this distant land, I was determined to find out why my western compatriots and Iwere so puzzled by, and, circumspect about, this Gulf nation.

Shortly after arriving in Saudi Arabia, andwhen attending a Riyadh Chamber of Commerce meeting, not only was I, the lone woman in the room, swiftly guided to a seat by a Saudi official alongside the American contingency of businessmen, but I was encouraged by another Saudi representative to launch the session by disclosing my initial impressions of Saudi Arabia.

After divulging my views, which were direct, from the heart, and included an acknowledgement of several gracious Saudi gentlemen who in the early days of our trip aided my efforts in trying to find a job in the Kingdom, I received an ovation by the Saudi delegates.

Actually, not an easy undertaking as my husband was told by U. officials from the organization before the trip was underway that there was no way that I, a woman, would be able to go on the trip. I wondered if this was a harbinger of things to come, and whether I would ever make it to Saudi Arabia.

Fortunately, my husband, undaunted, was able to exercise sufficiently persuasive measures, (indicating he wouldn’t go without me), allowing me to join the group in mid-February 2000 as an auxiliary member.

Bdend-1g /* Trending Now */ /* Center Rail */ #ya-center-rail .profile-banner-default .ya-ba-title #Stencil . Bgc-lgr #ya-best-answer, #ya-qpage-msg, #ya-question-detail, li.ya-other-answer .tupwrap .comment-text /* Right Rail */ #Stencil . Bxsh-003-prpl #yai-q-answer, #ya-trending, #ya-related-questions h2. Fw-300 .qstn-title #ya-trending-questions-show-more, #ya-related-questions-show-more #ya-trending-questions-more, #ya-related-questions-more /* DMROS */ .I was similarly treated when we met with Saudi officials in the east coast city of Dhahran, and Jeddah on the shores of the Red Sea.I was gratifiedby the deferential response I received from the Saudi men I met on that trip, treatment which flew in the face of all that I had heard before about the Kingdom.Being employed at the massive 800-bed hospital, (served by 8,000 employees), allowed me the unique opportunity to work with, and come to know, Saudi men and women from a professional and more personal standpoint.The Saudi women, especially, were well-informed,dedicated to a high level work effort, and very appreciative of, and determined to use, their advanced degrees to better themselves in the work world and their lives outside the hospital.

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