International Scouts explore Yemen [Archives:2008/1182/Local News]

August 18 2008

Saddam Al-Ashmori
For The Yemen Times

SANA'A, Aug. 17 ) For the first time in Yemen, activities of the 17th Forum for Arab Scouts and the 11th International Civilization Forum to exchange cultures and recognize civilizations were launched Saturday.

Some 350 participants represented 17 Arab countries in the Arab Scouts, while another 56 participants were in the International Civilization Forum, representing 48 countries, 16 of whom were from Arab countries while 32 were foreign countries. Activities will run for 10 days.

Tariq Al-Haimi, international commissioner for the Scouting Association and head of the 11th International Civilization Forum, noted that many activities will be held during the forum, including visits to historical sights in Sana'a, Ibb, Marib, Taiz and Aden governorates.

Participants also will attend Yemeni wedding ceremonies in order to learn about Yemeni traditions at such social events, as well as visit the Horsemanship and Camel Racing Club in Sana'a to learn about Yemeni folk sports and games.

Additionally, five dialogue sessions will be held, gathering participants to discuss various cultural issues, as well as listen to university professors lecture on Yemeni history and civilization.

Aatif Abdulmajid, general secretary of the Arab Scouting Organization, noted that the two forums Yemen is hosting represent a turning point for Yemeni Scouting, adding that both Arab and foreign participants will have the opportunity to witness and experience Yemen's culture and ancient civilization.

“Regarding the cultural dialogues, religious scholars such as Sheikh Abdulmajid Al-Zindani and Amer Khalid will be involved in order to enable the participants to conduct constructive dialogue with those scholars who have vast experience in youth issues,” Abdulmajid said.

He continued, “Through such dialogue, we seek to show the real image of Arab youths and their outstanding characteristics, such as determination, generosity and magnanimity. We want the whole world to know the real image of Arab nations and to correct the misconceptions that Westerners have about them.”

In cooperation with the Arab Scouting Association and Yemen's Female Scouts and Guides Association, the Ministry of Youth and Sports has established camps at Revelation Sports City in Sana'a. The camps are named for ancient Yemeni civilizations such as Saba, Ma'een and Marib.

Supervised by several Yemeni Scout leaders, the International Civilization Forum trained 100 scout leaders from various Yemeni governorates to run the activities and supervise the camps.

Samir Ali Abdullah, supervisor of the Marib scouting camp at Sports City, believes Yemeni Scouts will benefit from dialogue and activities with Arab and foreign participants, noting that he expects that Yemeni Scouts will gain much experience and learn a lot about other cultures.

Both Arab and foreign participants expressed their impressions about the forums and the experiences they received from visiting Yemen. “It was a source of both pleasure and knowledge to witness and experience Yemeni civilization and history, which is valuable to all Arabs,” said Fadi Al-Shami from Jordan, noting that this is his first visit to Yemen. Saif Al-Islam from Bangladesh commented that during his three days in Yemen, he's learned that it is “a country full of beauty and historical sights, as well as friendly people. When I go back home, I'll recount my visit to Yemen to my friends.”

While launching the two forums on Saturday, Yemeni Prime Minister Ali Mujawar predicted that the scouting participants would come to know a lot about Yemen and its traditions, as well as its historical sites that point to the great Yemeni pioneers of the past.