The Yemen Exchange – An Intensive Course on Yemen

The Second Yemen Exchange is co-hosted by the Sanaa Center for Strategic Studies (SCSS) and During the five day program, participants from around the world will listen and engage Yemeni politicians, civil society figures and analysts gaining rare and intensive insight into Yemen, from several differing perspectives. As such, the Exchange is a fundamental part of SCSS’s attempt to increase the content, space and conversations on Yemen with the hope that increased dialogue and understanding will ultimately help to create the conditions for sustainable peace-building ( The effort rests on two tracks:

Professional & Academic – Participants will attend a series of lectures led by prominent academics, analysts and activists from Yemen and the wider region.

Dialogue with Leaders – Participants will have the opportunity to meet, listen and engage leading social, political and economic actors from across the spectrum in Yemen.

October 11-15, 2017 (Hosted in Beirut, Lebanon)

* Application Deadline I September 10/Deadline II October 4
* 30 slots only/Rolling acceptance
* Request a registration form via



NOTE: Accepted applicants will receive the full list of confirmed speakers one month prior to the opening of the Exchange, as well as readings pertinent to the sessions.

  • Maged al-Madhaji is executive director and co-founder of the Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies, a regular commentator on Yemeni affairs for Arabic media, and a former appointee to the Preparatory Committee for Yemen’s National Dialogue Conference. His presentation will offer an overview of Yemen’s current political dynamics.
  • Mansour Rageh is chief economist at the Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies and has held various managerial and policy positions at the Central Bank of Yemen (CBY) since 2003. His presentation will offer an overview of Yemen’s current economic status.
  • Maysa Shujaa al-Deen is a non resident fellow to Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies. Her research and analyses are regularly featured in Arabic media outlets. Her master’s degree from the American University in Cairo focused on the radicalization of Zaydism, and her presentation will discuss the rise of the Houthis in Yemen.
  • Abdul-Ghani Al-Iryani is a political and development consultant who is currently working with the UN Special Envoy for Yemen. His presentation will focus on the origins and development of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and the rise of armed militias.
  • Jamila Ali Raja is a career civil servant and policy advisor who has held senior posts in the Yemeni diplomatic corps and various government ministries over the last three decades. In recent years the focus of her work has been Yemen’s transitional period. Her presentation will discuss the deadlock in negotiations between the various parties in Yemen.
  • Abdulrahman Al-Ghaberi is one of Yemen’s most celebrated photographers. In his presentation he will discuss and present his photos documenting historic moments, public figures and daily life in Yemen over the past three decades.
  • Mohammed Shihab is a prominent member of the Yemeni private sector. He maintains business relationships with numerous multinational companies, and a warehousing, distribution and logistics network across Yemen serving thousands of wholesalers and retailers. His presentation will focus on the role of the business community in the current conflict.
  • Ammar al-Aulaqi is the Yemeni government’s Deputy Ministry of Water. He has an educational background in Engineering, environmental management and Executive Management. His presentation will examine the water crisis in Yemen.
  • Dr. Abu Bakr al-Qirbi was Yemen’s Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2001 to 2014. He was also a member of the GPC negotiation team in the last two rounds of UN-led peace talks. In his talk, Dr. Al-Qirbi will present the GPC perspective on the conflict and prospects for peace.
  • Abdulrahman al-Saqqaf is General Secretary and one of the most senior leaders of the Yemeni Socialist Party. In his talk, he will discuss the Socialist Party’s perspective on the war and its vision for the future of South Yemen.
  • Saleh Bin Fareed Al-Aulaqi is a member of the Transitional Political Council for the South. He is also one of Shabwa Governorate’s most powerful tribal leaders. His presentation will be an overview of the status and outlook of the Transitional Political Council for the South.
  • Ali Ashal is a member of the Islah parliamentary bloc. He attended the National Dialogue Conference and was a  member of the southern sub-committee at the NDC. In his presentation, Mr. Ashal will present the Islah perspective on current developments in the conflict and possibilities for a peace.
  • Naser Shuraif is the government of Yemen’s Deputy Minister of Transportation. His presentation will discuss the current status of Yemen’s land borders, sea and air ports, and the movements of goods and individuals into, out of, and within Yemen.
  • Ali Al-Mamri is the governor of Taiz and a member of the Yemeni Parliament. His presentation will discuss the dynamics of the conflict in Taiz.
  • Mohammed Azzan was a co-founder of the Believing Youth (Shebab al-Mu’min), the precursor organization of the Houthi movement. (Mr. Azzan has since left the organization.) His presentation will cover the domestic aspects of the Houthi’s rise in Yemen.
  • Abdulkareem al-Maqdashi is a prominent tribal figure who has played a key role in mediating and facilitating local ceasefires, prisoner swaps, and other negotiations between Yemeni tribes, and between tribes and foreign stakeholders. His presentation will cover the potential for tribes to facilitate a peace process in Yemen.
  • Dr. Abdulkader BaYazid is the General Secretary of Hadramawt Collective Conference and a rising figure in Hadramawt. His presentation will discuss the situation in Hadramawt.
  • Hussein Al-Awadhi is the former governor of Al-Jawf and a prominent sheikh. His presentation will cover the rise of the so-called “Eastern Bloc” in Yemen, which includes the governorates of Al-Jawf, Mareb and Shabwah.
  • Ghiadaa Al-Rashidy is a southern activist. Her presentation will focus on the status of youth in Yemen’s southern governorates.
  • Nabil Munassar is the vice chairman of the General Organization for the Preservation of Historic Cities in Yemen. His presentation will offer an overview of Yemen’s rich historic and cultural heritage, and the threats to its preservation presented by the current conflict.
  • The Houthis – representative.


Program Format:

The Second Yemen Exchange will be held over the five days at the conference room of Crowne Plaza Hotel in downtown Beirut, from 9am until 6pm, October 11-15. In order to promote small group dynamics, the number of participants will be capped at 30. Sessions themselves will be conducted on an individual rather than a panel basis for all speakers and will allow ample opportunity for question time (translation into English will be provided when necessary). All sessions will also be held under strict Chatham House rules, although we customarily work with our speakers to approve any quotes/references that participants may need for their own work.


Participation Fee – $900. Note that participation fee discounts are available for participants who wish to attend multiple Exchanges. For more information, please email Furthermore, all our programs are funded on the basis of fees paid by the participants themselves: There is no government, private or non-profit support, an aspect that we believe provides a relatively neutral platform for dialogue and understanding.Accommodation – $115 for a single room per night at the five star Crowne Plaza Hotel under our group booking (breakfast and taxes are included). Shared rooms are also available (we will arrange for sharing with other participants) and are priced at $65 per participant.Airfare – $400, approximate from the European Union.

About the Co-Directors:

Farea Al-Muslimi is chairman and co-founder of Sanaa Center for Strategic Studies, and will be the facilitator of the Yemen Exchange. He is a non-resident fellow at both the Carnegie Middle East Center and Middle East Institute in Washington, D.C. Al-Muslimi’s writings and analysis on Yemen and the wider region have been published in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, New York Times, The Independent, The Guardian, Al-Hayyat, As-Safir, Al-Monitor, among many others. In 2013, Foreign Policy named him to its list of Top 100 Global Thinkers, and in 2014 The Guardian named Al-Muslimi to its Top 30 under 30 list of young leaders in digital media around the world.

Adam Baron is a co-founder of the Sanaa Center for Strategic Studies as well as a visiting fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations. Baron is also a regular commentator on Yemeni affairs for media outlets including Al-Jazeera English, CNN, Foreign Policy and the BBC. Between 2011 and 2014, he was the Yemen correspondent for The Economist, the Christian Science Monitor and McClatchy Newspapers. He holds a bachelor of arts in Religion and Arab Studies from Williams College and a Masters Degree in International Peace and Security from the Department of War Studies at King’s College, London.

Nicholas Noe recently served as Regional Organizing Director for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign in Michigan where he managed the Get Out The Vote (GOTV) operation for the crucial areas of Wayne County and Dearborn City. Previous to this, Mr. Noe lived in Beirut (2004-2016) and in Tunis (2012-2014) where he was a co-editor of the Heinrich Boell Foundation’s journal on the Middle East, Perspectives, and co-founder of the news translation service (2005-Present) covering the Middle East media. He is also the editor of the 2007 book “Voice of Hezbollah: The Statements of Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah” and was a visiting fellow with the European Council on Foreign Relations in 2014. Mr. Noe graduated with honors from Cambridge University (MPhil, International Relations, 2006) where he was elected a scholar of Selwyn College and Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa from Brown University (1999). The first Exchange was launched by Senior Producer Yamen Soukkarieh and Mr. Noe in Beirut, Lebanon in June 2008. Since that time, more than 600 people from 51 different countries have participated in more than 35 Exchanges.