Afkar – Thought Leaders Forum


As Tunisia navigates the transition from dictatorship to democracy, leaders of all backgrounds have come forward to demand and implement change. Too often, however, change has failed to take permanent root due to a breakdown at the macro level: from broken systems, corrupt practices, out-of-date policies, etc…. These structural problems can frustrate even the most adept innovator, and these significant hurdles need fresh ideas and broad efforts to correct.

In this context comes Afkar, a new forum for a unique mix of Tunisia’s leading innovators, business leaders, and game-changers who will come together to challenge the status quo, discover new ideas, and put forward their own actions.

Afkar takes its shape from two successful conference formats: inspirational story-telling championed by the TED talk format known around the world, and high-level summits like those of the World Economic Forum and Switzerland’s Forum des 100. These two styles are well respected for their ability to gather engaged and innovative people with their capacity to inspire, and their potential ability to develop realistic solutions to targeted problems.

By combining these two styles, Afkar can address some of the downsides of both formats, namely a lack of concrete next steps coming from the first format, and a largely top-down only approach from the other. Afkar wants solutions and believes that together, powerful and innovative people can achieve those. But Afkar also believes that the next great game-changer could come from anywhere, and so we want our doors open to all who are eager to be engaged.

Afkar will unfold in two steps, a smaller summit of innovators who will debate, discuss and share their vision for a stronger and more inclusive Tunisia, followed by an open public conference that alternates between inspirational speaker sessions, workshops, and round-table talks.

After each event, Afkar will publish an official White Paper that will track three key domains in Tunisia, reflecting the conversations and thoughts that came out of the event. Unlike anything else currently published about the state of Tunisia, the Afkar White Paper will address the achievements, challenges, and opportunities in each of these areas, and can potentially track changes from year to year as an ongoing barometer of the event’s sustainability.

Beginning initially with editions? in Tunisia, Afkar hopes to continue the conversation and expand its network to include the diaspora. Its future success will come from how well we can leverage the networks of some of Tunisia’s biggest doers. And so, in order to make Afkar a reality, we are currently looking for strong partners, both in Tunisia and in the diaspora, who believe in our mission and ready to help us build this unique platform. 

We believe that TAYP can have a positive impact on the success of this event, as a speaker, participant, or as a support to the organizing team. Success stories, diverse experiences, and new connections will only strengthen this event, and we look forward to working with any interested supporters. For the many Tunisians abroad looking for ways to help their country during this critical time, Afkar will be a tool for gathering supporters, networking, and sharing content to call people to action.

Tunisia is just one piece of a region facing shared challenges and brimming with innovative ideas. With so much potential for region-wide collaboration, Afkar envisions a future where the conference can expand to honor achievers from across the region, address topics of regional concern, and sustain a network of engaged and creative people across borders.

Ultimately, Afkar has the potential to build a new international network, powered by fresh ideas, capable of finding the solutions to some of Tunisia’s most pressing challenges. We see Afkar as only the beginning of a more inclusive, open discussion that allows every Tunisian, no matter their location or background, to take ownership of a new blueprint for Tunisia’s future.

kevin Coyne

Tunis, Tunisia