On Saturday, 6/26/2021, the Washington Center for Yemeni Studies held its Annual Meeting Workshop for Training & Development in Washington, DC. The workshop was supervised by a group of experts in the Washington arena to guide the team into guaranteeing the Center’s success. The WCYS team was honored to host and hear from President of the Board – Dr. Hatem Elhady, Al Jazeerah Channel Correspondent in Washington DC – Omar Hassan Sayed, Executive Director of Libyan American Alliance – Monji Dhaouadi, Associate Vice President in the Government Relations Office for Global Exchange operator NASDAQ – Jameel Alim-Johnson, Advocacy Director for DAWN – Raed Jarrar, and President of WCYS – Abdulsamad Elfgeeh.
In his opening speech, Dr. Hatem Elhady welcomed the participants and spoke about the pillars of non-profit organizations emphasizing the role of effective leadership. He noted the task entrusted to the young generation and outlined the positive role they play in Washington, the decision-making center. Dr. Elhady also discussed the characteristics of effective communication and its significance to ensure organizational success. He further remarked that several factors affect the political decision process, such as the role of the leader, personality, ambitions, economic and social structure, public opinion, political parties, interest groups, and the nature of the political system.
Omar Hassan, Al Jazeerah Correspondent, defined the characteristics of different target audiences and the mechanisms of utilizing them in guiding the Center’s communication skills with the media. Omar stressed the demand for the Yemeni voice absent in the media in light of the circumstances surrounding Yemen, and the necessity for media skills development of the Center to target channels and newspapers interested in Yemeni affairs. The most important of which is the presence through well-known and influential media channels.
During his session, Mongi Dhaouadi, Executive Director of LAA, spoke about the available channels to reach decision-makers in Washington and deliver the message regarding the Yemeni conflict. He concentrated on the methodology of building and creating a model for effective and influential political and diplomatic action at the level of national and international relations. He further explained that the WCYS plays the role of a “mediator” between civil society institutions that represent the people on the one hand, and the government and Congress on the other. Mongi reiterated that weak and absent communication will lead to impaired relations between civil society members and institutions, the government, and the media. The Center must take on the role as a pivotal link between research findings and suggested recommendations of civil society institutions with the policies pursued by the various U.S. administrations in general.
Associate Vice President in the Government Relations Office of NASDAQ, Jameel Alim-Johnson, spoke on the position of American public relations institutions in supporting the foreign lobby within the political environment in the US, and how the Center can benefit from these institutions and their experiences to establish bridges of dialogue within the American society. He advised finding channels of dialogue with thought leaders in American media and
politics to break the dialogue imbalance between the two sides. Jameel also called for the creation of links between American civil society institutions and the Center.
Raed Jarrar, Advocacy Director for DAWN, focused on three main topics: Relationships, Diplomacy, and Dialogue Forums, being the axes that represent the Center’s core role. In this regard, Raed highlighted the obstacles facing the diplomatic and political movement in Washington and the mechanisms that can help develop and activate the Center’s performance to establish and strengthen its presence in the United States. He accentuated the expanding of the circles of dialogue with various international and regional forces by creating forums for conversation on more than one level and with more than one group. He also recommended developing the Center’s relations with the active and influential forces in its movement in DC and establishing bridges of dialogue within the American society, with its various components and segments.
At the end of the meeting, the President of WCYS, Abdulsamad Elfgeeh, concluded with the importance of the Center’s presence in Washington, DC. He emphasized that the Center looks forward to intensifying research and studies efforts and making them accessible to researchers, journalists, policy-makers, activists, and those interested in Yemen. WCYS is looking to provide support as an indispensable resource to policy and decision-makers, through guidance and recommendations based on the foundations of studies and research, presenting the truth of the Yemeni people, clarifying policies, and shedding light on the main issues and obstacles that stand in front of them.
It is noteworthy that this workshop is one of the courses implemented by the Center this year in a series of specialized programs to train the team, activists, and those interested in Yemeni affairs.
A series of meetings of the WCYS Board of Directors and the team followed the workshop the next day, during which they discussed the Center’s strategy and plan of action for the year 2021.