No two people have the same opinion about attending Saudi Aramco reunions so it’s hard to put into words what people feel like when they attend. The time that we all spent in Arabia is special and unique, unique to us. If you’ve never attended a reunion, you cannot know the feeling that comes over people as they begin to see friends or just others milling around wearing name tags.

2022 Highlights
2022 Highlights

People talk about places of which they’re all familiar. A hotel becomes less corporate when Aramcons are in the building. There is something to be said for people who play golf together on beautiful greens when they all previously played on sand and tar. Even someone you don’t know will have stories you can relate to about playing golf in Saudi Arabia. If you’re lucky you’ll meet someone who was there when they opened a golf course in Saudi Arabia.

As a former host, I can say that it is difficult for anyone to imagine the amount of work that goes into putting together a reunion. The major emphasis has to be on room reservations and reunion registration. Registration fees pay for all the extras that the reunion committee might provide, but most of the registration fees go towards dinners and happy hours. No one donates these events. It is no simple task and takes time, a sound commitment by the committee, and diplomatic skills when negotiating with hotel corporations. Everyone wants a contract. Everyone wants guarantees.

2018 Year in Review
2018 Year in Review

Activities round out the reunion playtime, but can only be formed when the committee knows who, and how many are coming.

As a Brat and annuitant, who has attended many reunions, I can vouch for the camaraderie and good feelings such events incur.

Normally, the reunion revolves around groups of friends from each district or department, but soon other Aramco friends are made based on living in Kingdom. Next thing you know, a new world opens up and things become even more comfortable! Mentioning the Commissary or Mail Center evokes memories and antidotes.

We are trying to reach those of you who think that a reunion may be a waste of time or too expensive and cannot possibly be of any interest. I submit that you are wrong and only by attending will you be able to see why.

The places chosen for these reunions can be a real “bone of contention” issue. Practicality rules these choices and the willingness of some person or group to host a HAFLA. It has become more expensive as the years pass, but we don’t want to lose reunions or call in professional event coordinators. Perhaps newly retired annuitants' involvement and a comprehensive planning binder will help.

We need continued collaboration with Aramco America (formally Aramco Services) to ensure that we keep up with Saudi Aramco’s and the Kingdom’s advances.

A brainstorming breakfast meeting can be arranged for those with input toward that goal. Please submit your ideas in writing, if you prefer. Watch for a specific time and place. Why not come along and see?

~Karen Fallon

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