The Yemen Exchange – An Intensive Course on Yemen

The Yemen Exchange – An Intensive Course on Yemen

21 Oct 2019
    Beirut, Lebanon
    09:00 AM - 05:30 PM
    This event is passed

    The Yemen Exchange is an intensive course offered by the Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies (Sana’a Center) in partnership with The Exchange. Held in Beirut, Lebanon, the course is designed to provide unique access to information aكnd analysis on Yemen for both those seeking to develop a working background on the country as well as those already thoroughly-versed in Yemeni dynamics. During the six-day program, participants from around the world listen to and engage with Yemeni politicians, bureaucrats, civil society actors, tribal figures, business leaders, academics and various Yemen experts to gain insight and critical knowledge about the country from a wide range of perspectives.

    The course specifically covers: Yemeni socio-political dynamics, internal divisions within various parties to the war, the possibility of Southern secession, military developments on the ground, the regional proxy struggle, local, regional and international diplomatic efforts, the humanitarian crisis and response, economic and state collapse, the rise of the war economy, the status of energy exports and the country’s port facilities, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and other extremist groups, human rights and war crimes, as well as historical, social, archeological and cultural issues.

    The Yemen Exchange rests on two discussion tracks:

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

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

    To apply, request a registration form via

    Conference location and date: Beirut, Lebanon, October 21 – 26, 2019.

    Application Deadline: July 30, 2019 – Acceptance on a rolling basis.

    * The Exchange will be capped at 35 attendees.

    Introduction and Expert Overview

    Time Topic Speaker Facilitator
    09:00 -10:00  Introduction and course rules Osamah Al-Rawhani & Farea Al-Muslimi
    10:15 – 12:00

    Who is fighting whom, where, and why?


    Maged Al-Madhaji,  Jamila Raja, & Maysaa Shuja Aldeen Farea Al-Muslimi
    14:00 – 15:30 Status of AQAP in the Yemen war Gregory Johnsen & Hussam Radman
    16:00 – 17:30 Keynote speakers: The current peace process Abdulghani Al-Eryani & Mustafa Noman Waleed Alhariri


    Time Topic Speaker Facilitator
    09:00 – 11:00 Overview: Current state of the economy Sana’a Center economists Spencer Osberg
    11:15 – 12:30

    The private sector during war


    Ali Al-Hebshi Jamila Rajaa
    14:00 – 15:00 Yemen’s natural resources Ismail Al-Ganad Osamah Al-Rawhani
    15:15 – 16:30

    Current situation of the war economy


    Peter Salisbury & Anthony Biswell


    Time Topic Speaker Facilitator
    09:00 – 10:30 The GPC’s future Abu Bakr Al-Qirbi Jamila Rajaa
    10:45 – 12:30 The Islah perspective Adnan Al-Odini Ammar Aulaqi
    14:00 – 15:30 The Houthi movement Representative Maysaa Shujaa Al-Deen
    15:45 – 16:45 Human rights case study TBD Sarah Knuckey

    The South

    Time Topic Speaker Facilitator
    09:00 – 10:00 The Yemeni Socialist Party’s vision for southern Yemen Abdulrahman Al-Sakkaf Maged Al-Madhaji
    10:15 – 11:30 Southern Transitional Council (STC)



    Hussam Radman
    11:45 – 13:00 What is happening in Mahra & Socotra?  Yahya Al-Sewari Monika Bolliger
    14:00 – 15:00 The Yemen conflict in maps Ghaidaa Alrashidy Holly Topham
    15:30 – 17:00 Keynote speaker: The future of southern Yemen President Ali Naser Muhammed Maged Al-Madhaji

    Special Topics

    Time Topic Speaker Facilitator
    09:00 – 10:00 The status of Yemeni ports Naser Shuraif, Vice Minister of Transportation Ghaidaa Al-Rashidy
    10:15 – 12:00 Yemeni tribes today  Sheikhs Hussein Al-Awadhi &  Abdulkareem Al-Maqdshi Farea Al-Muslimi
    13:30 – 14:30 Marib case study Representative of the governor of Marib Ammar Aulaqi
    14:45 – 13:45 The battle for Taiz Ameen Mahmoud – former governor of Taiz Maged Al-Madhaji
    16:00 – 17:30 Keynote speaker: Minorities in  Yemen Ali Muhammed Zaid Maysa’a Shuja’a Al-Deen


    Time Topic Speaker Facilitator
    09:00 – 10:30 The war’s impact on Yemeni women Dr. Fawziah Al-Ammar Hannah Patchett
    10:45 – 11.45 The humanitarian response in Yemen Humanitarian Worker Victoria Sauer
    13:15 – 14.30 Yemen’s last 50 years in 50 pictures Abdulrahman Al-Ghaberi Sala Al-Sakkaf
    15:00- 19:00

    Yemeni cuisine – Tastes of Yemen

    Yemeni chef
    Evening event (optional) Keynote guest: Hussein Muheb – singer (recital of Yemeni music/songs)

    Experts & Facilitators

    • 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.
    • Ghaidaa Alrashidy is a mapper and researcher at the Sana’a Center.
    • Fawziah Al-Ammar is director of gender studies at the Sana’a Center and has led a year-long study on the impact of war on Yemeni women.
    • Ammar Al-Aulaqi is an independent analyst and consultant.
    • Anthony Biswell is an economic analyst at the Sana’a Center.
    • Monika Bolliger is a journalist with more than eight years of work experience in the Middle East. She is also the president of the Sanaa Center Association in Geneva.
    • Waleed Alhariri is director of the US office for the Sana’a Center.
    • Gregory Johnsen is a non-resident fellow at the Sana’a Center where he focuses on al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, ISIS and other armed groups.
    • Sarah Knuckey is a professor of Human Rights at Columbia Law School.
    • Maged Al-Madhaji is the executive director and co-founder of the Sana’a Center.
    • Farea Al-Muslimi is chairman and co-founder of the Sana’a Center.
    • Spencer Osberg is chief editor at the Sana’a Center.
    • Hannah Patchett is an editor at the Sana’a Center.
    • Hussam Radman is a researcher at the Sana’a Center where he focuses on south Yemen and armed groups.
    • Osamah Al-Rawhani is the deputy executive director at the Sana’a Center.
    • Sala Al-Sakkaf is the communications officer at the Sana’a Center.
    • Peter Salisbury is an analyst with International Crisis Group where he focuses on Yemen.
    • Victoria Sauer is a researcher and the Paris coordinator at the Sana’a Center.
    • Maysaa Shuja’a Al-Deen is a non-resident fellow at the Sana’a Center. Her master’s thesis at the American University in Cairo focused on the radicalization of Zaydism.
    • Holly Topham is an editor and researcher at the Sana’a Center where she focuses on the monthly publication “The Yemen Review.”
    • Aisha Al-Warraq is a researcher and program coordinator at the Sana’a Center.



    Speakers’ bios

    • Mustapha Noman is a former Yemeni diplomat and former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs. His presentation will focus on the Gulf dynamics in Yemen.
    • 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.
    • Sheikh Hussein Al-Awadhi is a former governor of Al-Jawf governorate. His presentation will focus on the tribal aspect of Yemeni society.
    • Amr Gamal is a Yemeni filmmaker. He will screen his most recent film, “Ten days before the wedding”.
    • Ismail Al-Ganad is a former head of the General Authority for Mineral and Geological Resources in Yemen. He has more than four decades of experience in Yemen’s natural resources and oil sector where he held various senior posts. His presentation will focus on water and other natural resources in Yemen.
    • Abdulrahman Al-Ghaberi is one of Yemen’s most celebrated photographers. In his presentation, he will discuss and present his work documenting historic moments, public figures and daily life in Yemen over the past three decades.
    • Ali Al-Hebshi is a Yemeni businessman. His presentation will focus on the challenges facing the private sector during war.
    • Abdul-Ghani Al-Iryani is a political and development consultant who worked with the UN Special Envoy for Yemen and various UN agencies for the last five years. His presentation will evaluate the current peace process.
    • Ameen Mahmoud is the former governor of Taiz. His presentation will focus on the Battle for Taiz.
    • Abdulkareem Al-Maqdshi is a prominent tribal figure from Yemen. His presentation will cover the potential for tribes to facilitate a peace process in Yemen.
    • Ali Muhammed Zaid is Yemen’s former Ambassador to UNESCO. His presentation will focus on minorities in Yemen, a subject on which he has conducted research for several decades.
    • Hussein Muheb is one of Yemen’s most celebrated and famous singers. During his musical contribution he will play different types of the Yemeni oud.
    • Ali Nasser Mohammed is the former President of the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY). His presentation will focus on the history of South Yemen.
    • Adnan Al-Odini is the deputy head of the media department for the Islah party. He will present the Islah party’s point of view on the current war.
    • Abu Bakr Al-Qirbi was Yemen’s Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2001 to 2014. In his presentation, Dr. Al-Qirbi will discuss the GPC’s perspective post-Saleh and the search for new leadership.
    • Abdulrahman Al-Sakkaf is General Secretary and one of the most senior leaders of the Yemeni Socialist Party. In his presentation, he will discuss the socialist party’s perspective on the war and its vision for the future of southern Yemen.
    • Yahia Al-Sewari is a Yemeni journalist focused on Mahra and Socotra. His presentation will focus on these governorates.

    Participation Costs:

    All costs related to The Yemen Exchange are funded by participant fees. There is no supplementary government, private sector or non-profit support, a fact that allows us to assure participants a relatively neutral platform for dialogue and understanding.

    In order to promote small group dynamics, the number of participants will be capped at 35. The 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 be held under the Chatham House Rule.

    Accepted participants will receive a complete list of  speakers in addition to a reading syllabus before the course starts.

    Participation fees:

    3000.00 USD  for government officials and commercial enterprises,

    2500.00 USD  for non-profit organizations,

    1500.00 USD  for academics, freelance journalists and students.

    The prices indicated above do not include travel or accommodation costs. Each participant is responsible for arranging and covering them individually.

    Apply now by requesting an application form from