The British-Yemeni Society

News and events


Journal articles

Book reviews

About the Society

Society officers

Annual reports

Lecture summaries


Annual appeal


Contact us

  International conference 


This was held at the Centre for Arab Gulf Studies, University of Exeter, on 1-4 April, 1998. The last such conference (on the two Yemens) was held at Exeter in 1983 and was attended by a number of those who participated in this year’s gathering, including Judge Najib Shamiri, Dr Hussain al-Hubaishi, Glen and Dr Jenny Balfour-Paul, and Helen Lackner.

The aim of the conference was to consider the challenges and responses of Yemen’s post-unity (1990) development through the examination of various themes:

Economy — development strategy and policies for economic reform; regional economic integration; and sectoral issues (e.g. oil).

Social issues — land tenure and resource management; access to social services; role of co-operative and non-governmental sectors; employment and civil service reform; urban growth; and internal and external migration.

Legal structure and institutions — judicial systems; state institutions and customary law; legal framework for democratic change (constitution and electoral laws); and local government.

Regional and international relations — Yemen and the Gulf Co-operation Council; development objectives in a new Arab and international context.

The conference was attended by some 120 people including senior officials from a number of Yemeni Ministries and Departments, and academics and other observers from the USA and Europe. It was also attended by the Society’s co-Presidents, Dr Hussain Abdullah al-Amri,Yemen’s Ambassador in London, and by Mr Victor Henderson, British Ambassador in Sana’a. The conference was opened by the University Vice-Chancellor, Sir Geoffrey Holland, and Dr Abdul-Karim al-Iryani (then Foreign Minister, now Prime Minister).

Some 34 papers, including several by PhD candidates, were presented and for the most part aroused extensive and lively discussion. We must hope (with the precedent of 1983 very much in mind) that a selection of these will be published so that the wealth of information and analysis which the conference brought together will be made available to a wider public.

As is usual on such occasions, equally rewarding, if not more so, was the opportunity for participants to meet and talk informally Several members of the Society attended the conference, including this writer who, living not far from Exeter, was able to assist in welcoming guests, particularly those from Yemen, and to entertain some of them at home, on behalf of the Society, when the conference ended.

November 1998