The Tunisian American Young Professionals (TAYP) in partnership with the American Council for Young Political Leaders (ACYPL) hosted a delegation of 7 young American political leaders, in Tunisia, from May 20 to May 25, 2014.
The second edition of this program (after a successful first exchange in December 2012) was designed to provide an in-depth exploration and understanding of Tunisia’s governing, judicial and policy making structures and processes as well as political, geographic, and cultural diversity . The ultimate goal is to strengthen bilateral relations between the United States and Tunisia and enable people to people exchanges that are the key to enable further economic cooperation, ties and exchanges.
The political leaders that were hosted were all less then 40 years old. The delegation was composed of 3 Republicans and 4 Democrats and included the CEO of ACYPL, a state senator, two city council vice presidents, a state chairman of the Republican Party, a political consultant and a public policy analyst at Google.
During their first day of meetings, on May 21st, the delegation met with key government officials including the foreign affairs’ secretary of state Mr. Faycal Gouiaa who expressed his appreciation for US economic and development assistance and the friendship that the two countries have been enjoying.
The delegation visited the National Constituent Assembly (NCA) where they met with NCA President Mustapha Ben Jaafar who talked about the adoption of the new constitution and explained how the new constitution protects individual freedoms and guarantee gender equality. He also mentioned the hurdles the assembly faced before the adoption of the new constitution and the recent adoption of the electoral law.
The delegation then visited the prime ministry in where they met with Minister Nidhal Ouerfelli who gave an overview of the current economic situation in Tunisia and explained how the government was trying to deal with the multiple economic, social and security challenges. Minister Ouerfelli also mentioned Prime Minister Jomaa’s recent successful visit to the United States
On the second day, the delegation met with several leaders of Tunisia’s main political parties. They met with leaders of Afek Tounes, Nidaa Tounes and Ennahdha who exposed their party’s vision. Following the political meetings the delegation visited the Mediterranean School of Business where they met with students, the Dean Mahmoud Triki and held a Q & A session.
On the business side, the delegation was hosted by Amcham Tunisia and had an opportunity to hear from Amcham President Amal Bouchamaoui and board members, as well as from Tourism Minister Amel Karboul on the prospects and future of Tunisia’ tourism industry. They also met with IACE President Ahmed Bouzguenda and board members. Both meetings were focused on how to advance US-Tunisia economic relationships, and a twinning project was proposed by NCA member Noomane Fehri between the Cap Bon and Florida.
Last but not least, the delegation met with various civil society leaders to gain understanding of the formidable development of civil society since the revolution. They were hosted by TAYP and FSVC for a final dinner to discuss ways to further strengthen this kind of bilateral exchanges.
TAYP and ACYPL hope that we met our objective to provide our guests with an overview of Tunisia’s political, economic and social conditions, but to also provide them with the best that Tunisia has to offer in terms of image, sights and venues without trying to hide the realities and challenges that our country is facing during this transition period.
Our deepest thanks go to those who agreed to host us and TAYP members who organized and escorted our guests: Ines Ghalleb, Hajer Hmila, Selim Moussa, Mondher Khanfir, Nadia Bach Hamba, Michael Blumer, Leila Triki, Wassim Ben Yahia and Youssef Cherif. Last but not least, a special thank to our trip director, renown journalist Hatem Bourial for an amazing journey!