In the news: "On January 15, 2008 President Bush met with 10 selected Saudi Entrepreneurs. Drawn from a pool of almost 300 candidates the selection was limited to male or female Saudi Entrepreneurs between the ages of 30 and 40, the only requirement was that they were educated in the USA. Dr. Modi Batterjee was one of the ten selected individuals amongst eight men and only one other female".
This is one of the major experiences in my life. I received a phone call from the US Embassy in January requesting my attendance at a Roundtable Discussion with President Bush and the US Ambassador. I accepted and had a wonderful experience. I did my best to represent the Muslim and young Saudi communities with the best image possible. I wanted Mr. Bush to know that we are professional people and we can participate in any international setting. Not all of us are terrorists and we deserve to be an active part of this world.
The following is what Mr. Bush had to say at the introduction of the meeting:
THE PRESIDENT: "I'm George W. Bush, President of the United States. (Laughter.) Thank you all for joining us. Ambassador, thanks for setting this up. It's important for the President to hear thoughts, hopes, dreams, aspirations, concerns from folks that are out making a living. And I really appreciate you taking time out of your day to come and visit with me. I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts.
One thing that's for certain: The United States benefits when people come to my country. And one of my concerns was after September the 11th that our visa policy, particularly for Saudis, was tightened to the point where we missed opportunity to show young and old alike what our country is really about. I love the fact that some of you were educated in America. I think you'll find you got a good education there, but more importantly, Americans get to see you, and you get to see them. And the best way to achieve better understanding in the world is for folks just to get together, and get to understand that we share the same God, and we share the same aspirations for children and for our futures.
And so this is an important visit for me. I'm thrilled to be in the Kingdom. I have -- I've got very close relations with His Majesty. We had a good visit last night on a variety of subjects. We talked about Palestinian peace; we talked about the security issues of the region. I talked to the Ambassador, and will again talk to His Majesty tonight about the fact that oil prices are very high, which is tough on our economy, and that I would hope, as OPEC considers different production levels, that they understand that if their -- one of their biggest consumers' economy suffers, it will mean less purchases, less oil and gas sold.
And so we've got a lot of things to talk about, but I want to assure you it's from the spirit of friendship. And the hospitality last night was warm, and the conversation was excellent -- just like this one is going to be. So I want to thank you for coming. I appreciate your time."
That was his opening remark. It was good. I didn’t hate him, but understood why so many did. We were very lucky to have later received letters of gratitude from the president and acknowledgment that we were the reason he decided to impose the revision of the Visa situation and the extension of its length to five years. I felt very excited when I knew that I had participated in making a positive change, one that was so desperately needed.