Youth participation at the National Dialogue Conference

National Yemen

Aref Abdullah Al-Selmi

By: Aref Abdullah al-Selmi


The Yemeni youth clearly have many demands for the National Dialogue Conference, and have them in a great variety of fields – political, social, economic etc. These demands united all Yemeni youths all throughout the country, whether they were inside or outside the Change Squares.

As the youth represents the largest share of the population, their government must include their effective participation in the national dialogue. I can imagine that the youth’s urgent and most significant demands would be equality of opportunity in public employment, education and higher education, and direct political participation in decision-making.

The Yemeni youth also need the government to put an end to a continuous marginalization of their talents and skills. How can we accept that many of our Yemeni youths exhibit their talents and creativity abroad, while in their own nation, they cannot receive the simplest appreciation from the government for their talents? We must regenerate the Ministry of Youth and Sport’s role, so that it may better adapt itself to the youth’s skills, abilities and talents.

Many Yemeni youths sacrificed their lives – not for the sake of changing the president or for the sake of creating a coalition government that is 50 percent composed of opposition parties, but they did so in order to change the entire regime and the way the Yemeni public sector is managed; so  a new government could work efficiently to serve, and not exploit, the people.

With my respect to the youths at Change Squares and with my respect for their sacrifices, I don’t think they represent all Yemeni youths. Many of the formers’ organizations and forums instead represent party interests. This is a very important point of view which must be taken into consideration by the Communication Committee, so that communication with all youth representatives – of organizations, initiatives, unions, etc. – is fostered throughout the country.

It’s very important that government decision-makers listen to the youths carefully and seriously try to solve their problems. The youth are the most concerned about the future of their country, so they should have the right to plan for a future and develop a strong structure for their homeland.

The Communication Committee must know that if all the other important parties – including the Southern Movement, the Houthis and all other political parties – participated at the National Dialogue Conference without participation by the youth, it could be said that the Communication Committee failed to take its role seriously. Dialogue, meanwhile, would occur in vain.