Outspoken feminists rub shoulders --- metaphorically, at least --- with Salafis. Youth activists mingle with establishment politicians. A representative of the Houthis, a rebel group turned political movement that has fought with the government for the past decade, helps run the show. Delegates from the southern provinces constantly vying for autonomy casually cross conversational red lines on independence talk as others in the room veer on declaring secession treasonous.
It will be months before anyone can say whether's ambitious national dialogue conference, slated to tackle major issues such as constitutional reform and restructuring the government, was a success. But the conference, which began last week and will last into the fall, can already celebrate one achievement: In this divided country, it has managed to get representatives from the bulk of the key factions in the same room.