The Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security hosted Amat Alsoswa, Yemen’s first Minister for Human Rights and first female cabinet member, for a conversation on prospects for peace in Yemen. Ambassador Barbara Bodine offered opening remarks on the origins of Yemen’s conflict and her experience as U.S. Ambassador to Yemen from 1997 to 2001. Minister Alsoswa was then joined by Ambassador Melanne Verveer for a conversation about the war in Yemen, the role of international actors, and the peace talks in Geneva and Sweden. She highlighted the ways women have been involved in Yemeni politics, from their hand in the revolution in 2011 to the sacrifices they make to support their families in the midst of the current humanitarian crisis.
Ambassador Barbara Bodine is a Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy and concurrent Director of the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University. Prior to joining Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, she taught and directed policy task forces and policy workshops on US diplomacy in the Persian Gulf region, including Iraq and Yemen for seven years at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and served as Director of the School’s Scholars in the Nation’s Service Initiative, a fellowship program for students pursuing careers in federal service. Ms. Bodine’s over 30 years in the US Foreign Service were spent primarily on Arabian Peninsula and greater Persian Gulf issues, specifically US bilateral and regional policy, strategic security issues, counterterrorism, and governance and reform. Her tour as Ambassador to the Republic of Yemen, 1997-2001, saw enhanced support for democratization and increased security and counterterrorism cooperation.
Amat Alsoswa is a trailblazer and driving force for peace and women’s leadership in Yemen. She was Yemen’s first Minister of Human Rights and first female Ambassador to the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark. She also served as Assistant Secretary General, UNDP Assistant Administrator, and Regional Director of the Arab States Bureau. Ms. Alsoswa has been centrally involved in a number of Yemeni political national dialogues since the eighties. At the most recent Peace Consultations in Geneva, she was invited by the UN Special Envoy to Yemen to participate in the Yemeni Women’s Advisory Group that provided recommendations on ways to increase Yemeni women’s participation in negotiations and the peace-building process. She provided the UN Envoy’s office with remarks and revisions to the draft document “Yemen’s Political Framework of Peace Negotiations.” As a member of the State Building Committee in the Yemeni National Dialogue Conference 2013- 2014, she stressed the importance of ensuring human rights, women rights and the rule of law in the new constitution. She was charged as chairwoman of the Sub-commission on the conditions and criteria for the selection of Members of the Constitutional Drafting Commission. She also founded Yemen’s Women National Committee after Beijing Conference. Ms. Alsoswa began her career as a young radio announcer, and became one the first Yemeni female TV news anchors. Ms. Alsoswa is a recipient of a number of local, regional and international awards and prizes, and holds an MA in International Communications from the American University in Washington DC.