The Yemen Exchange

The first 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 to and engage with Yemeni politicians, civil society figures and analysts, gaining direct, rare and intensive insight into Yemen from several differing perspectives and in-depth analysis, crash courses, and discussions. As such, the Exchange is a fundamental part of SCSS’s attempt to increase the content and quality of conversations on Yemen with the aim that increased dialogue and understanding will ultimately help to create the conditions for sustainable peace in Yemen. The five day Yemen Exchange 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. Themes will include, among others:

– The factors that spurred Yemen’s 2011 Arab Spring-inspired uprising;

– The underlying issues that doomed the internationally backed transition;

– The root causes of the rise of Yemen’s Houthi rebels;

– The diverse regional factors that increasingly drive Yemen’s conflict(s);

– The economic roots of unrest in Yemen;

– The role of regional actors in Yemen’s ongoing conflict(s);

– The rise of newly empowered actors in the ongoing civil war;

– The dynamics and shifts of Yemeni partisan politics in relation to armed groups;

– The humanitarian fallout from the war;

– The role of the media and civil society organizations;

– Youth politics and activism;

– The role played by women and the work done by Yemeni female activists.


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


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.

– Farea Muslimi, Sanaa Center for Strategic Studies/Middle East Institute

– Adam Baron, European Council on Foreign Relations

– Mustafa Noman, Writer/Former Diplomat

– Abdulghani al-Iryani, Independent Analyst

– Maged al-Madhaji, Sanaa Center for Strategic Studies

– Yezid Sayigh, Carnegie Middle East Center

– Ali Ashal, MP Al-Islah Party

– Abdulrahman al-Saqqaf, Secretary General of the Yemeni Socialist Party

– Abu Bakr al-Qirbi, The General Peoples Congress Party/Frm. Minister of Foreign Affairs

– Abdullah Noman, Secretary General of the Yemeni Nasserist Party

– Khaldoun Bakuhail, Independent Politican

– Hussein al-Awadhi, Former Governor of al-Jawf and Tribal Leader

– Mansour Rageh, Cheif Economics at Sanaa Center for Strategic Studies

– Jamila Ali Raja, Former Diplomat and Member of the National Dialogue Conference

– Wameedh Shakr, Scholar at Sanaa Center for Strategic Studies

– Ghaida Al-Rashidi, Southern Activist

– Maysaa Shujaa Al-Deen, Scholar at Sanaa Center for Strategic Studies

– Abdulkarim Al Makdashi, tribal and military leader

– Ammar Al-Aulaqi, Deputy Minister of Water and Environment

– Adnan Al-Odini, Spokesperson for The Islah Party

– Diplomats

– Aid Workers

– The Houthis




Program Format:

The Yemen Exchange will be held over the five days at the conference room of Crowne Plaza Hotel in downtown Beirut, from 9am until 6pm. In order to promote small group dynamics, the number of participants will be capped at 35. 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 – $1,200; Reductions are available for alumni of our previous programs and those participants who register for more than one Exchange.

Accommodation – $115 for a single room per night at the five star Crowne Plaza Hotel under our group booking (breakfast, taxes and airport pickup are included). Shared rooms are also available (we will arrange for sharing with other participants) and are priced at $60 per participant.

Airfare – $500, approximate from the European Union.


About the Co-Directors:

Farea Al-Muslimi is chairman and co-founder of Sanaa Center for Strategic Studies and a non-resident fellow at both the Carnegie Middle East Center and Middle East Institute in Washington, D.C. In August 2016, UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon appointed Al-Muslimi to the Advisory Group of Experts for Progress Study on Youth, Peace and Security, a study mandated by UN Security Council Resolution 2250 to examine the positive contribution of youth to peace processes and conflict resolution and effective responses at local, national, regional and international levels. 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, as well as several other publications. 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 regularly provides analysis and commentary for Al-Jazeera International, BBC and several US and European publications and is the author of a White Paper for the New America and Century Foundations entitled: “Re-Imagining the Lebanon Track: Towards a New US Policy.” 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).