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Abdulkarim Al-Eryani Yemeni Scholarship Fund


At this critical time in Yemen’s history there is a need to support Yemeni scholars in all fields as they help frame the country’s future, document its present and explore its rich cultural heritage of the past.  AIYS is pleased to announce a new scholarship only for Yemeni scholars, who have little access to research funding. Named in honor of the distinguished Yemeni diplomat, Dr. Abdulkarim Al-Eryani, this fund solicits donations from individuals, foundations and corporations.  Applications by Yemeni scholars for research in Yemen will be reviewed by a select committee of scholars within the membership of AIYS.  Supporters contributing $100 or more will be listed on the AIYS website.  Every year AIYS receives about eighty applications from Yemeni scholars for funds to carry out their research in Yemen.  Projects range from explorations of environmental health hazards in Yemen and low technology energy generation projects to work on Yemen cultural heritage and the particular issues facing Yemeni women.   Even small contributions can make a big difference.  The maximum grant for a Yemeni scholar is $5000 and most grants range from $1000 to $1500.

Join these people who have already donated:

Barbara Bodine $1,000

Robert Burrowes $5,000

Juan Cole $100

Gerald Feierstein $250

McGuire Gibson $1,000

Edmund Hull $500

Fred Lawson $100

Flagg Miller $10/month (sustaining member since 2023)

Nathalie Peutz $100

Lucine Taminian $100

Nancy Um $100

Dan Varisco and Najwa Adra  $2,500

Brief Biography of Dr. Abdulkarim Al-Eryani (1934-2015)

From a renowned Yemeni qadi family and the nephew of the Yemen Arab Republic’s only civilian head of state, Dr. Abdulkarim Al-Eryani has devoted nearly half a century to the development of Yemen and its politics.  Switching late in his youth from traditional qadi training, he received his modern secondary education in Aden and Cairo in the 1950s.  As one of the first four Yemenis chosen for training in the U.S.’s Point IV aid program, he began his 10-year educational odyssey in the U.S. in 1958, one that took him to universities in Texas, Oklahoma, Georgia and Connecticut.

Dr. Abdulkarim returned to the Yemen Arab Republic (YAR) in 1967 with a Ph.D. in biology from Yale University.  In rapid succession, he was founding director of the Wadi Zabid project from 1968 to1972, founding chairman of the Central Planning Organization, Minister of Development from 1973 to 1976, Minister of Education and president of Sanaa University from 1976 to 1978.  He is arguably the best educated, ablest, and most influential of the YAR's first-generation modernists.  To many foreigners and Yemenis alike, he has been Yemen's "Mr. Development," the initiator of development planning in the YAR and a chief designer of the exploitation of its oil resources.


Dr. Abdulkarim at an opening ceremony for the Ministry of Electricity and Water

Dr. Abdulkarim was a major benefactor in the creation of AIYS in 1978.  He has long supported the research efforts sponsored by AIYS and has given invaluable support to its presence in Yemen during the most difficult times.


Dr. Abdulkarim with Dr. Abdul Aziz al-Maqalih and Robert Burrowes

Despite dissembling claims in the 1970s to being a nonpolitical technocrat, Dr. Abdulkarim proved to be a keen student of politics and unafraid of hard, fierce political combat.  He was prime minister twice, from 1980 to1983 and 1998 to 2001, and deputy prime minister and foreign minister nearly continuously from the mid-1980s through the mid-1990s.


Dr. Abdulkarim at one of many ribbon-cutting ceremonies

Dr Abdulkarim was chief architect of the multi-staged process in the early 1980s that led to the National Pact and then the creation of the GPC, the package of ideas and the political organization needed so badly by the still-fragile Salih regime.   In addition, he was an architect of the YAR's hard line and then improved relations with the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen in the 1980s; thereafter, he was an architect—perhaps the chief architect—of the unification of the two Yemens in 1990.   In 1994, he played  a leading political roles in preventing the undoing of the new Republic of Yemen during the War of Secession and in the protracted negotiations leading in 2000 to a “final and permanent” border agreement with Saudi Arabia, the Jidda Agreement.


Dr. Abdulkarim in 1992

In 2011, the coming of the Arab Spring dramatically increased the already growing pressure for political reform and/or regime change in Yemen.   At this time, Dr. Abdulkarim played a major role in the design and execution of the process that led to President Salih’s resignation and the transition process built around the National Dialogue Initiative.

prepared by Dr. Robert Burrowes, author of Historical Dictionary of Yemen
(Scarecrow Press; 2nd Edition edition, 2009)

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