The Yemen Conflict in Perspective: Geopolitical and Humanitarian Challenges

A half-day conference with leading policymakers and experts.
Friday, March 31
9:00 am - 2:00 pm
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The Middle East Institute
1319 18th Street NW
Washington, District of Columbia 20036
(Map)

Event Information

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Yemen is gripped by clashes between Houthi rebels and pro-government forces, interference by regional actors, and a failure to complete the political transition following the 2011 uprisings against then-President Ali Abdullah Saleh. This instability has created an opening for the militants of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and a devastating humanitarian impact.

How can international engagement take into account the domestic and geopolitical forces at work, secure a peaceful resolution of the conflict, and combat the extremist threat? What are the challenges faced by humanitarian aid organizations that operate in Yemen, and how can the international community confront the coming challenge of reconstruction and repair of the damaged country? This Middle East Institute half-day conference examined the regional dynamics surrounding the conflict and the economic situation inside Yemen.

Conference Agenda:
8:50AM-9:00AM | Welcome and Introductory Remarks
Amb. (ret.) Wendy Chamberlin
President, The Middle East Institute
 
9:00AM-9:45 AM | Keynote Address
Ismail Ould Chaikh Ahmed
Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Yemen
 
10:00AM-11:30AM | Panel 1: The Political and Strategic Implications of the Yemen Conflict
Mohammed Abulahoum
Justice & Building Party, Yemen
H.E. Ahmed Awad Binmubarak
Ambassador of Yemen to the United States
The Honorable Anne Patterson
Former Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs
Anne Gearan (Moderator)
National Politics Correspondent, The Washington Post
 
12:15PM-1:45PM | Panel 2: Preparing for Reconstruction/Addressing the Humanitarian Crisis
Nadwa al-Dawsari
Nonresident Senior Fellow, Project on Middle East Democracy
Albert Jaeger
Mission Chief for Yemen, International Monetary Fund
Nabil Shaiban
Senior Operations Officer, The World Bank
Amb. (ret.) Gerald Feierstein (Moderator)
Director, MEI Center for Gulf Affairs

Speakers:

Mohammed Abulahoum
Justice & Building Party, Yemen
Mohammed Abulahoum is a leading political and social figure in Yemen, where he has been influential in the country’s politics for the past three decades. Abulahoum founded the Republican Party in the early 1990s and later joined the General People’s Congress (GPC), first as a member of the party’s executive committee and later as head of foreign and economic relations. Abulahoum resigned from the GPC in 2011, supported the popular uprising against the government under Ali Abdullah Saleh, and became a founder of the Justice & Building Party. When civil war started, Abulahoum continued to play a key role; he negotiated between the conflict parties and took part in the Geneva talks in June 2015.

Nadwa al-Dawsari
Nonresident Senior Fellow, Project on Middle East Democracy
Nadwa Al-Dawsari is a researcher and conflict practioner with over 16 years of field experience in conflict management and civil society development in Yemen. She is specialized in informal governance, tribes, and tribal conflict resolution mechanisms. Since 2008, she conducted extensive field research focusing mainly on security and justice, governance, and political transition in Yemen from a community-level perspective thus providing deeper insights into the internal dynamics of the conflict in the country. Nadwa is a Nonresident Senior Fellow of the Project on Middle East Democracy. She is also the founder and former executive director of Partners Yemen and a member of the Institute of Inclusive Security’s Women Waging Peace Network. She holds a Masters in Development Studies from the University of Leeds

H.E. Ahmed Awad Binmubarak
Ambassador of Yemen to the United States
H.E. Ahmed Binmubarak is Ambassador of the Republic of Yemen to the United States and the general secretary of the National Dialogue Conference on Yemen. He led a team of over 120 staff facilitating the mediation process among the participating 565 delegates, and co-chaired the committee of the Multi-Partner Peace Building Trust Fund. Previously, Dr. Binmubarak was the director of the Presidential Office and chief of staff. Educated in business administration (PhD and MBA from the University of Baghdad), he established the Outreach Maastricht School of Management program at Sana'a University. As director of the Center for Business Administration for postgraduate studies in Sana'a University he oversaw the creation of his country’s first internationally accredited MBA program.

Amb. (ret.) Wendy Chamberlin
President, MEI
Wendy Chamberlin has been president of the Middle East Institute since 2007. Previously, as deputy high commissioner for refugees from 2004 to 2007, she supervised the administration of the U.N. humanitarian organization. A 29-year veteran of the U.S. Foreign Service, she was ambassador to Pakistan from 2001 to 2002, when she played a key role in securing Pakistan’s cooperation in the U.S.-led campaign against al-Qaeda in Afghanistan in the wake of the terrorist attacks against the U.S. on September 11. Ambassador Chamberlin served as director of global affairs and counter-terrorism at the National Security Council (1991-1993) and as deputy assistant secretary in the bureau of international counter-narcotics and law enforcement affairs (1999-2001). As assistant administrator in the Asia-Near East bureau of the U.S. Agency for International Development from 2002 to 2004, she oversaw civilian reconstruction programs in Iraq and Afghanistan and development assistance programs throughout the Middle East and East Asia. Other assignments included U.S. ambassador to the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (1996-1999), director of press and public affairs for the Near East Bureau (1991-1993), deputy chief of mission in Kuala Lumpur (1993-1996), Arab-Israeli affairs (1982-1984) and postings in Morocco, Pakistan, Malaysia, and Zaire.

Amb. (ret.) Gerald Feierstein
Director, MEI Center for Gulf Affairs
Amb. Gerald Feierstein directs the Center for Gulf Affairs at The Middle East Institute. He retired from the U.S. Foreign Service in May 2016 after a 41-year career, with the personal rank of Career Minister. As a diplomat he served in nine overseas postings, including three tours of duty in Pakistan, as well as assignments in Saudi Arabia, Oman, Lebanon, Jerusalem, and Tunisia. In 2010, President Obama appointed Feierstein U.S. Ambassador to Yemen, where he served until 2013. From 2013 until his retirement, Feierstein was Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs.

Anne Gearan
National Politics Correspondent, The Washington Post
Anne Gearan is a political correspondent for The Washington Post, and the paper’s lead campaign reporter covering Hillary Clinton. She writes daily campaign stories and analysis and appears frequently on television to provide reporting and analysis on Clinton and the 2016 race. Gearan was previously the Post’s diplomatic correspondent. She covered foreign affairs, national security and U.S. security policy and traveled extensively with the U.S. secretary of state. She has visited more than 80 countries on six continents while covering the State Department, Pentagon and White House. Gearan has covered U.S. policy and engagement overseas across three administrations, with particular emphasis on Syria, Iran, Iraq, Russia, North Korea and China. Gearan has also focused on Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Albert Jaeger
Economist, International Monetary Fund
Albert Jaeger is Mission Chief for Uzbekistan and Yemen in the Middle East & Central Asia Department at the International Monetary Fund in Washington, DC. He worked before in the European Department on a number of EU and Eastern European countries and in the Fiscal Affairs Department on pension and tax issues. His research interests include structural reforms, labor markets, and fiscal policy. Before he joined the Fund, he was an assistant professor at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Vienna, Austria.

Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed
Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Yemen
Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed has been the Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General for Yemen since 2015. Prior to assuming this post he served as Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Deputy Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya, United Nations Resident Coordinator, Humanitarian Coordinator and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative in Tripoli. Mr. Ould Cheikh Ahmed served as Resident Coordinator, Humanitarian Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Syria 2008-2012, and in Yemen, 2012-2014. Earlier, he held several positions with the United Nations Children’s Fund, including as Director of Change Management in New York, Deputy Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa in Nairobi, and Representative in Georgia.

The Honorable Anne Patterson
Former Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs
Amb. Anne Patterson served until December 2016 as U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs. A career member of the Senior Foreign Service, Patterson served as Ambassador to Egypt, 2011-2013, and to Pakistan, 2007-2010. Her leadership positions include service as Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Deputy Inspector General, and Ambassador to Colombia and to El Salvador. She served also in the American Embassy in Riyadh and the Permanent Mission to the UN in Geneva.

Nabil Shaiban
Senior Operations Officer, The World Bank
Nabil Shaiban is a senior operations officer at the World Bank, currently managing the support project for the Yemen Mutual Accountability Framework (MAF) and the Executive Bureau. Shaiban previously worked as a consultant in the fields of governance, project management, project monitoring and evaluation, political economy analysis and aid effectiveness. From 1990 to 2010, Shaiban served in the Republic of Yemen’s Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation. His leadership positions in government included Director General for International Development Cooperation, Head of the Aid Harmonization and Alignment Unit, and Head of the Technical Office of the Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs and Minister of Planning and International Cooperation.  

Robert Wilson
Policy and Program Coordination Division Chief, Near Eastern Affairs Bureau/Assistance Coordination Office (NEA/AC)
Prior to joining the NEA/Assistane Coordination Office, Mr. Wilson served for 34 years as a US Foreign Service Officer with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Positions have included: senior development officer in Herat, Afghanistan (2013-2014), and USAID mission director in Yemen (2011-2013), Pakistan (2009-2010), and Georgia (2006-2009). He obtained a bachelor of arts from Boston College (1976) and a master of science from Purdue University (1982).

 

 


 

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