On Sunday, July 10, 2011, members of the Unitarian/Universalist Church of Hot Springs Village, Arkansas presented a program discussing the history, geography, religion, and politics of the Middle East.

Anais Troadec, Brenda Ball Tirrell, and Carl Ford
Anais Troadec, Brenda Ball Tirrell,
and Carl Ford

“The Unitarian/Universalist Church does ‘Insight’ programs twice a month, and I was asked to do this since the Middle East is not only a fascinating part of the world but has recently become more than front page and 24-hour news coverage due to Arab Spring protests,” explained former Aramcon Brenda Ball Tirrell in an email to Aramco ExPats. Brenda lived in Saudi Arabia from 1978 to 1996, working as a junior high school teacher of Language Arts and History in Abqaiq and Ras Tanura. Other panelists were Anais Troadec, who worked for the United Nations in the former Soviet Union for several years, and with Muslim women for Winrock International in Mali, and Carl Ford, who worked for the State Department and had many assignments in the Middle East.

Exploring the Middle East Collection
Exploring the Middle East Collection

The purpose of this presentation was to bring historical perspective, some current political perspective, and some information on women's issues of the region to the church community. “We felt we were very well received from the questions asked and the number of attendees. Our church community is small, but our attendance that day for a summer program was quite well attended with approximately 90 people,” Brenda said. As part of the presentation, Brenda also shared a collection of items she amassed during her 19 years in Saudi Arabia and surrounding regions. Enjoy some photos of her artifacts in an Aramco ExPats Gallery:
Exploring the Middle East Presentation
. Aramco ExPats is launching a new feature on our website, Speakers Bureau, which will allow ExPats to download materials for presentations like Brenda’s about the history, culture, geography, and industry of Saudi Arabia to share with your own community. Please stay tuned for more information about this program.