National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations

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SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT FROM THE NATIONAL COUNCIL

Applications Now Being Accepted For The National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations'

Malone Fellow Study Visit to Yemen

 

 

Yemenis are renowned for their extraordinary gifts of poetry, music, and dance, all of which are often celebrated at weddings, national celebrations, and the birth of children, as attested to by these three Yemenis. Arabia Felix - 'Happy Arabia' - is a term that historians, scholars, and other writers have  applied almost exclusively to Yemen since time immemorial.

Yemenis are renowned for their extraordinary gifts of poetry, music, and dance, all of which are often celebrated at weddings, national celebrations, and the birth of children, as attested to by these three Yemenis. Arabia Felix - "Happy Arabia" - is a term that historians, scholars, and other writers have applied almost exclusively to Yemen since time immemorial.

 

 

The National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations is pleased to offer, through the Joseph J. Malone Fellowship in Arab and Islamic Studies, a study visit to Yemen April 18 - 29, 2008, with (a required) pre-departure orientation in Washington, D.C. on April 17 - 18. This special opportunity will provide participants a privileged first hand exposure to one of the Arab and Islamic world's most fascinating countries, one whose society has retained its customs and traditions while, for the past decade and a half, demonstrating one of the most dynamic and diverse systems of popular multi-party participation in the country's politics to be found anywhere in the developing world's 140 nations.

The National Council is currently accepting applications to participate in this study visit. Full application procedures are described in detail on page 2 of the application form. Please follow these procedures closely.

CLICK HERE FOR A MALONE FELLOWSHIP APPLICATION
(.pdf file - click to open, or to download: right-click and select "Save Target As...")

American professionals in academia, government, business and educational non-profit organizations are invited to apply.

This Malone Fellow Study Visit to Yemen will provide participants an educational experience that few Americans and other Westerners have had. The visit is choreographed to provide participants an unparalleled exposure to one of the most stunningly beautiful of any of the dozen Arab countries to which the National Council has been organizing and escorting delegations of American leaders for the past quarter century. This will be the Council's 20th study visit to Yemen.

 

 

THE PROGRAM

The Republic of Yemen, located in the southwestern corner of the Arabian Peninsula, is one of the most intriguing and beautiful countries in the Arab world. Its ancient kingdoms grew rich in the trade of frankincense and myrrh. One of them, Saba', constructed the great dam of Ma'rib, an engineering feat of the ancient world, and is said to have been the home of the Queen of Sheba (or Bilqis as she is known in Yemen). Yemen is mentioned in the Bible and the Qur'an, and is the setting for one of the stories of A Thousand and One Nights. Among the ancient civilizations that ruled in Yemen are the Sabaeans and the Himyarites. After the spread of Islam, the most important rulers in Yemen were the Zaydis and the Ottomans.

In medieval times, Yemeni towns like Zabid were unrivalled in the Muslim world as centers of religious learning. Yemen's coffee, shipped from the port of Mocha, became a prized luxury good in Europe. The Old City of Sana'a, Shibam in Hadhramout, and Zabid in the Tihama are all UNESCO World Heritage cities, preserving their extraordinary architecture for the enjoyment of citizens and visitors alike. Yemen's topography is the most varied of any country on the Arabian Peninsula, and northern Yemen is known as the "Roof of Arabia" for its spectacular mountains. The capital of Sana'a sits at the center of the Sana'a basin at an altitude of 2,200 meters above the sea (almost 7,000 feet).

For practically all of the National Council's previous study visits to Yemen, the days in Sana'a have featured visits to sites of cultural and historical interest as well as briefings by an impressive assemblage of individuals renowned for being extraordinarily knowledgeable of the country's government, politics, society, and developmental dynamics. Included among the institutions and meetings with national leaders have been the President, Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Education, President of the University of Sana'a, the American Ambassador and embassy staff, and the leaders of political parties as well as an array of leaders and representatives of non-governmental organizations dealing with issues pertaining to women, children, and the disabled. As only a handful of such briefings will be possible during this visit, we will do our utmost to arrange as many of these kinds of meetings as feasible in accordance with the participants' interests.

Among the sites to be visited in both the capital area as well as the countryside are: Old City of Sana'a, Wadi Dhar, Dar Al-Hamd, the Mountain Village of Kawkaban, Ancient Mar'ib Dam, Temples and Shrines of Bilqis, National Museum of Sana'a, the Mountain Villages of Al-Hajjarah and Manakha in the northern region of the country, the overland desert route from the capital to the famed villages of Seiyun and Tarim in the Hadramawt in the eastern reaches of the country, and the two villages with the name of Shibam: the one tucked beneath a cliff-strewn area in the north, and the other one -- the "Manhattan of the Desert" -- in the Hadramawt. As practically all of these sites are breaktakingly beautiful, participants will want to ensure they bring their cameras and an appropriate supply of film and/or digital memory cards. Among the numerous illustrated guide books to Yemen that are available, the one on Yemen that previous visitors have often praised the most is the one published by Lonely Planet.

Throughout the study visit Malone Fellows will benefit from travelling with knowledgeable escorts from the National Council (see below) and the Yemen College of Middle Eastern Studies, further enriching the educational value of the program. Both the National Council and the in-country coordinators have been administering educational study tours of Yemen for over two decades, and this Malone Fellow delegation will benefit from those years of experience.

 

 
Yemen has conducted multi-party national elections for parliament and the presidency four times since 1993.  Women have enjoyed the right to vote and run for office from the beginning.

Yemen has conducted multi-party national elections for parliament and the presidency four times since 1993. Women have enjoyed the right to vote and run for office from the beginning.

 

The historical village of Al-Hajjarah rests atop one of Yemen's many mountains. Vehicles are forbidden within the village's walls. Historically, Al-Hajjarah was home to Yemen's once large community of Jews, most of whom emigrated to Israel after 1948.  Al-Hajjarah is also near a village and site of pilgrimage for Ismaili Muslims.

The historical village of Al-Hajjarah rests atop one of Yemen's many mountains. Vehicles are forbidden within the village's walls. Historically, Al-Hajjarah was home to Yemen's once large community of Jews, most of whom emigrated to Israel after 1948. Al-Hajjarah is also near a village and site of pilgrimage for Ismaili Muslims.

 

Yemen's famous Shihara Bridge, constructed in the 17th century, remains in use to this day.  Shihara village, an important launching site for Yemen's resistance against Turkish invasions, was heavily fortified and equipped with its own water reservoirs.

Yemen's famous Shihara Bridge, constructed in the 17th century, remains in use to this day. Shihara village, an important launching site for Yemen's resistance against Turkish invasions, was heavily fortified and equipped with its own water reservoirs.

 

Two among Yemen's many budding leaders of tomorrow.

Two among Yemen's many budding leaders of tomorrow.

 

 

The ancient, fortified city of Old Sana'a has been inhabited for more than 2,500 years. Declared a World Heritage City by UNESCO in 1984, Sana'a's historic section has 103 mosques, 14 hammams (public bath houses), and over 6,000 traditional residences in which Yemenis still live with their families.

The ancient, fortified city of Old Sana'a has been inhabited for more than 2,500 years. Declared a World Heritage City by UNESCO in 1984, Sana'a's historic section has 103 mosques, 14 hammams (public bath houses), and over 6,000 traditional residences in which Yemenis still live with their families.

 

 

ESCORT

The escort for this Malone Fellow Visit to Yemen will be Dr. John Duke Anthony, President & CEO of the National Council. Dr. Anthony is the only American ever to have been awarded a Fulbright Fellowship in the former People's Democratic Republic of Yemen, and is the only American to have served as an official international observer in all four of Yemen's presidential and parliamentary elections. Dating from 1970, he has visited Yemen more than 20 times, most frequently as the lead scholar escort for one of the National Council's delegations of Congressional staff and American educators in the social sciences, inclusive of alumni of the National Council's Malone Fellows in Arab and Islamic Studies Programs.

 

 

COST

The fee for this Malone Fellow Visit to Yemen is $3,500.00 per person*. This includes roundtrip airfare from Washington, D.C., housing in a single room, 2 meals a day/5 days a week (Sat-Wed), one four-day trip to Hadhramout, one overnight trip to Manakha (hotel, transportation and meals included in all trips), one afternoon trip to Dar al-Hajar, visits to sites in Sana'a and entrance fees, meetings arranged with ministers and local organizations (TBA), administration fees, Yemeni visa, and other various services (such as airport transportation, internet, laundry facilities, 24-hour guards, etc).

*Please also note that Malone Fellows are responsible for their own transportation to and from, as well as two nights' accommodation in, Washington, D.C.

This latter requirement partially explains the higher program fee per person for the National Council's Oman program, which is already fully subscribed; the other reason, as explained in the flyer for that program [see: www.ncusar.org], is that all hotel rooms (and most guides and all-terrain vehicles) in Oman have been fully booked since last November. As increasing numbers of Americans and others "discover Yemen," there is every reason to believe that costs there will also rise accordingly. For an early indication of that trend already having begun, see the lead illustrated article on Yemen -- "Yemen's Exotic Secrets" -- that appeared in the Travel Section of the New York Times of December 30, 2007, written by Tom Downey. For a complete copy of this article, visit: http://travel.nytimes.com/2007/12/30/travel/30Yemen.html

 

 

Dating to the third century B.C., the Wadi Hadramawt village of Shibam is a cluster of 500 mudbrick, stone and wood residences, some eight stories high. Shibam's tall structures pre-date the Industrial Age by many centuries. Home to the world's first skyscrapers, it easily earned the moniker bestowed upon it by the famed traveler Freya Stark as the 'The Manhattan of the Desert.'

The Wadi Hadramawt village of Shibam is a cluster of 500 mudbrick, stone and wood residences, some eight stories high. Shibam's tall structures pre-date the Industrial Age by many centuries. Home to the world's first skyscrapers, it easily earned the moniker bestowed upon it by the famed traveler Freya Stark as the "The Manhattan of the Desert."

 

 
An important stronghold during the Turkish occupation of the northernmost areas of Yemen, Kawkaban served to protect the town of Shibam  -- a different Shibam than the one noted above in the Hadramawt. It is built at the summit of a 350-meter cliff. The village is situated high in the mountains; indeed, the name Kawkaban means that it is close to the heavens.

An important stronghold during the Turkish occupation of the northernmost areas of Yemen, Kawkaban served to protect the town of Shibam -- a different Shibam than the one noted above in the Hadramawt. It is built at the summit of a 350-meter cliff. The village is situated high in the mountains; indeed, the name Kawkaban means that it is close to the heavens.

 

The famous Bab Al-Yemen (Door of Yemen) is the gate to the Old City of Sana'a. Until about 30 years ago the entire city of Sana'a was enclosed within this wall. Then as now, the Old City has remained home to one of the largest and most robust as well as colorful suqs (markets) anywhere in the world.

The famous Bab Al-Yemen (Door of Yemen) is the gate to the Old City of Sana'a. Until about 30 years ago the entire city of Sana'a was enclosed within this wall. Then as now, the Old City has remained home to one of the largest and most robust as well as colorful suqs (markets) anywhere in the world.

 

 

PROCEDURE

Individuals interested in being selected to participate in this Malone Fellow Visit to Yemen are required to submit a Malone Fellowship Application to the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations no later than March 1, 2008. The application can be found through the link below or on the National Council's website www.ncusar.org. Full application procedures are described in detail on page 2 of the application form. Please follow these procedures closely.

CLICK HERE FOR A
MALONE FELLOWSHIP APPLICATION
(.pdf file - click to open, or to download:
right-click and select "Save Target As...")

American professionals in academia, government, business and educational non-profit organizations are invited to apply.

Because a visa to Yemen is required of individuals entering the country, the National Council will need to obtain one for each participant. Individuals selected to participate must be able to confirm that their U.S. passport is valid for at least six (6) months and that it contain at least two (2) clear visa pages adjacent to each other.

 

 

ITINERARY

Thursday April 17th - Pre-Departure Orientation
All Day - Pre-Departure Orientation (NCUSAR office, Suite 503, 1730 M Street, NW, Washington, DC) with briefings by representatives of the Yemen Embassy, the U.S. Departments of State and Defense, Yemeni and American scholars, among others.

Friday April 18th - Depart USA
Morning / Early Afternoon - Continuation of Pre-Departure Orientation (NCUSAR office, Washington, DC)
Evening - Depart Washington, DC

Saturday April 19th Arrival in Yemen
Evening Arrive in Sana'a
Check-into rooms at one of the Yemen College for Middle East Studies' (YCMES) traditional Yemeni residences of mudbrick and stone architecture in the center of the Old Historic quarter of Sana'a. Have dinner.

Sunday April 20th In Sana'a
8:00am Breakfast at YCMES
9:30am Walking tour of the heart of the Old City, Bab Al-Yemen, and its suq (market).
12:00pm Lunch at YCMES

Monday April 21st Manakha & Al-Hajjarah
8:00am Depart via all-terrain vehicles and cameras for overnight visit to Manakha
11:00am Arrive in Manakha for traditional lunch
2:00pm Depart for a visit to the old Jewish village of Al-Hajjarah, with walk back to Manakha
7:00pm Dinner at Manakha guest house, followed by live traditional Yemeni music and dancing.
Overnight in Manakha.

Tuesday April 22nd Manakha & al-Hotaib
7:00am Breakfast
8:00am Depart for al-Hotaib
Hiking in the Harazi Mountains in the morning with a stop at al-Khalil village and descending into Manakha.
1:00pm Lunch
3:00pm Depart for Return to Sana'a

Wednesday April 23rd Day in Sana'a for shopping, resting, etc
10:00am Visit National Museum

Thursday April 24th Seyoun & Tarim
7:30am Depart Sana'a for Sey'un in the Wadi Hadramawt in eastern Yemen via Yemeni Airways
8:30am Arrive in Sey'un
9:00am Breakfast at hotel
10:00am Depart hotel and visit the handicraft market in Sey'un
11:00am Visit to the National Museum, the Qalat (former Ruler's Palace) and the suq
12:30pm Lunch in Sey'un
1:30pm Rest and swimming at hotel
3:00pm Depart for Tarim, visit the city and the Shafi'i (one of the four schools of Islamic law) library
(if time permits, visit Aynat and/or the ancient practice of gypsum-making, a process essential to providing sealants for the shrines of saints and region's famous mudbrick dwellings, long renowned as the largest assemblage of such mudbrick structures anywhere in the Arab world)
6:00pm Depart Tarim for Say'un for dinner, then return to hotel
Evening is free for relaxing and/or swimming

Friday April 25th al-Hajjarayn & Shibam, the village with the world's first skyscrapers long before the commencement of the Industrial Age
7:30am Breakfast at hotel
8:30am Depart hotel for Al-Hajjarain, tour honey shops, visit to shops that sell the Hadramawt's honey, which remains the world's most sought-after honey (and is priced accordingly!) followed by a walk overlooking the village
1:00pm Traditional Hajjarayni Lunch
3:00pm Depart for a short trek with photo opportunity of the old mudbrick and walled village of Shibam, yet another Yemeni site proclaimed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site
6:00pm Depart Shibam and return to hotel
8:00pm Dinner, with evening free afterwards

Saturday April 26th Say'un - Ma'rib
6:30am Checkout from hotel and depart for Ma'rib via all-terrain vehicles skirting the southernmost reaches of the famous Rub' al-Khali, (The Empty Quarter) the world's largest desert, and passing through some of the Arab world's oldest settlements that pre-date Islam by more than a millenia
11:30am Arrive at Ma'rib. Visit Temple 'Awam, 'Arsh Bilqis, Mahram Bilqis, and the Old City.
1:30pm Lunch
2:30pm Depart Ma'rib for Sana'a
6:30pm Arrive back at YCMES

Sunday April 27th Day in Sana'a
Entire day at leisure for shopping, visiting additional museums, etc.

Monday April 28th Wadi Dhahr & Dar al-Hajjr
9:00am Breakfast at YCMES
9:30am Depart from YCMES main center for Wadi Dhahr
10:00am Views over Wadi Dhahr, then proceed to Dar al-Hajjar
11:00am Guided historical and sociological visit to Dar al-Hajjar
12:00pm Return to Sana'a
Late Evening departure for Washington,DC

 

The Council is currently accepting applications to participate in this study visit. Full application procedures are described in detail on page 2 of the application form. Please follow these procedures closely.

CLICK HERE FOR A MALONE FELLOWSHIP APPLICATION
(.pdf file - click to open, or to download: right-click and select "Save Target As...")

American professionals in academia, government, business and educational non-profit organizations are invited to apply.

 

 
Old Sana'a is considered by many historians to be one of the oldest, continuously-inhabited cities in the world. It has many layers of history, but since around 628 has been a Muslim city situated 2,200 meters above the sea (almost 7,000 feet).

Old Sana'a is considered by many historians to be one of the oldest, continuously-inhabited cities in the world. Its layers of history date back more than 2,500 years, but for around the past 1,400 years it has been a Muslim city situated 2,200 meters above the sea (almost 7,000 feet).

 
The Yemeni capital, Sana'a dates back to the Sabaean Dynasty in the 6th Century BC.  The old city of Sana'a contains many fascinating examples of traditional archecture. The tower homes are constructed of volcanic rock, red brick and mud and detailed in with gypsum, the tallest at nine stories.

The Yemeni capital, Sana'a, dates back to the Sabaean Dynasty. The old city of Sana'a contains many fascinating examples of traditional archecture. The tower homes are constructed of volcanic rock, red brick and mud and detailed in with gypsum, the tallest at nine stories.

 

For additional reading about Yemen, please refer to print publications including Aramco World, Volume 50, Number 5 (September / October 1999) and the April 2000 issue of National Geographic Magazine.

To learn about several Model Arab League students' experiences studying Arabic at the Yemen College of Middle Eastern Studies last summer, CLICK HERE or visit the Publications section of the National Council's Web site.

 

All text, photographs, and graphics are copyrighted by the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations and the Yemen College of Middle Eastern Studies.

 

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National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations, 1730 M St., NW, Washington, DC 20036

Phone: (202) 293-6466 - Fax: (202) 293-7770

www.ncusar.org