Chairman's Report 1996

Fourth Annual General Meeting, November 1996.

The visit to Yemen by members of the Society late last year, organised by Jim Ellis, was a great success. We were honoured to meet HE. the President, the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister and other members of the Government. We also met leading members of the business and academic communities in Sana’a, Taiz and Aden and came away convinced of the continuing friendship between the two countries and a feeling that much needed to be done to encourage an increased level of both governmental and business activity from Britain.

Universal Travel and Tourism looked after us most efficiently on our tour around the country and we were royally entertained by Dr Abdulla Abdulwali Nasher and members of our sister Society in Yemen, the Yemeni British Friendship Association, who are very enthusiastic about working with us to improve ties between our countries.

A number of initiatives resulted from this visit. Your Society helped to recruit five teachers for the Mohammed Ali Othman school in Taiz. A lady teacher was recruited for a school in Sana’a. In May of this year a delegation of British members of parliament visited Yemen at the invitation of the Speaker of the Yemeni parliament. The visit was organised by the Council for the Advancement of Arab British Understanding. World Circuit Arts are now planning a major festival of Yemeni culture in Britain in September 1997. In June Dr Abdulqader al-Gunaid, who is head of the planning committee for a new Taiz University, visited London and your Society arranged meetings for him with both Imperial College, London and Buckingham University. Finally Dr Harry Robertson, who was with us during the visit and ensured that we all survived a frenetic three weeks in one piece, returned to Aden in October as Interim Director of the Anglican Church of the Middle East Medical Centre.

The Annual General Meeting in July was well attended and we are grateful to H.E. Dr Husain al-Amri for inviting us to hold it in the Embassy The committee and officers of the Society were re-elected for a further year.

Students in Yemen were invited to take part in an essay competition initiated by your Society. Entries closed in August. The winner is Ahmed Salah Ahmed Mansour, a student living in San’a, who chose as his title "How a Yemeni sees British people." The Society felt that the number of entrants to the competition did not justify awarding prizes to runners up this year.

At the A.G.M. members agreed that the competition should be repeated in 1997 and efforts made to publicise it more widely and to encourage more competitors of both sexes to have a go.

Finally I must thank Julian Lush, our Honorary Secretary and Bob Davies, our Honorary Treasurer, for all their hard work and H.E. Dr al-Amri and his colleagues at the Yemeni Embassy for their help.

William (Bill) D Heber Percy MBE

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