Join Steven Heydemann, Janet Wright Ketcham 1953 Professor in Middle East Studies and Professor of Government, on an exciting 11-day journey to The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia—a land of surprises and contrasts; where age-old traditions and values exist side by side with ultra-modern architecture and the latest technology.  Contemporary Saudi Arabia has been shaped by its Islamic heritage, its historical role as an ancient trade center, and its Bedouin traditions.  Yet, in a remarkably brief period of time, the Saudi people have taken these values and traditions and adapted them to the modern world. The evolving role of women is just one aspect of Saudi society little understood in the West.

Our trip begins in the capital city of Riyadh, located in the heartland of the country, and home to the Al Saud family, who have ruled the central Nejd region for centuries and the modern Kingdom since its formation. In Jeddah, our next destination we will visit Effat University, a private non-profit women’s university operating under the auspices of the King Faisal Charitable Foundation. A short flight then takes us to the city of Hail followed by an excursion into the Great Nafud Desert where T.E. Lawrence once fought in the Arab Revolt. We then cross the desert by train returning to Riyadh where we will be guests of a member of the House of Saud on his private family farm.

We anticipate that interest in this exciting new destination will be strong and the group size is limited to 20 travelers!

Download the full trip brochure

Trip Highlights

  • Explore the sites of the capital city of Riyadh including D’Iriyah, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the former home of the House of Al Saud, Fort Masmak and the D’Ira Souq
  • Enjoy thought provoking lectures by Smith Professor, Steven Heydemann, a political scientist who specializes in the comparative politics and the political economy of the Middle East
  • Meet with Khlood Aldukheil, former VP of the Women Business Council, the Chamber of Commerce, and an Executive Member of the National Committee for Women—established by the late King Abdullah for the inclusion of women in the private sector
  • Spend an evening with artist and gallery owner, Safeya Binzagr, the only artist in the Kingdom to have her own museum
  • Dine in a traditional Nejdi cuisine restaurant
  • Set out on a day trip to the Great Nafud Desert, an area that was visited by many famous explorers and writers such as Lady Anne Blunt and Getrude Bell

Smith Faculty Speaker

Steven Heydemann, Janet Wright Ketcham 1953 Professor in Middle East Studies and Professor of Government
View Smith Faculty Speaker Profile

Trip Details

  • Duration: 11 days
  • Activity Level: Moderately active; this trip does involve a certain amount of physical activity such as moderate walking, stair climbing, walking on uneven surfaces and getting in and out of boats. Travelers must be in good physical health in order to fully participate in the tour. Dress Code: Female travelers are required to wear an abaya, which will be provided by Authentic Asia. Headscarves must be worn at certain times only.
  • Cost: $7,950 based on double occupancy, based on double occupancy
  • Single Supplement: $1,050 per person (limited availability)
  • Deposit: $1,000, per person, payable to Authentic Asia Tours and Travel
  • Co-Sponsors: This is a Smith-only departure

Contact us for more information, or call Smith Travel at 800-225-2029.

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