Perspectives on Civil Society in South Yemen: Academic and Media Coverage Past and Present

Date: November 26, 2019, 09:30am – 01:30pm
Venue: The Arab British Chamber of Commerce, 43 Upper Grosvenor Street, London, W1K 2NJ
Speakers: Huda Luqman (Daughter of M.A. Luqman), Dr. Susanne Dahlgren (University of Tampere,
Finland), Rasha Obaid (Peace Track Initiative/Visiting Fellow at LSE Centre for Women, Peace &
Security), Ameen Shandhor (Academic Forum M.A. Luqman), chaired by Thanos Petouris (SOAS,
University of London)

Registration: (by November 22, 2019)

The Yemen war has often been portrayed as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, or as a fight
for legitimacy between the Houthis and the Hadi government. From these perspectives, South Yemen
is often overlooked and has, therefore, been neglected by international media, researchers and
analysts for a long time. However, since August of this year, South Yemen has received unprecedented
attention due to an escalation in conflict between the Hadi government and the Southern Transitional
Council (a formal organization which emerged in 2017 from the Southern Movement, a campaign for
South Yemen’s independence). Because analyses of Yemen in recent years largely focused on elites,
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and security issues, as well as on apparent changes in regional
alliances, local dynamics in South Yemen, including developments whose origins are deeply rooted in
the history of South Yemen, received little notice in these studies or in the media. Due to the lack of
attention given to the South Yemeni population, we believe that local dynamics have often been
misjudged or misinterpreted.
As the ongoing conflict in Yemen has put South Yemen at the centre of competing interests, and
because South Yemeni actors will likely have a say in the future of the Republic of Yemen, the
workshop will provide an overview of current events in South Yemen from a historical and grassroots
perspective. In considering the colonial period, the time of the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen,
the unification era, and the years since the latest war officially began in 2015, the discussions will
particularly focus on civil society, with a special emphasis on women’s activism, and the role of local
and international media in current developments.