Message from the Chair: Dr Noel Brehony, CMG

Thank you for re-electing me to the position of Chair of the B-YS at our recent AGM and for electing and re-electing committee members. 

The B-YS is stronger now than it has been for some years.  The new committee is taking the opportunity to review strategy so that we can be in an even better position ahead.  We are looking at how we can attract more young people to our events and reach out to the British-Yemeni communities outside London.  We are planning to organise events around every six weeks between now and the start of Ramadan in May 2019 and these will cover a wider range of subjects.  We hope we can resume the Annual Lecture series in 2019.  In doing so we keep in mind the objectives of the society which are:
"to advance public education and knowledge concerning the Republic of Yemen, its history, geography, economy & culture; and also, where it is able from its own resources or through specific charitable fund-raising efforts, to aid Yemen and its people by supporting efforts of organisations working to address the needs of those Yemenis whose health, life, livelihood, or security are at risk and to encourage and aid any advancement in sustainable development."

Our first current priority is to recruit a new secretary to replace Audrey Allfree who has been a tower of strength over the last five years and wishes to stand down.  It is a vital position but one that normally requires no more than a few hours a week - keeping in touch with members, organising events and arranging meetings of the committee and the AGM and overseeing the distribution of the journal. This is a plea to all members:  would you please consider taking this on?  If you are not able to volunteer yourself would you kindly pass this to anyone who might want to be prepared to give some time to Yemen and the B-YS?  Audrey (sec@b-ys.org.uk) or I (chair@b-ys.org.uk) can provide more detail.

The situation in Yemen remains dire and gets worse each day.  The UN Envoy, Martin Griffiths, is trying to persuade the parties to resume peace negotiations, initially by inviting them to Geneva in the first week of September to start discussing how future negotiations might be arranged.  He needs and deserves the support of all, but even if he can achieve some initial success it is likely to be a prolonged process.  The regrettable fact is that in three and a half years of war none of the main combatants are ready to stop: all seem to think they cannot lose and might still win. The fragmentation that is taking place in Yemen will greatly complicate the implementation of any agreement.  But it is desperately urgent that talks start for the sake of Yemen and its people.

We will try to provide regular updates on the crisis at our events whilst continuing to arrange events that deal with culture and history. We hope to organise a series of illustrated talks over the next two years dealing with different regions of Yemen, comparing the 1970s and 1980s with the situation today.  Forthcoming events will be posted on this website, and details sent to members by e-mail.

One of our objectives is to support charities in Yemen.  We have been successful in raising money to support several charities including MSF, the Red Cross and the Ras Morbat Clinic in Aden and we have also reduced the level of our reserves to help without going below the limits recommended by the Charity Commission.  Please support our work by contributing to the British-Yemeni Society fund at Royal Bank of Scotland, sort code 16-01-23, account number 14555021; or by sending a cheque payable to the British-Yemeni Society c/o the Treasurer, Mr John Huggins, 44 Constitution Hill, Norwich, NR3 4BT.

Dr Noel Brehony, CMG,