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Dr Elisabeth Kendall Proposes a New Approach for Peace in Yemen

18th May 2018

Pembroke Senior Research Fellow in Arabic, Dr Elisabeth Kendall and MP Bob Seely published an article in the Huffington Post yesterday, which proposes a new approach for peace in Yemen as Whitehall looks again at a plan for the country.

 The pair begin their article by summarising the crisis and setting out the staggering statistics. They report on previous methods of tackling extremism, before setting out their argument that the key to lasting stability lies in investment in locally generated activities.

 ‘Locals do want help, but they don’t want it from Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). That’s why concerned groups in al-Mahra have started to take matters into their own hands with their own community initiatives.’

‘These include colourful events such as an annual, inter-tribal camel race and a cultural festival to celebrate Mahri language, dress and customs.  A ‘great coastal clean-up’ brought together women and children as well as men - a big deal in Yemen - to pluck litter from 560km of beaches. Seventeen mosques helped spread the word. A new education and stabilisation programme ‘Ana wa-Nahnu’ (Me and Us) helps young people think about responsible citizenship.’

The writers think that the key to stabilisation in Yemen is to build on these grassroots activities, ‘If successful, they can be scaled up and rolled out to other regions of this war-torn country.  This way we can help provide an alternative to smuggling, militia membership or Islamist extremism.’

Dr Kendall’s article comes after many recent media appearances and conferences, where she has shared her expertise. Earlier this week she spoke at the Kreisky Forum for International Dialogue in Vienna, informing the audience of political, military, international and urgent humanitarian aspects of the Yemen War. Last week she addressed an audience at the Brookings Doha in Washington D.C., an overseas centre of the Brookings Institute, that advances high-quality, independent policy analysis and research on the Middle East.

Follow Dr Kendall on Twitter to stay up to date with her latest news and research.