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 among cultures of the historical “East” and “West,” remain unchanged.
Since the mid-1960s, the magazine has been produced for readers outside as well as inside the company, worldwide. Although Saudi Arabia remains a frequent subject in its pages, for decades its articles have spanned the Arab and Muslim worlds, past and present, with special attention to their global interconnections.
Over more than six 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, integrated energy and chemicals company of Saudi Arabia. With the July/August 2000 issue, Aramco World became Saudi Aramco World; with the January/February 2015 issue, it adopted the current AramcoWorld.
The print edition of AramcoWorld is distributed six times a year, upon request and without charge, to some 160,000 subscribers in more than 125 countries. The digital edition was launched with the January/February 2004 issue, and in addition to current features and departments, it offers video supplements and full indexes of all articles back to 1960.
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 first half-century, see "Aramco World Turns 50," published in November/December 1999.