AIYS Seminar, October 30, 2014

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Dr. Amat al-Malik al-Thawr; Dr. Salwa Dammaj; Houda Abalan (Vice Minister of Culture); Sammah Damaj

AIYS organized a seminar on October 30, 2014 on the institute premises. Three working papers were presented. The first one was titled “Manuscripts House in Old City of Sanaa”, the second one’s theme was “Woman Empowerment: Conception and Reality” and the third paper was titled “Woman’s Positions in Yemen’s Ancient Temples”. The seminar brought together a number of academics and researchers from the University of Sanaa and the Yemen Center for Studies and Research, activists and journalists. The Deputy Minister of Culture, Houda Abalan, was in attendance.

The Resident Director of AIYS Dr. Salwa Dammaj started the seminar with short remarks in which she briefed the attendees on the mission and activities of AIYS. Then she introduced the three lecturers who presented the working papers.

First working paper “Manuscripts House in Old City of Sana’a” was presented by Dr. Amat Al-Malik Al-Thawr, the director of the House. She gave an overview on the facility which was established in 1968 with the purpose of collecting and preserving Yemeni manuscripts. She explained the facility’s significant contribution to the preservation of thousands of Yemeni manuscripts dating back to hundreds of years.  “The House has helped to collect, preserve and restore thousands of the ancient manuscripts in different domains”, Dr Al-Thawr stated.

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Dr. Amat al-Malik al-Thawr and Dr. Salwa Dammaj

For her part, the researcher Dr. Nabilah Adel, lectured on woman empowerment: The Conception and Reality. She talked about the idea of woman empowerment, what has been said on this issue and done in reality. The researcher severely criticized Yemeni political parties for their passivity toward woman.  She said “all Yemeni political parties are largely blamed for marginalizing woman.  Woman participation in politics which has never seen progress but in the electoral registries, where the number of female voters remarkably increased, while female candidates reduced.” Dr. Adel highlighted the quota system as a pre-requisite to empower woman politically. If there is no quota system, which suggested and approved by the National Dialogue Conference, we are—Yemeni women—in trouble, she argued.  A number of the participants agreed with Dr. Adel that quota is imperative, otherwise empowering Yemeni woman politically is a far-fetched aim now more than ever.  Many of the participants suggested that political parties need to adopt this measure.

The third working paper themed “Woman’s Positions in Yemen’ Ancient Temples” was presented by Libya Abdullah. It was a detailed article that dealt with Yemeni woman’s roles and jobs in Yemen’s ancient temples dating back thousands of years throughout Yemen’s history. Libya’s paper included significant information and facts about woman’s role in the spiritual life of the Yemeni community in ancient ages. The lecturer cited several facts about woman’s positions in the Yemeni temples. There are a lot of ancient Yemeni scriptures which included solid evidences indicating that Yemeni woman had been largely involved in the religious activities of Yemen’s ancient civilizations. “Woman had held the different spiritual jobs and high ranks positions in Yemen’s ancient temples”, Libya stated. A number of the participants asked for clarifications and made comments on Libya Abdullah paper, and highly applauded her efforts to shed light on the Yemeni woman’s spiritual role in Yemen’s old civilizations.

Contributed by Dr. Salwa Dammaj