AI Connect is a first-class event that attracts valuation
and other real estate professionals from across the
country and around the world.
Plan ahead and save the date for Appraisal Institute’s
biggest event of the year.
• Network with your peers and other professionals.
• Earn state CE credit hours and AI CE credit points.
• Choose from dozens of exceptional education
• See exhibits of cutting-edge valuation products
• Attend the annual Appraisal Institute awards dinner.
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Save the Date!
July 27–29, 2015
Sheraton Dallas | Dallas, Texas
countries . The area, as we had discussed in
class, seems ripe for gentrification.
My sponsor, Fahad Alasim, executive secretary for Taqeem, took me out to dinner my
second night. After a typically late meal, we
walked through a park along the Red Sea and
passed two women dressed in traditional
abayas (outer cloaks). However, one was wearing a gray abaya and her face wasn’t covered by
a niqāb (a face veil that covers everything but
the eyes). Alasim explained that her lack of a
veil was frowned upon by most of society.
We passed them again later that evening
on the street, and they stopped us and asked
if I would take a picture with them. Based
on the reading I had done prior to my trip,
I knew that this was a very unusual request.
Women unaccompanied by their husbands
or a male relative traditionally are forbidden
from contact with another male outside the
home, and I was a tad nervous. I asked Alasim his advice and he said to take the picture.
The photograph shows a complete clash of
cultures — a man from the U. S. talking to a
partially veiled and seemingly single Saudi
woman is basically unheard of. I wonder
if the woman uploaded our picture to her
Facebook page to show just how reform-minded she is.
After a full t wo weeks in Saudi Arabia,
I would say the best part was the hospitality
I was shown. Their culture is vastly different
from ours, but I was totally blown away with
the treatment I received. I was taken out
to tremendous dinners at least every other
night at fabulous restaurants that, under
strict Muslim law, had “family” sections and
“men’s” sections. My favorite was a Yemeni
restaurant where Alasim and I sat on the
floor and shared a large plate of rice with our
right hand and sampled three types of meat
sauces. The bread was out of this world.
I’m happy my dual goals of teaching and
learning were achieved, and I think that the
very large distance bet ween our countries was
shortened just a bit. At least it was for me.
*Leslie P. Sellers, MAI, SRA; Charles T. Cowart, MAI; and Jay Massey, MAI,
SRA, AI-GRS, have also taught AI courses in the Persian Gulf.
Left: Students in my first Basic Appraisal
Principles class. Most are wearing traditional thawb (outer garment) and ghutra
(headdress). Below: It’s very unusual for a
Saudi woman to show her face in public,
much less request a picture with me or
any unknown man. Notice her friend on
her smartphone. These two appear to be