Sunday, March 25, 2007

PRESS RELEASE: American World War II Pilot honored by Saudi Arabia

Captain Joe Grant Honored in the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia

WASHINGTON, March 24 /PRNewswire/-- His Excellency Adel A. Al-Jubair, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the United States, in partnership with Friends of Saudi Arabia (FSA), presented and honored Captain Joe Grant with Friends of Saudi Arabia's 2007 Hart Award.

"In Saudi Arabia we have a saying," said His Excellency Mr. Al-Jubair, "fire warms the body, the body and friendship warms the heart." In the first public address since he was appointed Ambassador in February, Mr. Al-Jubair painted a vivid picture of the friendship shared between President Franklin D. Roosevelt and King Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia.

Following his remarks, Mr. Al-Jubair congratulated Captain Grant on a "well deserved award." Captain Joe Grant was recognized for his longstanding contributions to fostering Saudi-U.S. relations. Named after late Ambassador Parker T. Hart, the Award recognizes an individual's achievements in fostering friendship, goodwill and mutual understanding between the United States and Saudi Arabia.

Mr. Joe Grant, the 99 year old World War II veteran and pilot, was the original pilot of the DC-3 that was given to King Abdulaziz as a special gift from President Franklin Roosevelt in 1945. Captain Grant stayed in Saudi Arabia as the first airline pilot for King Abdulaziz and was instrumental in the establishment of Saudi Arabian Airlines.

"Being in Saudi Arabia is a part of your life that makes your life," said Captain Grant. "Warmth, friendship and feeling for one another -- that is Saudi Arabia. The great King Abdulaziz had a vision of friendship, and it is that vision and friendship that we, as Americans, want to be a part of."

Mrs. Jane Smiley Hart, 2005 Hart Award precipitant and wife of Ambassador Parker T. Hart, joined The Embassy of Saudi Arabia and FSA in the presentation of the 2007 Hart Award. "I went there by accident and loved it," reminisced Mrs. Hart. "Saudi Arabia was so special to me and touched my life in so many ways; I am honored to have gotten the opportunity to go there."

Present for the presentation of the Hart Award were members of the diplomatic core, US Department of State, Royal Norwegian Embassy, Embassy of Iraq, Embassy of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Embassy or Chile, Embassy of Tunisia, Kuwait Information Services, Aramco, World Bank, Former US Consul General, Middle East Institute, among many other high profile personnel and organizations.

In closing, Mr. Grant addressed His Excellency Adel A. Al-Jubair, "Thank you Mr. Ambassador. Thank you for being my friend and our friend as Americans. I hope you don't mind that I have adopted you into my circle of friends."

The event marked the opening of the photography exhibition hosted by the Embassy or Saudi Arabia entitled: "Yesterday and Today." The exhibition consists of photographs of Saudi Arabia taken by Captain Grant in 1945 and contemporary photographs of Saudi Arabia taken by photographer and filmmaker Bruce Wendt in 2006. The exhibition will remain on display at the Saudi Embassy until April 6, 2007.

About FSA: Friends of Saudi Arabia is an apolitical, secular, educational, non-profit organization that serves to build bridges of goodwill and understanding between Saudi Arabia and the international community. Events hosted by Friends of Saudi Arabia serve as a tool for nurturing dialogue, debate, alliance building and networking opportunities between people of diverse backgrounds with hopes to dispel misconceptions, establish friendships, and inspire global understanding and exchange. Friends of Saudi Arabia aims to promote better "people to people" understanding as well as bridging social and cultural gaps.

For information of Friends of Saudi Arabia visit

Event Detailed Information: Date: Thursday, March 22, 2007 Time: 3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. Where: The Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia 601 New Hampshire Avenue, NW Washington, D.C. 20037 Contact: Hazami Barmada Director, Public Relations & Outreach Friends of Saudi Arabia Office: (202) 558-7504 Cell: (901) 219-2041 Fax: (202) 448-1392

SOURCE Friends of Saudi Arabia -0-
03/24/2007 /CONTACT: Hazami Barmada, Director, Public Relations & Outreach,
Friends of Saudi Arabia, Office: +1-202-558-7504, Cell: +1-901-219-2041, Fax: +1-202-448-1392,

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