Advocacy for Peaceful, Constructive US Policies

The affairs of the United States and Yemen are undeniably intertwined. Foreign and domestic policy decisions made in Washington have a very real impact on the lives of Yemenis and Yemeni-Americans. By the same token, challenges to security and stability in Yemen affect US interests in the Arabian Peninsula and at home. Within the US, Yemeni-Americans feel the effects of bigotry and Islamophobia, which are rampant among elected officials as well as private citizens.

The YPP is America’s first and only advocacy organization dedicated solely to Yemeni affairs and the US-Yemeni relationship. We believe that Yemeni-American voices need to be heard at all levels of government, and that the interests of both Americans and Yemenis are better served when Yemeni activists and experts, along with US-based Yemen specialists, are included in the policy-making process.

To that end, the Yemen Peace Project is building an advocacy program that will consistently and effectively communicate the views of these groups to US policy makers, and encourage a broader discussion of American policy toward Yemen among US officials, legislators, and the general public.
 


Read our 2017 report
on US policy


The YPP has produced a new report on the current state of US involvement in Yemen, along with recommendations for the US administration and Congress. The YPP advocates the development of a more just and constructive policy, one that is in line with America’s values and its obligations under international law, and that respects the civil and human rights of the Yemeni people. Unfortunately, the actions of the new US administration in its first two weeks in office indicate an opposite approach. The YPP is concerned that the administration intends to escalate America’s military involvement in Yemen. Such a course of action would have disastrous consequences for the Yemeni people, and would make America less safe as well. The recommendations published here will form the basis of our advocacy efforts in 2017 and beyond, as we work to transform the US-Yemen relationship for the good of both Yemenis and Americans.

Download the full report here.

YPP’s research and analysis form the backbone of all our efforts. We constantly monitor current events in Yemen and study the country’s recent history in order to provide readers with unparalleled commentary and analysis via our blog and podcast. YPP also works to engage with other analysts, scholars, and journalists to contribute to the public body of knowledge on Yemen. Our Mafraj Radio podcast has become the most prominent part of the Research & Analysis program, with an established and growing listenership in the United States, Yemen, and beyond.

In the coming years, we plan to launch the Mobile Micro-Reporting project. We intend to build a network of volunteer informants in locations throughout the country, and use voice, text, and picture messaging via mobile phone to gather “micro-reports” on local issues. Though internet access is hard to come by, GSM and CDMA cellular networks are ubiquitous in much of Yemen. The information we receive—from fluctuations in the prices of flour and fuel to the latest developments in tribal politics—will be shared with the public via the YPP website, and will also be used in our own research and analysis efforts.
We also plan to launch our local journalism fellowships in the near future. This project will recruit a number of young aspiring journalists for four-to-six-month fellowships, during which they will work with mentors experienced in both print and radio journalism to produce in-depth reports on issues of local and national importance in remote areas. Their reports will be featured on the YPP’s podcast and blog.

The YPP uses art to further our mission of increasing understanding of Yemen in the wider world. Art transcends language and geography, allowing individuals to express themselves and their experiences to a global audience. Our efforts to bring the work of Yemeni artists to the US and other countries provide people around the world a window into Yemeni society and culture, and help our audience to understand how much we all have in common.


The YPP’s Artistic Outreach program also benefits Yemeni artists by providing opportunities for them to show their work to a wider audience. Yemen has very few opportunities for artists, particularly young ones. By giving them an outlet outside of Yemen, we not only give them exposure, but also help to legitimize and encourage their work inside of Yemen.

The program grew out of the YPP’s first artistic event, the “Revolution in Their Eyes” photography exhibition, which brought eyewitness photography from Yemen’s 2011 popular uprising to audiences in Washington DC, Los Angeles, New York, London, and Canberra. The exhibition began as a one-weekend show organized by YPP staff and independent Yemeni-American activists, and grew into a traveling exhibition featuring over 100 images by six Yemeni activist-photographers.

The cornerstone of our Artistic Outreach programs is the International Yemeni Film & Arts Festival. The inaugural Festival was held in 2014, with film screenings and photography exhibitions in Los Angeles, New York, Washington, Berkeley, Aden, Sanʻa, and London. The goal of the Festival is two-fold: to provide an outlet for Yemeni artists and filmmakers, who have very few opportunities to show their work at home or abroad, and to expose as wide an audience as possible to Yemen and its people through the visual arts.

Participation in the Festival is not limited to Yemenis; we invite artists and filmmakers from all backgrounds, anywhere in the world, to submit their work for future Festivals, so long as either the artist or the artwork has some connection to Yemen.

As the YPP’s capacity increases, we plan to expand the Artistic Outreach program to include training programs and funded fellowships for Yemeni artists in a number of fields.
 

Ghada Al-Wazeer PHOTOGRAPHER

“Destruction and poverty are usually the news headlines on Yemen. Not so many people in the world see the other image of Yemen, the happy kids on the streets of San‘a who will ask you to take a picture of them, the working men and women going about their daily lives. I choose street photography because for me, what represents a country to the world is its streets and people.”

Ghada’s photography was featured in our “Revolution in Their Eyes” exhibition, and in our 2014 International Yemeni Film & Arts Festival.

Yusra Ahmad
Photographer

"There are many misconceptions of Yemen; however, it is a country rich in nature, history, and talent. The people of Yemen are known for their kindness, simplicity, and great hospitality to others. It is incredibly important for people around the world to view Yemen from a different angle rather than that which is ordinarily portrayed in the media. They must know that Yemen is not a war zone that condones terrorism, war, and hate; but a country full of love, peace, beauty, and skilled individuals. I suggest attending events such as ones hosted by the YPP to gain a better understanding of Yemen and its culture.
In short, Yemen is a country overflowing with beauty that I’d love for others to see through the lenses and artwork of its own people."

Yusra’s photography was featured in our 2014 International Yemeni Film & Arts Festival.