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 years 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
Yemens 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 Societys
co-Presidents, Dr Hussain Abdullah al-Amri,Yemens Ambassador in London, and by Mr
Victor Henderson, British Ambassador in Sanaa. 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.