Wednesday, March 28th, 2018
“Yemen: The War the World Ignores At Its Peril”
Ambassador Stephen Seche
Former Ambassador to Yemen
Executive Vice President of the Arab Gulf States Institute
What started as a Yemeni power struggle between competing domestic competitors, has morphed into a situation where Yeminis are the unfortunate pawns in a regional power-struggle between Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Even before war broke out between the Saudi backed government forces and Iranian backed Houthi rebels, Yemen was the poorest country in the Middle East. Now the United Nations calls this the world’s worst current humanitarian crisis, with three quarters of its population in need of humanitarian aid. With headlines being grabbed by Syria, Venezuela, and the threat of terrorist attacks, it is incredible to think that a country devastated by war, on the brink of famine, and experiencing the worst cholera outbreak in modern history would not get more attention. Instead, in the shadows of these other global crises, Yemenis continue to be a victim of a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
What are the causes? What are the solutions, if any? Why should the world be concerned not just of the humanitarian tragedy, but of another failed state, a new Afghanistan or Somalia, that could foster the deadly combination of a proliferation of both weapons and global terrorism.
Ambassador Seche is uniquely positioned as a former US Ambassador to Yemen and still deeply engaged as the Executive Vice President of the Arab Gulf State Institute, to shine a spotlight on this true tragedy with no end in sight.
AMBASSADOR STEPHEN SECHE’S BIO
Stephen A. Seche is the executive vice president of the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington.
He spent 35 years as a career U.S. Foreign Service officer. From 2011-13, Seche served as deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs at the Department of State, with responsibility for U.S. relations with the GCC states and Yemen. He served as the U.S. ambassador to Yemen from 2007-10.
During the 2006-07 academic year, Seche was a visiting fellow at the University of Southern California, where he taught public diplomacy in the master’s degree program. On his return from Yemen, he spent a year at the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University, leading a graduate seminar in the School of Foreign Service.
From February 2005 to August 2006, Seche served as charge d’affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Damascus, Syria; he was deputy of chief of mission for the six months prior. This was his second tour in Damascus. From 1999 to 2002, Seche was the counselor for public affairs and the director of the American Cultural Center. He spent the two years between his Damascus assignments as director of the Office for Egypt and Levant Affairs at the Department of State in Washington, DC.
Seche spent the first seven years of his Foreign Service career in public diplomacy positions in Guatemala, Peru, and Bolivia. Other overseas assignments have included Ottawa, Canada and New Delhi, India. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and spent four years as a journalist before entering the Foreign Service.
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6:45 PM DINNER
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