Directory of Expertise

The British-Yemeni Society receives frequent requests to supply media and other organisations with appropriate commentators on Yemeni topics. Here you can find a list of its members who are available to be contacted, and their relevant fields of expertise. The BYS cannot be held responsible for the professional work and opinions of its individual members listed below.

  • Helen Lackner

    Agriculture, Rural Development, Water, Water Management, PDRY, Contemporary Yemeni Politics, Yemeni History (20th century), Economic Development

    Helen Lackner has been involved with Yemen since 1973. She lived and worked in rural development in the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen from 1977 to 1982 and in the Yemen Arab Republic during the 1980s. Since unification she has worked throughout the country, including being based for two years in the Hadramaut. Her first book was A House Built on Sand: A Political Economy of Saudi Arabia (Ithaca Press, 1978). She is the author of PDRY: Outpost of Socialist Development in Arabia (Ithaca Press, 1985), she co-edited Yemen into the Twenty-First Century: Continuity and Change (Ithaca Press, 2007), and edited the BYS book Why Yemen Matters: A Society in Transition (Saqi, 2014). Among others, she has recently contributed chapters on Yemen to books about civil resistance during the 2011 uprisings and the impact of climate change on security. She has written "The Yemeni Transition from Saleh's Autocratic Rule: Could it have Succeded? (IDEA, 2015) and is currently working on a book designed to improve understanding of the current crisis.

    She is particularly interested in water management and the relationship between political change and social and economic development. After about 30 years as a consultant in social aspects of development, with a particular focus on rural development working in over 30 countries in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, Helen Lackner is refocusing her work towards a deeper involvement as an analyst and author, though she maintains some direct involvement in development issues.  Her current priority is to pass on the knowledge gained from her long experience to a new generation. She is based in Oxford.

  • Thanos Petouris

    Contemporary Yemeni Politics, Yemeni History, Southern Movement, South Yemen, Youth Movement, Decolonisation

    Thanos Petouris has been researching the nationalist, anti-colonial movement in South Arabia and the subsequent decolonisation process from British rule in the years 1937-67. His focus is to explain the emergence of national identities during periods of decolonisation, by using South Yemen as the case study. What makes this paradigm particularly relevant, is the ways in which South Yemeni identity is being employed in current Yemeni affairs as a way of politicising the grievances of the Southern Movement.

    Thanos has been providing advice to the FCO and DfID on Yemen since 2010, and used to be a regular contributor to the Yemen Forum at Chatham House. He comments on Yemen reguralry in the media (BBC TV & Radio, Al Jazeera, Monocle etc). He has given lectures at the Universities of London (SOAS & Birkbeck), Harvard, Athens, and Exeter, and was the convenor of the “Yemen: Challenges for the Future” conference at SOAS in 2013. 

    Thanos has been visiting Yemen regularly since 2005, conditions on the ground permitting. He has lived in Yemen for almost three years, and apart from doing academic research, he has worked as an English teacher, and NGO volunteer in Aden. This allowed him to travel to almost every part of the country. He was a committee member of the British-Yemeni Society (2010-15).