It All Started

It All Started with One Video.

It All Started with One Video.

Our story starts in 2017 as both Filmmaker Ahmed Al Hagri and Graphic Designer Waleed Al Ward led their independent journeys to explore the real scene of Yemen’s art and culture. Then, speeding up events to 2018, at a social event in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Ahmed Al Hagri, alongside a group of Yemeni culture enthusiasts, produced a pilot short film. This film was an homage to Yemen and received positive feedback from the international audience present that day. Today, we consider it as our platform’s first chapter that established our essence.

Yemen Used to Be was founded in 2019 and is built on the fuel of the desire to recognise and acknowledge Yemen as part of the human narrative. This sense of accountability runs strongly throughout the platform today, where 15 creative members -researchers, translators, writers, and artists- teamed up believing in one mission: to connect the missing dots of Yemeni art and culture.

Working with exhaustive research, we specialize in simplifying information into interactive content using engaging visuals and illustrations. So far, we’ve published more than 6o stories on various cultural topics, reached over 50k followers on our social media platforms, launched two events in Sana’a and Malaysia, and produced two short films (Sofra and Covid-19), in addition to a series of biographical documentaries on inspiring Yemeni figures coming up soon.



Growing up, we were raised to see things in a certain way. As if there was a political agenda. We didn't learn much about the deeper history and real culture that lives within Yemen, from the people to the food and celebrations. That's why now we want to change the narrative.

Faiza Saqib Middle East Monitor

We believe that such realization of the importance of the shared history among Yemenis will help erase the contentions among Yemenis

Voice of America Nisan Ahmado

The nature of the archive is also about preserving and sharing a collective memory with a younger Yemeni audience who know little about their own cultural heritage.

CARPO with Yemen Policy Center & YWBODYemen

Our first objective is to change the negative image of Yemen in the eyes of those near and far. Within Yemen, people’s spirits have narrowed to a present where all they can see is the negativity around them.

Al-Madaniya Magazine



Ahmed Al Hagri

Co-Creator & Director

Waleed al Ward




Bashayer Ali, Coordinator

Mustafa Wehbi, Proofreader

Rofaida Ahmed, Illustrator

Arwa Ghamdhan, Researcher

Abrar Almohamadi, Researcher

Dua’a Al-Nahdi, Researcher

Asma Alacki, Researcher

Farah Gamal, Writer

Sara Zaki, Writer

Thuraya Naji, Writer

Mohammed Al-Abadi, Writer

Bushra Alghurbani, Writer

Ruba Mansoob, Translator

Ahd Yaseen, Translator

Maria Al-Shehari, Translator

Tareq Al-Seawiee, Architect Designer

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