On Tuesday 29 September the Saudi British Society held its Annual General Meeting via Zoom, hosted by Chairman Sir William Patey. During the meeting, Sir William gave his report on the Society’s activities – which have continued in strong vein in a virtual format – before Hon. Treasurer Karen Worcester gave her report on the Society’s financial position. At the meeting, two new trustees were accepted onto the Board of Trustees – Dr Najah Alotaibi and Dr Wareed Alenaini – and their appointments were roundly welcomed by the rest of the Society.
Following the formal AGM, Saudi British Society trustee Caroline Montagu gave a presentation on her recent trip to Saudi Arabia. The aim of her visit was to research Saudi Arabia’s cultural scene and identify opportunities for the Society to present elements of this diversity to a wider audience in the UK.
After explaining key elements of her trip, Caroline presented a slideshow of pictures from her trip. The montage reflected the full array of Saudi culture, from traditional architecture in Jeddah’s balad and the heritage sites at Mada’in Saleh to intricate beadwork on clothing and modern sculpture and art.
Caroline spoke movingly of the effect of this diversity on her personal perceptions of the wave of change flowing over the Kingdom. The artists – many of which Caroline had the fortune to meet – and their work demonstrate the skills and changing attitudes of a new generation of Saudi youth, which are markedly different from previous generations. This artistic innovation points to a wider cultural influence and movement that is under-appreciated in the West.