The highlight of the third – and for the time being last – period of the project “Academic Approaches to Peace-building and State-building in Yemen” was our summer school of ‘Recovery and Reconstruction beyond the Emergency’. From 24-29 July, we invited Yemeni and German doctoral and graduate students, practitioners, and researchers to a six-day summer school in Amman, Jordan. Against the backdrop of the ongoing war, the presentations and discussions of the 2018 summer school addressed the challenges involved in linking short-term relief and humanitarian assistance with long-term reconstruction and peacebuilding efforts already during armed conflict in Yemen.
The summer school started with freeze frames and story-telling exercises to get to know each other – especially to learn about our own positionality as academics as well as that of our colleagues. To introduce the summer school’s sessions on qualitative (interview) research methods, the researcher’s own positionality in the preparation of an interview was emphasized alongside aspects of anonymity, data protection, and the security of interviewees. Following a brief exercise in a “Not like that”-theatre play, interview techniques were practiced during our meetings with invited experts. On the one hand, we had academics and experts from Yemen and Germany who spoke about the current work of CSOs and the situation in the fields of water management, micro finance, traditional performative genres for negotiating social affairs in tribal communities and the role of women in informal peacebuilding-processes. On the other hand, we had experts from the World Bank, the UN Development Programme and UN Women who presented important facets of their work in and for Yemen. For the Q&A-session after the presentations, participants formed four groups corresponding to the four main sectors of peacebuilding: political framework, security, justice & reconciliation, and socio-economic well-being. Each of these groups will present their findings in a short essay that will also be published on this website.
The academic programme was complemented by a trip to the Amman Citadel and Roman theatre and completed by a delicious dinner in a Yemeni restaurant afterwards. Although there was no German restaurant, we did uncover a bakery selling German pastries and hope that we might invite our Yemeni friends to a dinner in Germany someday in a more peaceful future.