UCM's diversity shown on Saudi Arabia Day

Written by Muleskinner Staff

Story by Courtney Muns, for The Muleskinner—
One of the things that makes UCM unique is its successful international program, and from Asia to Africa, UCM welcomes foreign students with open arms.
In addition to welcoming and educating these students, UCM has also established a day for a certain international group; Saudi Arabia Day.
Oct. 18 was UCM’s 13th Saudi Arabia Day, as Saudis in the community, as well as other students, faculty and members of the community, gathered in the Archives and Museum in the JCK Library on campus.
The president and vice president of the Saudi student organization were in attendance, as well as many other Saudi students and Warrensburg citizens.
Photographs were taken, traditional food was served, Saudis were writing attendees’ names in Arabic, and a brief history of the day’s origin was given.
Saudi Arabia Day was first established in 2000, and its purpose is to not only celebrate the Saudi culture, but to also celebrate the large collection of Saudi history, such as artifacts and artwork, that was donated to UCM from Paul and Colleen Nance.
Amber Clifford, the curator of collections in the Archives and Museum, has cared for, housed and researched the Saudi collection for years.
She helped get everything set up in all of the glass cases on display for Saudi Arabia Day.
“This day provides an opportunity for all students to come together,” she said. “It’s very exciting for them.”
Aside from Oct. 18 being special for the Saudis, it was a special day this year for another reason as well.
“This event is typically held in the ‘read and relax’ area of the library, but we wanted to recreate ’12 Years Later,’” said John W. Sheets, former professor and director of the Archives and Museum. “ The photo taken of the Saudis was taken in the exact same place that Saudi Arabia Day was started. We wanted to communicate this to Paul Nance to celebrate his donation of the collection and the creation of this day.”
Sheets gave a small speech to commence the day and explained a little bit about Nance’s importance and discoveries. Sheets also told how Nance lived in Saudi Arabia for 30 years, working for the oil company Aramco. Nance later returned to Kansas City, then came to Warrensburg, and finally donated the collection of memorabilia that he had acquired after so many years in Saudi Arabia.
Saud Alabdulwahid, president of the Saudi student organization, and Faisal Alyahya, vice president, explained how important Saudi Arabia Day is to them.
“Some of the collection is really rare. We feel special here and sometimes it’s helpful to push away feeling homesick. We have the opportunity to show other nationalities about our culture,” Alabdulwahid said.
About 60 students are part of the Saudi student organization, and they have weekly events such as BBQs and soccer games.
They welcome everyone to participate. For more information contact Saud Alabdulwahid at (267) 255-7956.