AIYS is pleased to announce that Tarek al-Wazir and Waleed Mahdi have been elected as Directors-at-Large to the AIYS Board of Directors. We welcome their insights for our work in promoting scholarship on Yemen, especially by our colleagues in Yemen.
Below are the statements that both made while standing for election:
Since 1999 I have been affiliated with the Yemen Heritage & Research Center (YHRC) in Tysons Corner, Virginia and currently serve as its local director and liaison to the main center in Sana’a, Yemen. My interest in Yemen naturally springs from it being my motherland and Sana’a my birth place. I have helped organize seminars for YHRC about Yemen in Washington, DC, two panels at previous MESA conferences, co-sponsored another at the University of Exeter, assisted scholars in their research locally
and their field visits to Yemen, attended and participated in numerous round-tables, workshops, panels, seminars about Yemen in the U.S. and Europe, co-sponsored art and folkloric exhibits at local schools, established cordial relationships between YHRC and AIYS and the French Center in Sana’a. I have also responded to think tank queries and arranged Yemeni history and information sessions. I hope that there will be a real opening for some peace in Yemen before the end of this year, so that crucial field work cannbe resumed. This should be a focus of AIYS. I urge AIYS to channel scholarship on Yemen to promote its unique varied identities and cultures and within Yemen to seek out intellectuals from different
backgrounds to cover the rich tapestry of the land.
My name is Waleed F. Mahdi. I am assistant professor in the University of Oklahoma, with join affiliation in the Department of International and Area Studies and the Department of Modern Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics. My research, which lies at the intersection of area studies and ethnic studies, explores issues of identity and agency in US-Arab cultural politics and Arab American studies. I am currently focusing on Yemen as part of my contribution to a three-year, multi-institutional research collaboration that examines the 2011 Arab revolutionary public spheres. In addition to publishing, my contribution will result in an online archive that exhibits the role of Yemeni cultural producers in reflecting and affecting the process of transformation at the time. Recently, I have initiated a new line of inquiry for a book project that examines Yemeni and Yemeni American critiques of the US deployment of technology in the Yemeni conflict (e.g., drones, radar systems, weapons, and mid-air fueling) or in policing Yemeni American communities (e.g., DNA tests, Muslim ban algorithms, and surveillance tools).
I am interested in serving as an AIYS Director-at-Large and helping with the institute’s growth through several proposals. First, there is a great potential for the AIYS to be more visible in academia beyond the MESA conference, especially in increasing networking among colleagues across the US and Europe to co-sponsor events, workshops, or symposia of relevance to Yemeni studies. Second, there is a possibility for the AIYS to develop collaborations with other academic organizations (e.g., the American Studies Association, Arab American Studies Association, and Association for Middle East Women’s Studies, etc.) by sponsoring thematic panels of interest to AIYS’s community. Third, I hope the AIYS will explore ways to ensure timely collection of membership dues and increase funding to support research through identifying relevant grants and reaching out to potential donors. As a Yemeni American academic with experience in Yemeni higher education system, I am interested in continuing AIYS’s mission as a consortium for learning in the capacity of my elected position.