AIYS and YCSR Conference on National Dialogue

The Outcomes of the National Dialogu​e: The Risk of Failure and the Horizon of Implementation
by Dr. Salwa Dammaj , Resident Director of AIYS
The American Institute for Yemeni Studies (AIYS) in Sana’a organized, in collaboration with the Yemeni Center for Studies and Research (YCSR), a seminar themed: The Outcomes of the National Dialogue: The Risk of Failure and the Horizon of Implementation. The function was held on September 2, 2014, in the headquarters of the Yemeni Center for Studies and Research (YCSR) in the capital Sana’a.
As Resident Director of the (AIYS), I gave an introduction in which I said: “Firstly, I would like to express thanks and gratitude to Yemen’s great poet and outstanding national and intellectual figure Dr Abdul-Aziz al-Magaleh, the chairman of the Yemeni Center for Studies and Research who always has been a genuine supporter of the (AIYS) activities; thanks also goes to the staff and management of the (YCSR). I would like also to convey to you the greetings of the president at AIYS, Prof. Daniel Martin Varisco.
I continued, saying that this seminar is being held amid a very critical crisis while the country has been experiencing serious complexities and acute variations among the different political forces and social constituencies. It is an alarming dilemma that embodies existential threats which have seriously destabilized Yemen and have grave impacts on Yemeni peoples. Likewise it highlights the pressing need to invoke immediately the National Dialogue’s outcomes.

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Bonnefoy on the Yemeni Revolution


Laurent Bonnefoy and Marine Poirer have just published “The Structuration of the Yemeni Revolution.  Exploring a Process in Motion” in Revue Française de Science Politique 62 (5-6):131-150, 2014).  This is an English translation of an article originally published in French.  Dr. Bonnefoy has uploaded it to his site.

In honor of Abdullah al-Baradduni


لذكرى 15 لرحيل الشاعر والمؤرخ والمفكر عبدالله البردوني
بمناسبة الذكرى 15 لرحيل شاعر اليمن الكبير وضميرها الإنساني الأستاذ/ عبدالله البردُّوني، تنظم جبهة إنقاذ الثورة السلمية الصباحية الموسيقية للفنان/ عبدالفتاح القباطي، التي يغني فيها عدد من قصائد البردُّوني. ومعرض الصور للفنان/ عبدالرحمن الغابري، الذي يستعرض ما إلتقطته عدسته من صور تعبر عن مراحل عدة من حياة الأستاذ عبدالله البردُّوني.
تقام الفعالية، العاشرة صباح السبت 30/8/2014م ببيت الثقافة/ شارع القصر/ صنعاء

New AIYS Resident Director

Dr. Salwa Dammaj, AIYS Sanaa Resident Director (left)
and Dr. Khalid Abdullah

The Sanaa office of AIYS has a new resident director, Dr. Salwa Dammaj.  Dr. Dammaj has a Ph.D. in International Relations from Malaya University (2013) on the topic “United States in the Red Sea: An Analysis on Foreign and Security Policy, 1990-2008.”  She is also Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at Sanaa University.  On August 26 Dr. Dammaj hosted around 25 guests to a public discussion event, at which two new AIYS Yemeni fellows for 2013/2014 talked about their research proposals.  The first was by ‘Ali Faisal, who spoke on recording popular stories from Socotra and translating them into Arabic and English. His proposed research was amazing and he surprised the audience.  The second talk was by Khaled Abdullah on a historical study of colonial Aden’s political development and the election of councils from 1937-1967. His proposal was well done too. Most of the audience were professors in Sanaa University and YCSR.

Yemeni Muslims in Addis Adaba

Anwar Mosque, Addis Adaba

Sophia Pandya has published an article entitled “Yemenis and Muwalladīn in Addis Ababa: Blood Purity and the
Opportunities of Hybridity” in the Journal of Arabian Studies: Arabia, the Gulf, and the Red Sea.  Below is the abstract.

This is an analysis of the Yemeni Muslim community living in diaspora in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, through the ethnographic lens of the politics of religious and ethnic identity, with a particular focus on transnational and multiracial hybridity, and gender. Living in diaspora has created pressure both to identify as ‘Yemeni’ and to assimilate into Ethiopian society. Ethiopians and Yemenis in Ethiopia have discriminated against those considered not to be maintaining ‘pure’ ethnic or religious boundaries. The muwalladīn, in particular, experience degrees of discrimination in the Yemeni community, due to perceptions that they are not ‘pure-blooded Yemenis’ or that they are simply inferior because they are black. Does this hybridity also create a space in which exclusionary definitions of culture and religion can be rejected? This study examines the factors working for and against assimilation for the Yemeni (chiefly Ḥaḍramī) and muwallad community in Addis Ababa, and the social opportunities and implications of their migration (or that of their ancestors), considering socio-religious class distinctions, political and economic contexts, and gender. It explores the ways in which they have established themselves, reimagined community, and redefined their identities.

Wavell in Yemen: #2


[Illustration, Guests in Turkey, from John Clark Ridpath, Ridpath’s History of the World (Cincinnati: The Jones Brothers Publishing Company, 1899), vol IV.]

[Note: Arthur John Byng Wavell (1882-1916) was a British soldier and adventurer who traveled in disguise to Mecca in 1908 and went on to Yemen in 1911 to witness fighting between the Zaydi imam’s troops and the Ottoman Turks. This account was originally published in 1912. For Part One of this series, click here.]

The hour was late and the smoking room almost deserted when the conversation about to be reported took place. My companion the Pasha was a tall, heavy man, on whose sunburned and lined countenance a long life in the open air and many hard-fought campaigns in tropical countries had left their traces. He had been a field marshal once, but that was in the days of Abdul Hamid, when as some one said after the American civil war, “you could not spit out the window without hitting a major-general.” It was to this latter rank that the reshuffle which followed hard on the constitution had reduced him…

The Pasha regarded me with some curiosity.

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Yemen Scholars at WOCMES


Today is the second day of the WOCMES (World Council on Middle East Studies) conference in Ankara, Turkey.  There are two panels that focus on Yemen; both were organized by AIYS member, Dr. Najwa Adra.  The first is entitled:  Tribalism in the Middle East I: Tribe and Diatribe: Anthropology Meets Political Science

Moderator & Discussant: Lisa Anderson
Dawn Chatty : Syrian Tribes, National Politics and Transnationalism
Najwa Adra : Qabyila: Tribal Identity in Yemen
Daniel Varisco:  Yemen’s Tribal Idiom:  An Ethno-Historical Survey of Genealogical Models (read by Dr. Mohammed Sharafuddin)

The second panel is entitled:  Tribalism in the Middle East II: Tribes in Yemen: the View from within

Moderator & Discussant: Saad Sowayan
Mohammed Sharafuddin : Poetry and Tribalism in Yemen
Adel Mujahid Al Shargabi : The Future Political Role of Yemeni Tribal Sheikhs in Light of the Expected Outcomes of the National Dialogue Conference
Abdul Karim Alaug : Tribalism in the Yemeni National Dialogue Conference



Wavell in Yemen: #1


Market in Lahj

[Note: Arthur John Byng Wavell (1882-1916) was a British soldier and adventurer who traveled in disguise to Mecca in 1908 and went on to Yemen in 1911 to witness fighting between the Zaydi imam’s troops and the Ottoman Turks. This account was originally published in 1912.]

The events in that country [Yemen] are worthy of a chapter in the history of these prosaic days. The counter-currents of human interest and activity that run up and down the Red Sea, linking the civilizations of the East and West, leave undisturbed this backwater. Western Europe knows little and cares less about what goes on there.

Yet for the last twenty years, while the Turks and Arabs have been struggling for the mastery, the history of the Yemen has been one of fire and sword. It is a record of battles and sieges, places taken by storm and garrisons starved into surrender; of savage massacres and fierce reprisals. Generals have made and lost great military reputations there. The campaign of 1911, with which this book deals, probably cost nearly as many lives as did the Boer War. Nor is this conflict over; it will be renewed and fought out to the end, for both sides mean to win.

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