June 2017 Chairman’s Message

Dear Fellow ABGR Members,
As summer approaches and I look back over our 2016-2017 season I am reminded of the wide range of ABGR events and initiatives over the past year, including:
  • 9 General Membership events (including with Ambassador Westphal and former Defense Secretary William Cohen);
  • 5 Meet Your Embassy events (Commercial Counsellor Doug Wallace, Deputy Chief of Mission Tim Lenderking, Consul General Virginia Ramadan, Political Counsellor John Godfrey, Defense Attaché Col. Abbas Dahouk);
  • 12 Issues Committee events (including former Saudi and U.S. Ambassadors to South Africa and Saudi Arabia respectively, various U.S. Government leaders and Yaroslav Trofimov, author of The Siege of Mecca);
  • 3 Defense & Security Committee events, organized by Kevin Darnell;
  • 5 Infrastructure Committee events (including visits to the GE/Tata/Aramco Women’s Outsourcing Center, the KAFD and the Saudi Council of Engineers), organized by Robert Ryan;
  • 3 Lawyers Committee events (Saudi Center for Commercial Arbitration. Clyde & Co. and Clifford Chance), organized in partnership with the Canadian Business Network;
  • A new Finance Committee led by Alan Lowe, and its first organizational meeting;
  • A meeting with leaders of sister business organizations representing the United Kingdom, German, French, Italian, Japanese, Korean and other expatriate business communities;
  • A meeting between representatives of the ABGR and Riyadh Chamber of Commerce boards;
  • Our annual weeklong Doorknock in Washington in cooperation with other regional AmChams, advocating a strengthening of the U.S./Saudi strategic partnership, business competitiveness and trade reforms;
  • Last, but by no means least, the very best and most successful Annual Golf Tournament in our history, a worthy foretaste of next year’s 25th Annual Golf Tournament!
Our board will continue to meet in smaller groups this summer to plan our program, mission and vision for the new year; considering, among other things, new ways of:
    • engaging membership more actively and effectively;
    • diversifying membership representation on your board;
    • mobilizing board members to work closely with general members on a broader range of new initiatives;
    • strengthening our already solid and expanding relationship with our Embassy;
    • reaching out more proactively and productively to sister organizations, both within Riyadh and the Kingdom and beyond;
    • organizing new sectoral committees, including proposals for committees for young professionals, women in business, food and agriculture, education and healthcare;
    • advocating pro-business reforms both back in Washington and here in the Kingdom, by helping our host nation implement the Vision 2030 reforms required to realize their inbound foreign investment goals; and
    • helping launch a sister social organization to offer American and other expatriate families opportunities to meet together on weekends and other services.
It has been an honor to serve the ABGR as Vice Chair and now as Chairman, and I look forward to working with each of you to make our coming 2017-2018 season the best ever.  
We value your participation and commitment; please let me know your ideas on how we can better serve the interests of the American business community generally, and how you would like to contribute personally to our success!

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About the Author

Chris Johnson

Active in the Kingdom since 1978, Chris Johnson is the founding partner of Johnson & Pump/Al-Sharif Law Office, based in Riyadh. chris@alshariflaw.com +966-11-462-5925