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Distinguished Speaker Series - Joël Fort presents "Yemen: A Tragedy Under the Radar"

  • April 11, 2023
  • 6:00 PM - 8:30 PM
  • Hall of Nations, Balboa Park


Registration is closed

The San Diego World Affairs Council presents the
Distinguished Speaker Series

Joël Fort


"Yemen: A Tragedy Under the Radar"

Summary: Joël lived in Yemen for nearly 5 years, from 2005 to 2010, with the task of implementing the largest ever industrial project of Yemen – to build from scratch a plant that would liquefy natural gas piped from Yemeni fields located in the center of the country and exporting it from an export terminal at the southern coast.

This presentation will share some high-level data about Yemen, its vast geography and historical background and also personal insights into Ali Abdalah Saleh, the Yemeni president during his tenure. Joel will also talk about safety and security from his day-to-day experiences, the extraordinary beauty of the Yemeni landscapes and architecture, tribal customs around water scarcity, religion, cooking, music, the myths of the Queen of Sheba, Moka coffee and the pervasive practice of chewing “qat.”

About Joël Fort

As French national, Joël Fort spent his entire professional career of more than 43 years in the Oil and Gas industry, from 1973 to 2010 with what has ultimately become the TotalEnergies Group, and after leaving Total, as an international private consultant from 2010 to 2017.

During his time with the Total Oil and Gas group, he held various positions characterized by a high level of technical, organization and managerial content, covering in particular 17 ½ years in assignments abroad in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

From mid 2005 to the beginning of 2010, Joel was assigned to the position of CEO and GM of Yemen LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas), an independent company in which Total was a shareholder alongside the Yemeni government, and some other international groups. His assignment was to transform it from a business concept to an operational company, including staffing, building of infrastructure, setting up organizational functions and departments, recruiting and training the teams to run these installations; in fact, everything involved in developing a USD$ 5.6 billion project from non-existence up to first LNG shipment in October 2009 and a few months beyond.

Over that span of time in Yemen where he was living in a high-security bungalow, he had however opportunities to travel across the country, to meet people ranging from humble laborers to officials at the highest spheres in Government, and to observe customs, and analyze the culture of Yemen. 

Since he retired in 2017, he has stayed in touch with ex-employees and friends in Yemen, and kept up to date with the tragic events developing in the country – a country he had fallen in love with, and which finds itself today in the midst of a battle of local heavy weights, leaving it exposed to all sorts of dramatic miseries.


Mailing Address

San Diego World Affairs Council (SDWAC)

PO Box 34010

San Diego, CA 92163


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