ME Region Priorities: Young Pros, Students

It is my pleasure to introduce myself as the new AAPG Middle East Region president (2011-13).

I spent the first 25 years of my career attending – but not actively participating in – AAPG annual meetings. However in the last six years, in addition to my academic and consulting work in the region, I have started professional duties within the AAPG with colleagues from Saudi Aramco who already are involved in this kind of professional activity.

These longtime friends first suggested I accept a position with the committee formed by AAPG for the Middle East region. Two years later I was nominated to serve as a member of the advisory council for two years. This provided me with the opportunity and great pleasure to participate as the AAPG Middle East representative and work with many talented people.

At the previous Middle East council election I emerged as president-elect (2009-11), thanks to the Middle Eastern members who voted for me.

Indeed, for me the most profound experience I have had in my long administrative and academic career has been to serve as president of Middle East Region for the AAPG. This caps my 32-year-career with experience in oil industry and academia, both as professor and dean of the College of Science at UAE University, which over the last 25 years enabled me to publish more than 90 scientific papers, over 100 abstracts and act as author and editor of eight books in the field of petroleum geology, water resources and environment – as well as work with our professional Association.

I joined AAPG in 1981 when I was a graduate student at University of South Carolina, and published my first paper in the BULLETIN (as single author). Over these years I found AAPG provided me with a great means to interact and reduce the gap between industry and university.

I have learned many skills and gained experience from AAPG publications, conferences, networking during the meeting, continuing education opportunities and field trips.

AAPG has given me the opportunity to develop and meet a large number of friends around the world, while maintaining contact with them and with my future professional activities. I have enjoyed all these professional interactions with all the geoscientists in the region.

And I would like to thank all those who took part in the election for Middle East Region Council.


The Middle East regional council is active, meeting each month (except in summer months), and we have achieved many of the goals and objectives of our association including:

We have ensured that more students are a part of the Association while educating them on the benefits of becoming AAPG members.

So far we have eight student chapters established in the region, demonstrating our understanding of the importance of geosciences students to the future of the oil industry.

We have determined the Imperial Barrel Award (IBA) program and competition is something that should be offered each year in our Region. This has become an extremely successful means to aid senior and graduate students prepared to become professionals of the geosciences community.

We have held a number of Geoscience Technology Workshops that cover a wide range of topics designed to review and discuss various resource assessment procedures.

The number of attendees reflects the importance and quality of these activities and shows our geoscientist commitment and involvement in skill development and the update of information.

We have produced the first Middle East Newsletter in early 2011, naming it “The Discoverer.” The intent of this document is to update our members in the Region as to the varied character of our scientific activities.

;We have expanded membership through the establishment of more student chapters in the Region, recognizing this as important for the future continuation and increased number of new members.

We have some 850 members that represent different categories of our membership.

The council has recognized the importance of having more Active members on the board. Our goal will continue to concentrate on promotion of members from the Associate to Active category, and managing the transition or upgrade from Student to Associate, and so on.

We have encouraged and managed to have our Distinguished Lecturer from the Region, as well as internationally, while providing common interest in the subjects related to local case studies and problems and techniques applied in other part of the world.

Also, with these lecture tours we try to visit local universities as part of the outreach program to promote our educational services and expand relations with new members.

We attend the AAPG annual leadership conferences as they occur.

For instance I was at the recent conference in Boulder, Colo., meeting with the AAPG officers, presidents of other regions, committees and representatives of student chapters and young professionals. We discussed many issues related to strategic plans, the future of the Association and international leadership development.

The meeting also concentrated on the importance of young professionals and students, fostering the future of the geosciences community as dependent on the students.

It also is our Region’s number one priority: To develop students and young professional activities, including the IBA, Student Chapters and other programs and activities during Geo and ICE conferences and other technical events.

Do you have ideas, observations or suggestions on making our Region even better? I look forward to hearing from you.

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Regions and Sections

Regions and Sections Column - Carol McGowen
Carol Cain McGowen is the development manager for AAPG's Regions and Sections. She may be contacted via email , or telephone at 1-918-560-9403.

Regions and Sections Column - Abdulrahman S. Al-Sharhan

Abdulrahman S. Al-Sharhan is Middle East Region president.

Regions and Sections is a regular column in the EXPLORER offering news for and about AAPG's six international Regions and six U.S. Sections. News items, press releases and other information should be submitted via email or to: EXPLORER - Regions and Sections, P.O. Box 979, Tulsa, OK 74101. 

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