The Arabian American Oil Company (Aramco) launched Aramco World in November 1949 as an interoffice newsletter that linked the company's US offices with "the field"—primarily Dhahran, in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia.
As Saudi oil took on greater global importance, the company's growth brought tens of thousands of Americans to Dhahran, and Aramco World grew into a bimonthly educational magazine styled along the lines of such popular US magazines as Life, Look and The Saturday Evening Post. Historical, geographical and cultural articles helped the American employees and their families appreciate an unfamiliar land.
Today, that educational orientation, and the goals of fostering cooperation and building mutual appreciation between East and West, remain unchanged.
Since the mid-1960's, the magazine has been aimed at readers outside as well as inside the company, worldwide. Although Saudi Arabia remains a frequent subject in its pages, articles have long spanned the Arab and Muslim worlds, past and present, with special attention to their interconnections with the cultures of the West.
Over five decades, the magazine's editors have worked out of five cities on three continents: New York, Beirut, The Hague, Leiden and Houston. Today, the magazine is published by Aramco Services Company on behalf of Saudi Aramco, since 1988 the national energy company of Saudi Arabia. With the July/August 2000 issue, Aramco World became Saudi Aramco World to reflect this relationship.
The print edition of Saudi Aramco World is still distributed six times a year, upon request and without charge, to some 150,000 subscribers in 130 countries. The electronic edition was launched with the January/February 2004 issue, and it is updated with each issue of the print edition.
Over the years, the magazine has earned dozens of awards for editorial, graphic, printing and interactive quality.
Its purpose, goal and hope remain education and the increase of cross-cultural understanding.
If you would like to read a more detailed account of the magazine's history, see "Aramco World Turns 50 ," published in November/December 1999.