Nadia Al-Sakkaf

Nadia Al-Sakkaf

Nadia A. Al-Sakkaf is a Yemeni researcher with expertise in media and digital safety, gender, sustainable development and socio-economic policies, democratic transitions, and climate change. Post availing a PhD in Political Sciences from Reading University in the UK, Al-Sakkaf now works as an independent researcher or through the 21 Century Forum, a UK-based non-profit organisation, which she co-founded. She is also co-founder of the Connecting Yemen initiative to advocate for accessible and affordable internet in Yemen, and is publisher of Radio Lana, the first community radio station in Aden-Yemen.

In 2015, Al-Sakkaf established and chaired the High Relief Committee, the Yemeni government’s main body supervising and coordinating humanitarian aid to Yemen. She was the first Yemeni woman Minister of Information in the Government of Competencies in 2014. Before that, she participated in a number of high-level political committees in the Yemeni transition period under the Gulf Initiative. 

She worked previously as director of research of the economic think tank, Arabia Brain Trust. Al-Sakkaf has published extensively in the fields of politics, media, and development. She has published policy papers, research papers, and book chapters, and has written two books on Yemeni women’s empowerment. She also published a book collection on the experiences of Yemeni women as electoral candidates, available in Arabic and English.

Al-Sakkaf was the Chief Editor of the Yemen Times Media Establishment for around 10 years since 2005. In 2009, she co-founded Yemen 21 Century Forum, a developmental non-governmental organization specialized in women and youth empowerment, as well as media freedoms and professionalism. During her career, Al-Sakkaf won many international and local awards, including the Business for Peace Award from the Business for Peace Foundation in Oslo, Norway and the Free Media Pioneers Award from the International Press Institute in Vienna, Austria. She was also the first recipient of the Gebran Tueni Award for courageous and independent editors and publishers, presented by the WAN-IFRA and Annahar Foundation. Al-Sakkaf was recognized by the BBC as one of 100 women who changed the world. In addition, she was chosen by the World Economic Forum as one of 2015's Distinguished Young Global Leaders. Her TED talk, Yemen Through my Eyes, is one of the best known videos on Yemen. It has over half a million views and was translated into 34 languages.

Selected publications

Al-Sakkaf, N., (2022). ‘Let the Sun Shine on Yemen’s Agricultural Land: Policy recommendations for boosting food production in Yemen’s agriculture sector using responsible solar energy sourcing,’ Arabia Brain Trust.

Al-Sakkaf, Nadia & Luqman, Muna (2022). ‘Gender, Climate and Security in Yemen - The Linkages and Ways Forward’ Gender, Climate and Security in Yemen,’ Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF).

Al-Sakkaf, Nadia (2022): ‘Yemeni women's involvement, representation, and influence in political parties and components’, a paper commissions by the Office of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen (OSESGY).

Al-Sakkaf, Nadia (2021): ‘Explaining the lack of progress in Yemeni women’s empowerment: Are women leaders the problem?’, in: Journal of International Women Studies 22/1, S. 104–20.

Al-Sakkaf, Nadia (2020): ‘The Politics of Women’s Empowerment in Yemen.’, in: Advances in Social Science and Culture, Vol 2, No 4.

Al-Sakkaf, N. (2018). Negotiating Women’s Empowerment in the NDC. In Heinze, M. C. (Ed.). Yemen and the Search for Stability: Power, Politics and Society After the Arab Spring. Bloomsbury Publishing. 134.

Al-Sakkaf, N. (2016). Yemen’s Relapse into Tribalism. Beyond Islamists and Autocrats. The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. 1-11.

Al-Sakkaf, N. (2014). Yemen. in Melidoro, D., Corrao, F. M., Maffettone, S., Sibilio, S., & Hamed, S. A. (Eds). Voci dal mondo arabo: Cronache e testimonianze delle transizioni in Egitto, Siria, Tunisia e Yemen [Voices from the Arab world: Reports and testimonies of transitions in Egypt, Syria, Tunisia and Yemen]. Editrice Apes.

Al-Sakkaf, N. (2013). The rise of public opinion. Yemen on the verge of Change. Vol. IX, no. 32. ITPCM International Commentary & the Institute of Law, Politics and Development - Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna. Pisa – Italy.

Al-Sakkaf, N. (2013). The Gulf Council Countries Initiative for Power Transfer in Yemen and its implementation mechanism: Popular Version. Yemen 21 Forum.

Al-Sakkaf, N. (2012). Yemen’s Women and the Quest for Change. Political Participation after the Arab Revolution. Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.

Al-Sakkaf, N. (2012). LEAD: a Yemeni women’s empowerment guide for public leadership. Yemen 21 Forum and UNDP-EC Joint Electoral Assistance Project.

Al-Sakkaf, N. (2012). Gender in political reports guide for journalists. Yemen 21 Forum & UNDP-EC Joint Electoral Assistance Project.

Al-Sakkaf, N. (2011). Yemen’s revolution: The lack of public reasoning. Perspectives Publication159.

Al-Sakkaf, N. (2011). The Politicization of Yemen's Youth Revolution. Arab Reform Bulletin. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Al-Sakkaf, N. (2008). Breaking the stereotype: Yemeni female candidates in elections. Yemen Times & Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.

Selected commentary

(2022). ‘Internet Access in Yemen Should Be an Opportunity for Cooperation, not a Target.’ Fikra Forum, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. March 4th, 2022. Available at

(2018). ‘The only hope for Yemen lies beyond its capital.’ The New Arab. 9 January. Available at

(2018). ‘War in Yemen gives women more responsibility but not empowerment.’ CNN. 8 January. Available at

(2017). ‘Have We Forgotten the Women of Yemen?’ Fikra Forum. 27 November. Available at

(2016). ‘What is the real challenge for Yemen's Hadrami Elite forces?’ Al-Monitor. 19 July. Available at

(2016). ‘Ethnic hatred in Yemen.’ The New Arab. 12 May. Available at

(2016). ‘The Tragedy of Yemen’s Civil Society.’ The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. 19 February. Available at

(2013). ‘Changing the 'Black Mass' in the Yemeni capital.’ Thomson Reuters Foundation. 27 August. Available at

(2011). ‘My Turn: A dream for my daughter.’ Newsweek. 10 March. Available at

(2010). ‘Lack of funding prevents Yemen from achieving MDGs on time.’ The Yemen Times. 28 January. Available at

(2009). ‘We are armed, illiterate, hungry and angry.’ Interviewed by Alfred Hackensberger for  

(2009). TelePolis. 29 October. Available at 

Selected talks and presentations

(2018). Yemeni Women and the 2011 Uprising: Social Media as a Tool for Empowering the Empowered? International Symposium on Gender, Media and the Middle East. Julian Study Centre. University of East Anglia.

(2017). Women want to be part of the Internet, but gender inequality is holding back. IPDC Talks: Powering Sustainable Development with Access to Information. UNESCO. Paris.

(2017). Equal Access – Distributed Power. Access and Power Conference. Stockholm Internet Forum.

(2017). Yemen’s Political Process and Media. The Way Forward for Yemen: Saudi Perspectives Conference. Gulf Research Center Foundation and Chatham House. London.

(2017). Understanding and addressing the Humanitarian Challenges. Perspectives on the Conflict in Yemen. Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces & the Gulf Research Center Foundation. Geneva.

(2016). Yemen: Social media as a tool for women’s political empowerment. Conference on Social Media in the Arab World. School of Literature & Languages Department of English Language & Applied Linguistics. University of Reading

(2016). Reform from Within Post-Spring Governments. Beyond Islamists and Autocrats: The Future of Arab Reform Conference. The Washington Institute for Near Policy.

(2015). ‘How Yemen Information Minister’s tweets broadcast the fall of Sana’a.’ Interviewed by Ian Black for the Guardian. 21 May. Available at

(2015). Governance and Lessons Learnt from the Transition. Yemen: Key Players and Prospects for Peace Workshop. Chatham House.

(2015). ‘How social media can help keep democracy alive.’ World Economic Forum. 18 March. Available at

(2012). ‘We are afraid that our revolution will remain unfinished.’ Die Tageszeitung. 14 January. Available at!625875/

(2011). ‘See Yemen through my eyes.’ TEDGlobal. July14. Available at

(2010). ‘Nadia Al-Sakkaf: Crossing the border.’ Interviewed by Jutta Sommerbauer for Die Presse. 6 March. Available at

Contact and profiles