While the success of the peaceful protest movements in Yemen during Arab Spring are encouraging, Yemen requires innovative economic and social development projects to establish lasting change. It is important to ensure that the fledgling process of transition into an inclusive democracy is both successful and sustainable. The young women and men who were at the forefront of the protests must be included in discussions about the young nation’s trajectory to foster long-lasting peace and equal participation in civil society. In order to develop a context-specific awareness of the problems young Yemenis face, Women without Borders (WwB) gathered Dr. Bilqis Jubari and Dr. Mohammed Al Maitami and a host of Austrian experts on Yemen for a roundtable discussion about the economic, social, and political challenges the nation must overcome in the short-term and future on 21 Dec. 2011.
Dr. Bilqis Jubari: Jubari is director of the Educational and Psychological Counselling Centre at Sana’a University in Yemen, where she is also an associate professor in the Department of Psychology. She is co-founder and chair of the Family Counselling and Development Foundation, one of the only organisations in Yemen to provide psychiatric and counselling services to the population. She is a courageous advocate for women in a country ranked as one of the worst in the world for women’s rights, and is also a consultant for INTERSOS and the Social Fund for Development. Dr. Jubari partnered with WwB to launch the Stop Violence! Yemen Hotline, which provided those affected and concerned by violent extremism and domestic violence with free counselling services across the country.
Dr. Mohammed al-Maitami: al-Maitami was ranked as one of the most influential Arabs in the world in the 2010 Arabian Business Power 500 list. He is a Professor of Economics at Sana’a University in Yemen and Vice Chancellor of the International University of Technology in Malaysia. Dr. al-Maitami founded the Sheba Center for Strategic Studies in 2008 to provide Yemen’s decision-makers with alternative social, economic, and political policy strategies. Since 2007, he has been Vice Chairman of Non-Governmental Advisory Counsel of the President of the Republic of Yemen. In addition to writing a weekly column in Yemen’s largest state newspaper, Dr. al-Maitami consults for the World Bank, the Middle East Forum for Democracy in Washington D.C., and the Global Development Network.