The Yemen Exchange – An Intensive Online Course on Yemen

The Yemen Exchange – An Intensive Online Course on Yemen

11 May 2020
    Online Course
    07:00 AM - 12:30 PM
    This event is passed

    The Fifth Yemen Exchange is an abbreviated intensive online version of the Yemen Exchange organized by the Sana’a Center and The Exchange Foundation. The course is designed to provide unique access to information, perspectives, updates and analysis on Yemen for both those seeking to develop a working background on the country as well as those already thoroughly versed in its dynamics. During the five-day program conducted online, participants from around the world will listen to Yemeni analysts, academics, politicians, bureaucrats, business leaders and international experts to gain insight and a rare first-hand knowledge about the country from a wide range of perspectives. Participants will have the chance to virtually engage with speakers both during the sessions and connect with speakers they wish to engage individually after the Exchange.

    The sessions themselves – totaling more than 25 hours – will dive into several specific areas, including but not limited to: Yemen’s multifaceted conflicts, socio-political dynamics, internal divisions and alliances among parties to the conflict, the possibility of southern secession, military and political developments on the ground, the status of various armed groups, the regional battle  for Yemen, the humanitarian and economic crisis, the potential impacts of the coronavirus as well as a variety of other topics.

    Accepted applicants will be provided with details on how to securely access the course prior its start.

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    Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies

    Request an application form via:

    Dates: May 11 – 15, 2020

    Application deadline:

    May 4th, 2020

    Applicants will be processed on a rolling basis


    Day One: Monday, May 11

    • 14:00 – 14:30 Sana’a
    • 07:00 – 07:30 EST

    Introduction & course rules


    • Farea Al-Muslimi

    Chairman of the Sana’a Center and associate fellow at Chatham House.

    • 14:45 – 16:45 Sana’a
    • 07:45 – 09:45 EST

    Who is fighting whom, where, and why?

    This session will be a deep dive into political alliances, divisions and conflicts within Yemen. Analysts will elaborate on current frontlines, armed groups and local and regional actors as well as other stakeholders and unexplored roots of the war.

    The panel will be further refined based on the input and needs of accepted participants.

    • Maged Al-Madhaji

    Co-founder and executive director of the Sana’a Center and a regular commentator on Yemen for Arabic media.

    Abdulghani Al-Iryani

    • Abdulghani Al-Iryani

    Senior researcher at the Sana’a Center. Prior to joining the Sana’a Center, Al-Iryani was a political and development advisor for many INGOs and international organizations in Yemen, including the Office of the UN Special Envoy for Yemen, UNDP and the World Bank.

    • Jamila Ali Rajaa

    Chair of the Sana’a Center advisory board. She is a former Yemeni diplomat with the status of ambassador, senior analyst, lecturer and policy consultant, including for the UN and several European foreign agencies.

    • 17:00 – 19:00 Sana’a
    • 10:00 – 12:00 EST

    The war visualized

    In this session visual data specialists will explain Yemen’s conflict(s) with 30 maps, notably illustrating frontlines and networks of political elites in Yemen.


    • Ghaidaa Al-Rashidy

    Researcher and visual data specialist at the Sana’a Center.


    • Andrea Carboni

    Research analyst at ACLED and PhD candidate in geography at the University of Sussex, focusing on political elites in the MENA region.


    • Waleed Alhariri

    Director of the US office for the Sana’a Center and fellow at the Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute.

    Day Two: Tuesday, May 12

    • 14:00 – 15:30 Sana’a
    • 07:00 – 08:30 EST

    State of the UN-led peace process


    • Martin Griffiths

    UN Special Envoy for Yemen.




    • Farea Al-Muslimi


    • 15:45 – 17:30 Sana’a
    • 08:45 – 10:30 EST

    Economic developments

    This session will examine current and post-war challenges facing Yemen’s economy. It will focus on the impacts of war, the coronavirus pandemic and aid cuts on Yemen’s economic and humanitarian situation. Speakers will also explore the role of the war economy in preserving the status quo.


    • Amal Nasser

    Economist at the Sana’a Center.



    • Anthony Biswell

    Economic analyst at the Sana’a Center.



    • Rafat Al-Akhali

    former Yemeni Minister of Youth and Sports and co-founder of the non-profit foundation Resonate! Yemen.



    • Osamah Al-Rawhani

    Deputy executive director at the Sana’a Center.

    • 17:45 – 19:00 Sana’a
    • 10:45 – 12:00 EST

    Armed groups

    Using maps and other visuals, this session will cover the status and activities of non-state armed groups currently active in Yemen’s civil war, including AQAP and ISIS, and their role in post-war Yemen as well as foreign counterterrorism operations inside Yemen.


    • Gregory Johnsen

    Non-resident fellow at the Sana’a Center, focusing on armed groups in Yemen, and former member of the Panel of Experts of the UN Security Council on Yemen.

    • Mohammed Al-Basha

    Communications and Client Engagement Manager and the Yemen Subject Matter Expert at the Navanti Group, and former spokesman for the Embassy of Yemen in Washington, D.C.

    • Peter Salisbury

    Senior Yemen analyst at Crisis Group, associate fellow at Chatham House and a former journalist.



    • Holly Topham

    Researcher and editor at the Sana’a Center.

    Day Three: Wednesday, May 13

    • 14:00 – 15:15 Sana’a
    • 07:00 – 08:15 EST

    The future of the Yemeni state


    Keynote Speaker:

    • Khaled Bahah

    Former Prime Minister and former Vice President of Yemen.


    • Farea Al-Muslimi


    • 15:30 – 17:00 Sana’a
    • 08:30 – 10:00 EST

    Local and tribal politics in Mahra


    • Ahmed Nagi

    Non-resident scholar at the Carnegie Middle East Center.



    • Victoria Sauer

    Paris-based researcher at the Sana’a Center.

    • 17:15 – 19:00 Sana’a
    • 10:15 – 12:00 EST

    The regional fight for Yemen

    This panel will analyze the role of key regional actors with a stake in the geopolitical fight for Yemen and examine the policies and interests of Iran, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Oman and Qatar.


    • Elana DeLozier

    Research fellow at the Washington Institute, focusing on Yemen, Gulf politics and nuclear proliferation.


    • Mustapha Noman

    Former Yemeni diplomat and former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.


    • Thomas Juneau

    Non-resident fellow at the Sana’a Center and assistant professor at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Ottawa, focusing on Iran and Yemen.


    • Sama’a Al-Hamdani

    Non-resident fellow at the Middle East Institute and analyst for several Arab and Western media outlets and think tanks, focusing on political dynamics in Yemen.

    Day Four: Thursday, May 14

    • 14:00 – 15:30 Sana’a
    • 07:00 – 08:30 EST

    The Yemeni Government perspective


    • Mohammed Al-Hadhrami

    Yemeni Minister of Foreign Affairs.



    • Farea Al-Muslimi


    • 15:45 – 17:15 Sana’a
    • 08:45 – 10:15 EST

    Developments at the Red Sea front


    • Sadek Dawid

    Spokesperson of General Tareq Saleh.




    • Maged Al-Madhaji


    • 15:15 – 16:15 Sana’a
    • 08:15 – 09:15 EST

    The Shabwa battle and the fight over the south

    This session will examine the current situation in Shabwa, one of Yemen’s most underreported but strategically significant governorates in Yemen’s conflict(s). It will focus on local dynamics, natural resources and the role of the governor of Shabwa. The speaker will also explore why the STC lost its battle with the government in 2019.

    • Ammar Al-Aulaqi

    Government analyst and Yemen’s Deputy Minister of Environment and Water Resources.



    • Nadwa Al-Dawsri

    Conflict analyst and non-resident Scholar at Middle East Institute.

    • 18:30 – 19:15 Sana’a
    • 11:30 – 12:15 EST

    “State of the arms”



    • Wolf-Christian Paes

    Arms Expert, UN Panel of Experts on Yemen.


    Day Five: Friday, May 15

    • 14:00 – 15:00 Sana’a
    • 07:00 – 08:00 EST

    Central Bank of Yemen reserves and current status

    • Mansour Rageh

    Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Yemen.




    • Anthony Biswell
    • 15:15 – 16:30 Sana’a
    • 08:15 – 09:30 EST

    Impacts of the war on gender

    This session will explore how women, girls, men and boys have experienced the conflict differently, and how conflict is reshaping gender norms in Yemen.


    • Yasmeen Al-Eryani

    Non-resident fellow at the Sana’a Center, focusing on educational issues, and a PhD candidate in social anthropology at Tampere University in Finland.

    • Hannah Patchett

    Editor at the Sana’a Center and co-author of the Center’s report on the gendered impact of the war.


    • Shams Shamsan

    Researcher at the Sana’a Center and co-author of the Center’s report on the gendered impact of the war.



    • Nadim Houry

    Executive director of the Arab Reform Initiative (ARI).

    • 16:45 – 18:15 Sana’a
    • 09:45 – 11:15 EST

    The Houthis and Salafis from an academic perspective


    • Maysaa Shujaa Al-Deen

    Non-resident fellow at the Sana’a Center where her research focuses on religious sectarianism, political transformation and Yemen’s geopolitical role in the region.

    • Laurent Bonnefoy

    Research fellow at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and author of “Salafism in Yemen: Transnationalism and Religious Identity,” London: Hurst, 2011.


    • Monika Bolliger

    Co-founder of the Sana’a Center Geneva Association and formerly worked as a Middle East correspondent for a Swiss newspaper.

    • 18:15 – 19:00 Sana’a
    • 11:15 – 12:00 EST

    Evaluation and Q&A

    Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies

    • Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies

    Day Six: Thursday, May 21

    • 19:00 – 20:00 Sana’a
    • 12:00 – 13:00 EST

    Civil society in times of war and COVID-19



    • Dalia Kassem

    is the founder and CEO of the Hodeidah Girls Foundation and works on relief and humanitarian projects.


    • Thiyazen Al-Alawi

    is a Yemeni artist who participated in several peace campaigns and art projects on Yemeni streets since 2012.


    Day Seven: Friday, May 22

    • 20:00 – 21:00 Sana’a
    • 13:00 – 14:00 EST

    The situation in Aden and Abyan


    • Hussam Radman

    Sana’a Center researcher and office director in Aden where he focuses on southern politics and armed groups.



    • Maged Al-Madhaji



    • All costs related to The Yemen Exchange are funded by participant fees, except for scholarships provided by both organizations (see below). There is no supplementary government or private sector support, a fact that allows us to assure participants of a relatively neutral platform for the exchange of  information, open dialogue and understanding.
    • All sessions are held under the Chatham House Rule with some sessions consisting of only one speaker in order to assure as open and unfiltered a discussion as possible in the context of a very sensitive topic. Simultaneous translation to English will also be provided when needed.
    • Prior to the beginning of the course, accepted participants will receive a course syllabus as well as maps, visuals, and other informative materials. Those interested will also be connected with the experts and speakers to follow up with them for their own work and research.
    • Applying for a scholarship – The Yemen Exchange currently has five scholarships (covering the conference fee) available for researchers who will deepen the social, political and geographic diversity of the Exchange and who can demonstrate both a lack of institutional or self-funding ability and a deep interest in Yemen. For any questions related to scholarships or to request an application with more information, email

    Participation Fees:

    1500 USD

    for governments and for-profit companies

    1000 USD

    for NGOs and non-profit organizations

    500 USD

    for freelance journalists, unaffiliated researchers and academics

    Time remaining on the deadline