Chairman's Report 1999

Seventh Annual General Meeting, 21 July 1999.

The Chairman, Mr Stephen Day, noted that the past year’s programme had included some well-attended lectures, an excellent tour of Yemen in November, and a successful Christmas Appeal for the Al-Noor Centre for the Blind and Disabled in Mukalla, which had raised £2,735.

Discussing the security situation in Yemen since the unfortunate events in December 1998 and early January he described his own efforts and those of others, not least Brian Whitaker, to inject some balance and perspective into the media debate. Yemen was a robust country; it had survived difficulties in the past; British-Yemeni relations would, in time, return to normal. The opening of the new Container Terminal in Aden was a great achievement and there was considerable goodwill towards Yemen within the international community. However, until the trials of those on terrorist charges were over, the security situation would continue to arouse concern. FCO advice to British subjects remained, ‘don’t go’, and the Society would have to follow this advice, although a tour to ‘safe areas’ in smaller parties, for a shorter time and travelling mainly by air, might be acceptable.

The Chairman proposed that Dr Abdulla Abdul Wali Nasher, Minister of Health, and Mr Jim Ellis should be invited to become Vice-Presidents of the Society. He referred to Dr Nasher’s tireless efforts to improve medical facilities in Yemen, and to Jim Ellis’s services to the Society since its inception, in particular his role in organising and leading three successive annual tours to Yemen, before ill health obliged him to resign from the Committee.

The Chairman thanked Michael Whittall and Julian Lush for their work respectively as Vice-Chairman and Hon. Secretary, and wished Sa’id Hadi Awadh every success in his new assignment. Julian Lush, having handed over to Julian Paxton, wished to remain on the Committee. Meanwhile, Jeffrey Orchard, a founder member, and Peter Hinclicliffe had resigned from the Committee. Douglas Gordon was proposed as the new Vice-Chairman, and John Mason for election to the Committee. These proposals having been approved, the Chairman warmly thanked H.E. Dr Hussain al-Amri, Co-President, and his staff at the Embassy for once again hosting the AGM and arranging a reception afterwards.

Stephen Day CMG

Note: Mr Stephen Day submitted his resignation to the Committee in September, citing the pressure of his other commitments, and has been replaced as Chairman by Mr Douglas Gordon. Julian Lush has agreed to act as Vice-Chairman.

Report year: