The Republic of Yemen [Archives:2003/632/Culture]

April 21 2003

A new book titled The Republic of Yemen Development Challenges in the 21st Century has been recently published. The new release has been written by Marta Colburn.
The authoress has lived in Yemen periodically since 1984. From 1984 to 1989 she worked for a number of international development agencies, for the last two and a half years as Deputy Country Representative for Oxfam UK.
She has written on a range of topics related to Yemen including gender, democratization and pre-collegiate curriculum.
Yemen is probably better known for tribal kidnapping than for its rich culture heritage or for its steady progress towards democratization in the face of massive developmental challenges.
In the 20th century Yemen was the first Arab state to gain independence. It has the only permanent elected parliament in the Arab world. Its press is among the freest in the region. And Yemeni women were the first- and remain the only-women in the Arabian Peninsula to have the right to vote. In fact Yemen has a proud tradition of women in leadership-the 'Queen of Sheba' being its most famous historical figure.
Yet its political progress is in stark contrast to the marginal existence still facing millions of Yemenis. Isolated by the international community for refusing to take sides against Iraq during the Gulf war, Yemen continues to suffer the impact. As up to 1 million Yemenis were expelled from neighboring states the country plunged into economic crisis, compounding existing developmental problems. Today more than 70 percent of Yemenis are still without adequate health services and fewer than half of rural households have access to potable drinking water. Fewer than half of girls completes their education.
This book traces Yemen's development from ancient times to the present and analyzes the social, economic and environmental challenges facing the country today.