WASHINGTON, D.C., United States —
Dr. Debbie Almontaser focused in her remarks on the duty of Yemeni Americans and the role they must play to navigate the troubled waters of Yemen’s current situation.
The one thing that connects all of us is Yemen. Dr. Debbie tried to go to Yemen twice during her adult life, but war broke out both times, preventing her from her beloved homeland.
She reminisced growing up in Buffalo, New York, and looking forward to her family members coming from Yemen and bringing with them gifts from her
grandmother from my aunts back home.
She lamented the war setting Yemen decades back, economically, socially, and psychologically creating more dependence on remittances sent by the already-burdened Yemeni American expatriates.
To answer the question, “Where can we, as Yemeni Americans, go from here?”
Dr. Debbie broke down the answer into three parts:
- Unity: Yemeni Americans must let go of ego and the crab-in-the-barrel mentality. They must come together to develop a mainstream agenda.
- Education: Yemeni Americans must educate their fellow Americans about Yemen and what is happening there in every
- Political power: Yemenis Americans must become more civically and politically engaged. They must register to vote, donate to candidates, vote in every election. Then, most importantly put forth their demands and hold their elected officials accountable.
Dr. Debbie emphasized that Yemeni Americans must uplift and amplify the stories of the people in Yemen by encouraging people to get into journalism, film, and other fields that allow the empowerment of the next generation.
She concluded her remarks by stating that Yemen Americans must counter interest groups that push one-sided agendas that represent band-aid rather than the needed holistic peace resolution. Yemenis must unite, create a Yemeni American political agenda, build political power, and continue to educate “fellow Americans on Yemen and its people, and how important it is to humanize them, as we have humanized Ukraine and other parts of the world that are also suffering.”
The Washington Center for Yemeni Studies launched the WCYS 1st Annual Conference 2022 – Yemen Under the Scope in Washington, D.C., on September 29th. Since then, Yemeni-led in-depth conversations have brought together various political, economic, and civil society actors by offering an inclusive platform for diverse voices in Yemeni affairs to share insights and advance solutions for overarching issues and struggles in ending the crisis.
– CEO of Bridging Cultures Group, Dr. Debbie Almontaser, Keynote Address at the 1st WCYS Annual Conference 2022 – Yemen Under the Scope.