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.
Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies
Request an application form via:
Dates: May 11 – 15, 2020
May 4th, 2020
Applicants will be processed on a rolling basis
Day One: Monday, May 11
Introduction & course rules
Chairman of the Sana’a Center and associate fellow at Chatham House.
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.
Co-founder and executive director of the Sana’a Center and a regular commentator on Yemen for Arabic media.
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.
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.
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.
Researcher and visual data specialist at the Sana’a Center.
Research analyst at ACLED and PhD candidate in geography at the University of Sussex, focusing on political elites in the MENA region.
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
State of the UN-led peace process
UN Special Envoy for Yemen.
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.
Economist at the Sana’a Center.
Economic analyst at the Sana’a Center.
former Yemeni Minister of Youth and Sports and co-founder of the non-profit foundation Resonate! Yemen.
Deputy executive director at the Sana’a Center.
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.
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.
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.
Senior Yemen analyst at Crisis Group, associate fellow at Chatham House and a former journalist.
Researcher and editor at the Sana’a Center.
Day Three: Wednesday, May 13
The future of the Yemeni state
Former Prime Minister and former Vice President of Yemen.
Local and tribal politics in Mahra
Non-resident scholar at the Carnegie Middle East Center.
Paris-based researcher at the Sana’a Center.
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.
Research fellow at the Washington Institute, focusing on Yemen, Gulf politics and nuclear proliferation.
Former Yemeni diplomat and former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.
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.
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
The Yemeni Government perspective
Yemeni Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Developments at the Red Sea front
Spokesperson of General Tareq Saleh.
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.
Government analyst and Yemen’s Deputy Minister of Environment and Water Resources.
Conflict analyst and non-resident Scholar at Middle East Institute.
“State of the arms”
Arms Expert, UN Panel of Experts on Yemen.
Day Five: Friday, May 15
Central Bank of Yemen reserves and current status
Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Yemen.
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.
Non-resident fellow at the Sana’a Center, focusing on educational issues, and a PhD candidate in social anthropology at Tampere University in Finland.
Editor at the Sana’a Center and co-author of the Center’s report on the gendered impact of the war.
Researcher at the Sana’a Center and co-author of the Center’s report on the gendered impact of the war.
Executive director of the Arab Reform Initiative (ARI).
The Houthis and Salafis from an academic perspective
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.
Research fellow at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and author of “Salafism in Yemen: Transnationalism and Religious Identity,” London: Hurst, 2011.
Co-founder of the Sana’a Center Geneva Association and formerly worked as a Middle East correspondent for a Swiss newspaper.
Evaluation and Q&A
Day Six: Thursday, May 21
Civil society in times of war and COVID-19
is the founder and CEO of the Hodeidah Girls Foundation and works on relief and humanitarian projects.
is a Yemeni artist who participated in several peace campaigns and art projects on Yemeni streets since 2012.
Day Seven: Friday, May 22
The situation in Aden and Abyan
Sana’a Center researcher and office director in Aden where he focuses on southern politics and armed groups.
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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for NGOs and non-profit organizations
for freelance journalists, unaffiliated researchers and academics