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April 19-30, 2021

Online via ZOOM
The Seventh Yemen Exchange – An Intensive Online Course on Yemen
Summary Agenda Details Fees Partners
Summary Agenda Details Fees Partners

The Seventh Yemen Exchange is an intensive online version of the Yemen Exchange organized by the Sana’a Center and The Exchange Foundation since 2017. The course is designed to provide unique access to information, perspectives, updates and analyses on Yemen for those seeking to develop a working background knowledge of the country as well as those already thoroughly versed in its dynamics.

The 10-day program will be conducted via Zoom Monday-Friday, starting at 16:00 Sana’a time/09:00 EST each day. Participants from around the world will attend sessions with Yemeni analysts, academics, politicians, bureaucrats, business leaders and international experts, gaining insight into the country from a wide range of perspectives. Participants will have the chance both to virtually engage with speakers during the sessions and to connect with them individually after the Exchange. The sessions – totaling more than 30 hours – will dive into several specific areas, including but not limited to: Yemen’s multifaceted conflicts; the country’s 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 in the country; the UN-led peace process; and impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Optional Orientation Day: / Sunday, April 18
  • 16:00 - 17:00 Sana’a / 09:00 - 10:00 EST
    Welcome & introductions
    In this first optional session, participants will be welcomed by the organizers and have a chance to introduce themselves.
    Victoria Sauer
    Program manager of the Yemen Exchange.
    Nicholas Noe
    Director of The Foundation for Global Political Exchange Inc.
  • 17:15 - 18:30 Sana’a / 10:15 - 11:30 EST
    Yemen for beginners
    This session is designed to provide basic frameworks for understanding the country’s history as well as its current situation.
    Sana’a Center experts
WEEK 1 / Day One: Monday, April 19
  • 16:00 - 17:00 Sana’a / 09:00 - 10:00 EST
    Introduction and course rules
    Farea Al-Muslimi
    Co-founder and Chairman of the Sana’a Center; Associate Fellow at Chatham House.
    Osamah Al-Rawhani
    Deputy executive director of the Sana’a Center.
  • 17:15 - 18:30 Sana’a / 10:15 - 11:30 EST
    The current fighting: who, where, why?
    Via maps and other visuals, this session will offer a deep dive into political alliances, divisions and conflicts in Yemen. Analysts will elaborate on current frontlines, armed groups and local and regional actors, other stakeholders, and the 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.
    Abdulghani Al-Iryani
    Senior researcher at the Sana’a Center.
    Ghaidaa Al-Rashidy
    Researcher and visual data specialist at the Sana’a Center.
Day Two: Tuesday, April 20
  • 16:00 - 17:15 Sana’a / 09:00 - 10:15 EST
    The Houthi movement 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).
    Luca Nevola
    Middle East senior researcher at ACLED and postdoctoral research associate at the University of Sussex. Between 2009 and 2013, Nevola conducted ethnographic fieldwork in Yemen.
    Emanuel Schaeublin
    Anthropologist for the Mediation Support Team at the Center for Security Studies (ETH Zurich) and member of the Sana’a Center Geneva Association.
  • 17:30 - 18:45 Sana’a / 10:30 - 11:45 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 IS, and their role in post-war Yemen, as well as foreign counterterrorism operations inside Yemen.
    Elisabeth Kendall
    Senior research fellow in Arabic and Islamic studies at Pembroke College, Oxford University, with significant field work experience in Yemen.
    Peter Salisbury
    Senior Yemen analyst at International Crisis Group and a former journalist.
    Mohammed Al-Basha
    Communications and client engagement manager and Yemen expert at the Navanti Group, and former spokesman for the Embassy of Yemen in Washington, D.C.
    Sama’a Al-Hamdani
    Director of the Yemen Cultural Institute for Heritage & the Arts, former non-resident fellow at the Middle East Institute and Georgetown University.
Day Three: Wednesday, April 21
  • 16:00 - 17:15 Sana’a / 09:00 - 10:15 EST
    Status of the economy and the Yemeni rial
    Sana’a Center economists
  • 17:30 - 18:45 Sana’a / 10:30 - 11:45 EST
    War and the private sector
    This session will examine current and post-war challenges facing Yemen’s economy, analyze how this war is essentially an economic struggle, and introduce possible economic frameworks for post-war Yemen.
    Mazen Aman
    Advisor to HSA Yemen Managing Director, Economic Reform Team member and Development Champions Forum member.
    Najat Juman
    Head of the businesswomen sector at the Yemen Chamber of Commerce, pro-fessor of Finance at Sana’a University, and a member of the NDC.
    Omar Al-Aqel
    Expert on Yemen’s economy and devel-opment issues.
    Rafat Al-Akhali
    Former Yemeni Minister of Youth and Sports and Co-founder of DeepRoot Consulting.
Day Four: Thursday, April 22
  • 16:00 - 17:15 Sana’a / 09:00 - 10:15 EST
    The role of tribal women in mediating conflict
    Najwa Adra
    Senior researcher at the Institute for Social Anthropology at the Austrian Academy of Sciences, focusing on tribes in Yemen.
    Ahmed Al-Arami
    Non-Resident Fellow at the Sana’a Center, focusing on social, political and cultural developments in Yemen, as well as relations between Islamist groups and Yemeni tribes.
    Rim Mugahed
    Sana’a Center Researcher and Project Manager, focusing on Yemeni tribes and political parties.
  • 17:30 - 18:45 Sana’a / 10:30 - 11:45 EST
    Yemen’s water and natural resources
    Ismail Al-Janad
    Former Chairman of Yemen’s Public Authority for Geological Survey and Mineral Wealth.
    Helen Lackner
    Research Associate at SOAS University of London and visiting fellow at the European Council for Foreign Relations.
    Juliane Schillinger
    PhD candidate at the University of Twente in the Netherlands. Her research focuses on the impacts of armed conflict on local water management in the Middle East.
Day Five: Friday, April 23
  • 16:00 - 17:15 Sana’a / 09:00 - 10:15 EST
    The government perspective
    Maeen Abdel Malek Saeed
    Prime minister of Yemen.
    Maged Al-Madhaji
    Co-founder and Executive Director of the Sana’a Center.
  • 17:30 - 18:45 Sana’a / 10:30 - 11:45 EST
    Yemen at the UN Security Council
    Gregory Johnsen
    Non-Resident Fellow at the Sana’a Center, focusing on armed groups in Yemen; former member of the Panel of Experts of the UN Security Council on Yemen.
    Benjamin Villanti
    Policy Analyst at Security Council Report covering a variety of countries and issues, including Yemen.
    Dr. Hamid Al-Awadhi
    Former Yemeni deputy minister of foreign affairs.
    Jamila Ali Rajaa
    Chair of the Sana’a Center advisory board. She is a former Yemeni diplomat and a senior analyst, lecturer and policy consultant, including for the UN and several European foreign agencies.
  • 19:00 - 20:00 Sana’a / 12:00 - 13:00 EST
    Yemen's art world: The past, present, and future
    Dr. Amnah Al-Nasiri
    Philosophy and Aesthetics Professor at Sana’a University and a painter.
    Alia Ali
    Yemeni-Bosnian-American multimedia artist and activist.
    Mazen Al-Saqqaf
    YouTube content creator and a social media influencer.
WEEK 2 / Day Six: Monday, April 26
  • 15:00 - 16:00 Sana’a / 08:00 - 09:00 EST
    Lessons from Somaliland for international peace-building in Yemen
    Sarah Phillips
    Non-Resident Fellow and Director of the Research Training and Academic Mentoring program at the Sana’a Center.
    Ryan Bailey
    Editor and Researcher at the Sana’a Center.
  • 16:15 - 17:30 Sana’a / 09:15 - 10:30 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, examining the policies and interests of Iran, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Oman and Qatar.
    Thomas Juneau
    Non-Resident Fellow at the Sana’a Center; Assistant Professor at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Ottawa, focusing on Iran and Yemen.
    Mustapha Noman
    Former Yemeni diplomat and former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Yemen.
    Amat Al Alim Alsoswa
    Former Yemeni Minister for Human Rights; Ambassador to the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark, UN assistant secretary-general, UNDP assistant administrator and director of UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Arab States.
  • 17:45 - 19:00 Sana’a / 10:45 - 12:00 EST
    Yemeni diaspora
    Solenn Al-Majali
    Non-Resident Fellow at the Sana’a Center, focusing on the Yemeni diaspora.
    Qabool Alabsi
    Director of Qarar Foundation for Media and Sustainable Development and a researcher focusing on the Yemeni diaspora in Egypt.
    Nadim Houry
    Executive Director of the Arab Reform Initiative (ARI).
Day Seven: Tuesday, April 27
  • 16:00 - 17:15 Sana’a / 09:00 - 10:15 EST
    Zoom into the south: Shabwa, Aden and Hadramawt
    Ammar Al-Aulaqi
    Yemeni government official and polit-ical analyst.
    Hussam Radman
    Researcher and Director of the Sana’a Center Aden office. He focuses on southern politics and armed groups.
    Ghaidaa Al-Rashidy
    Researcher and Visual Data Specialist at the Sana’a Center.
  • 17:30 - 18:45 Sana’a / 10:30 - 11:45 EST
    Local and tribal politics in Al-Mahra and Socotra
    Ahmed Nagi
    Non-Resident Scholar at the Carnegie Middle East Center.
    Casey Coombs
    Researcher at the Sana’a Center; he was based in Yemen between 2012 and 2015.
Day Eight: Wednesday, April 28
  • 16:00 - 17:15 Sana’a / 09:00 - 10:15 EST
    Minorities and marginalized communities in Yemen
    Yemeni researchers
    Yasmeen al-Eryani
    Director of Research at the Sana’a Center and a PhD candidate in social anthropology.
  • 17:30 - 18:45 Sana’a / 10:30 - 11:45 EST
    The current state of Yemen’s tribes
    Sheikh Hussein Al-Awadhi
    Tribal sheikh and former governor of Al-Jawf.
    Bilqees Al-Lahbi
    Researcher at the Sana’a Center, focusing on political and social developments in Yemen.
    Nadwa Al-Dawsri
    Conflict analyst and non-resident scholar at Middle East Institute, focusing on Yemen’s tribes.
Day Nine: Thursday, April 29
  • 16:00 - 17:15 Sana’a / 09:00 - 10:15 EST
    Yemen’s civil society
    Ayoob Al-Qasmi
    Co-founder and Director of Improve Your Society Organization in Taiz.
    Shroq Alramadi
    Social and cultural entrepreneur; Founder of Takween Cultural Club and Researcher at Yemen Polling Center.
    Awfa Al-Nami
    Saferworld Yemen country representative.
    Aisha Jamal
    Program Manager at the Sana’a Center of the Yemen Peace Forum initiative.
  • 17:30 - 18:45 Sana’a / 10:30 - 11:45 EST
    Role of the International Community
    Hans Grundberg
    EU Ambassador to Yemen.
    Michael Aron
    UK Ambassador to Yemen.
    Shams Shamsan
    Researcher at the Sana’a Center and Graduate Student in Global Political Economy at Glasgow University.
Day Ten: Friday, April 30
  • 16:00 - 17:00 Sana’a / 09:00 - 10:00 EST
    Developments on the Red Sea frontline
    Hamed Ghaleb
    Office Director of General Tareq Saleh.
    Maged Al-Madhaji
    Co-founder and Executive Director of the Sana’a Center.
  • 17:15 - 18:15 Sana’a / 10:15 - 11:15 EST
    The UN peace process
    Griffiths Martin
    Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Yemen.
    Osamah Al-Rawhani
    Deputy Executive Director of the Sana’a Center.
  • 18:15 - 19:00 Sana’a / 11:15 - 12:00 EST
    Evaluation and Q&A
    Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies

All costs related to the Yemen Exchange are funded by participant fees. There is no supplementary government or private-sector support, a fact that allows us to assure participants of a relatively neutral platform for the free exchange of information and open dialogue.

All sessions are held under the Chatham House Rule (and are therefore not recorded). Some sessions host only one speaker in order to assure as open and unfiltered a discussion as possible on very sensitive topics. Simultaneous translation to English will be provided in the case of non-English presentations.

Prior to the beginning of the course, accepted participants will receive a course reading list and final agenda. Throughout the ten days of the course, necessary agenda updates will be communicated with participants. Those interested will also be connected with the speakers, enabling them to follow up with these experts for their own work and research.

Applying for a scholarship: The Yemen Exchange currently has five scholar-ships (covering the participation fee) available for researchers who will deepen the social, political and geographic diversity of the Exchange and who can demonstrate both financial need and a deep interest in Yemen. For any questions related to scholarships or to request an application with more information, email: [email protected].

Participation Fees
1500 $
For governments & for-profit companies
1000 $
For NGOs, non-profit & UN organizations
500 $
For freelance journalists, unaffiliated researchers & academics
Free for the recipients of five available scholarships