The facilitation team was ably assisted by the outstanding translation and interpreting team at IFES, Rabab Al-Medhwali, Fatima Al-Wadi and Nabila Al-Mutawakel. The program was also enhanced by the contributions of guest speakers, namely, Dr Andrew Reynolds (Associate Professor of Political Science at UNC Chapel Hill), Dr Paul Harris (Country Program Co-ordinator, IFES Yemen) and Dr Mohamed Al-Sayani (Member of the SCER and Chairman of the Sector of Planning and Logistics).
The workshop was by any measure a great success. The participant evaluations were universally glowing; the facilitation team provided an extremely high level of tuition and service to participants and the level and quality of the contributions by the participants were of the highest quality. But let me make the following observations:
Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, workshop one has proved beyond doubt that the methodology and content of such a course can be utilised with great success in the Arab world. Given the interest shown in this course by electoral administrators in Iraq, Palestine and Kuwait in the lead up to workshop one, I believe there will a great deal of demand for similar programs in the region.
Secondly, the way in which the participants engaged with the material and the high standard of their discussion and written work indicates that such programs have the potential to impact positively on their work as electoral administrators.
Thirdly, I believe that the participants of workshop one represent a committed, competent and cohesive group of electoral administrators who care about their work and who, with the right encouragement, could play a central role in developing and implementing electoral reforms in Yemen. The obvious commitment to these workshops by members of the SCER, in particular the Chair, Mr Khalid Al-Sharef and Dr Mohammed Al-Sayani is also a very positive sign.