(Muhammad Bin-Dohry)

Chairman, HE Deputy Head of Mission, Mr Abdulkader Al Subeihi, from the Yemen Embassy, Distinguished panel, guests, ladies and gentlemen. Assalaam Aleykum (Peace be on you).
It gives me great pleasure to be amongst you for the official launching of the HRC - Hadhramaut Research Centre’s first English academic publication: “Hadhramaut and its Diaspora – Yemeni Politics, Identity, and Migration”, published by IB Tauris and edited by Dr Noel Brehony, a friend and colleague, and well known to many in this audience.
Noel, also published a book called “Yemen Divided” and other publications on Yemen. His great efforts and time on this occasion on this book are commendable. Noel was assisted by our mutual friend and colleague, the late John Shipman who sadly passed away on 3rd October last year in London after a long illness.
John and Noel gave me their unstinting support for my efforts from the early days to go ahead with the 7 March 2015 “Rediscovering Hadhramaut” conference which we organised for the Hadhramaut Research Centre (HRC) in association with the LMEI. They offered me advice whenever I called upon them, John was ill at the time.
Despite all the odds being in a wheelchair, he managed to be at the conference.
Noel and I decided to produce this book as the result of the outcome of the conference and after consulting friends, I hesitantly asked John Shipman if he could help Noel with the editing of the book in the condition he was in. With his usual humbleness, he gave me an affirmative yes, and was very receptive. John shouldered quite a burden to help bring this book to fruition.
Noel Brehony kindly acknowledged in this book that “John Shipman did so much in the editing of the book and placed his unrivalled knowledge of Hadhramaut at the disposal of the contributors” John is very sadly missed today. Noel will dwell more on this in his briefing.
We also miss the other authors from overseas who are not able to be here today for the launch, but I am sure those authors in the panel will represent all and give us the gist of their contributions to this book. I personally thank all the authors for their great contributions.
I wish to go through the short history of the HRC which I will dwell on. It started as a proposal in 2009 by Professor Abdalla Bujra Al Nahdi a Hadhrami from Kenya who submitted it then to some of the relevant authorities in Yemen. It was not taken up seriously and he never had a response. Until late in 2011 Bujra and I got together and agreed to revive the idea and follow it up as I was a frequent visitor to Mukalla.

I passed on the idea to two independent local organisations who promised to study the proposal and let us know the outcome. Unfortunately this too did not produce any results, my final attempt was to put the idea to Al Ahgaaf University in Mukalla in 2013 who embraced the proposal with an understanding and an agreement that the HRC was to be totally an independent entity.

To be frank anything to do with progressing Hadhramaut and its status has been thought by some as a challenge to the state. This is totally unfounded and I personally found myself confronting bureaucracy in 2014 when I spent most of that year in setting up the Hadhramaut International Schools in Mukalla. The first school of its kind in Hadhramaut to offer the IGCSE system of education. It was officially inaugurated by government ministers and attended by many officials. The same obstacles faced us when setting up the Hadhramaut Research Centre.
All that we in the diaspora have been doing is for Hadhramaut, our ancestral homeland, and for the good of the country and the future generations. It is also the right of Hadhramaut to be looking towards the progress of its own people, like any other community or society.

The idea of the Research Centre:  
The basic idea for establishing this centre is to have an academic institution to study all important subjects of Hadhramaut and its Society so that Hadhramis are provided with detailed knowledge on the different aspects of their society, knowledge which will consequently encourage them to assist their homeland and improve their social welfare. This is also intended to help decision makers locally (private or government), regionally and internationally to place the Hadhrami culture in its appropriate position by exposing the peaceful and positive cultural qualities of Hadhramis. This is hoped to strengthen ties with the Hadhrami societies in the diaspora towards serving their ancestral homeland. The centre will specifically endeavour to work in three directions: training, research and community services.
On Training: The centre will offer postgraduate programs for the degrees of High Diploma, Masters and PhD in various fields that relate to Hadhramaut, Yemen and the Hadhrami Diaspora.
On Research: The centre will set up research projects about Hadhramaut and the Diaspora focusing primarily on society, economics, politics, history and anthropology.
Community Service: The centre will undertake two major tasks: the first is to establish an incubator for social initiatives so as to encourage establishing effective civil society organisations particularly in human rights and environmental issues. This will allow further participation of the civil community in various matters relating to Hadhramaut.
The second task is to support vocational training institutions in Hadhramaut and other areas.

Chairman, Ladies and gentlemen I am pleased to inform you that, since 2014 we have managed to establish a humble home within Al Ahgaaf University for the HRC, and have acquired an official registration from the Ministry of Education to offer technical and vocational training courses.
The centre in Mukalla has co-operated with other national institutions in Yemen, and produced the following two publications in Arabic.
1.    Tatawour al muassah al Askariyyah “ the improvement of the Military Establishment in Hadhramaut (1935-1945)
2.    Ingrams sultan Hadhramaut al gheir mutawa’j “Ingrams, The uncrowned Sultan of Hadhramaut”, in co-ordination with the Tarim Studies & Publications Centre.

The HRC has also entered into co-operation agreements with
Al - Rasheed Center for Enlightenment, Training and Studies in Aden. As well as Hadhramaut Historical Studies and Publications Centre.
 An agreement was also reached with the International Academy for Human Resource Development in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for the certification and authentication of course diplomas taught at the HRC.
We are currently discussing with other international universities to affiliate and set up an HRC branch either in Europe or South East Asia. This will offer research studies on the Hadhramaut and provide foreign and local researchers a venue to carry out their studies without disruption rather than having it in Mukalla. Especially in the current situation when the country is still in turmoil and has no easy access.
We call on Hadhramis in the diaspora, regional and international organisations to sponsor and fund this ambitious project and make it a reality.  I am grateful to the former Governor of Hadhramaut, Khalid Said Al Dayyini for promising to allocate a premises for the centre in Mukalla. I hope that those who have now taken over will keep that promise.
The aim is to have an institution of excellence to meet the aspirations of the coming generations, and to aid researchers and academics.

Thank you all for your patience and I will be happy to answer any questions during the Q & A session or later at the reception.

Post a Comment