Founder’s Day

Dhahran Women’s Group highlights international flavor for 75th Founders Day

“There is no goal:, the journey is a daily journey, taking advantage of all the opportunities …”

Dhahran Women’s Group highlights international flavor for 75th Founders Day

On Nov. 2, the Dhahran Women’s Group (DWG), the first and most popular Aramco self-directed group, celebrated the 75th Founders Day Celebration with an international themed event. All the attendees were invited to wear their traditional attire or their national colors. 


DWG president Dr. Basma Fadeel opened by briefly retracing the history of the organization, noting the seeds of DWG were planted when a small group of expatriate ladies started to informally meet and plan activities for themselves and for other women in the community. 


On Feb. 11, 1946, during its first official meeting, the DWG was founded. Since then, two other groups have grown from their association with the DWG: the “Garden Group” and the “Women Exchange Group.” These groups were created to offer membership services and information to the eligible female population of the Aramco community, to welcome newcomers, and to sponsor welfare, social, cultural, educational, and recreational activities. 


Since 1984, Building 1425 has been home to the DWG, popularly named the “Baker House” in memoriam for Nillie Baker, an active member and treasurer for the group through the 1970s and 1980s.


Rediscovering Aramco’s history

The morning continued with Alison Hooker, a well-known local historian who has passionately dedicated herself to the re-discovery of the history of the Aramco compound, spoke of some of DWG’s prominent personalities. A longtime active member of the DWG, her volunteering has greatly enriched the diversity and sharing of knowledge that characterize our community. 


Hooker has exemplified with her personal experience, telling those gathered that “there is no goal:, the journey is a daily journey, taking advantage of all the opportunities, especially those of confrontation with socio-cultural realities other than ours. The key is to open up, to welcome them, to look at them with different eyes, to have the courage to face them. It is a path that allows us to choose not necessarily the life that has been given to us, but to mark new steps for us.”


An international breakfast, a performance, traditional dress, and more

Next, guests attended an outdoor international breakfast held in the DWG back yard, allowing all guests to enjoy a warm open-air morning, with the easing of the restrictions due to COVID-19.


Gradually, the women were called to the meeting hall by the melodic and vibrant sound of a piano played by Nabila Shaya, accompanied by her wonderful voice, as she sang her own composition, “Khallik.” This gifted artist, musician, and singer movingly entertained the guests. 


The overall effect provided by the ensemble of the various traditional dresses was extremely bright and lively. One by one, all the ladies paraded to show their dresses and the extreme variety in the mix of fabrics, colors, and accessories.


Among them, Mounirah Al-Ashgar could not be missed, as has been her constant presence of the DWG over the years, a Saudi lady who has been dedicated to collecting arts, crafts, and artworks of Saudi heritage. Her elegant, embroidered dress was of particular note as it stood out when worn with her traditional Saudi jewelry.


The morning ended with the invitation for all the attending previous presidents to participate with the current president, in the event of cutting a cake, custom-made for the occasion.


Following the formalities, the event became purely a party, the volume went up, and women from all corners of the world danced together. The words taking shape in the action of these ladies, as they danced side by side, without differences to enjoy this joyful multicultural moment.



Past presidents of the Dhahran Women’s Group pose for a photograph at Baker House, home to the group.


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