TAYP February 2015 Editorial


Dear TAYP subscribers and readers,

2015 is brimming with positive changes. Tunisia elected a new parliament and president, and has just crafted a new governmentFurthermore, TAYP has finalized its plans for 2015 and completed its management team expansion.

We recently finalized the structure of the new management team and we are all excited to announce that the following talent is joining our management team: Ikbel Achour as the Vice President of Development, Mahmoud Hachicha as the Vice President of Operations, and Courtney Joline as TAYP Director. You can read more about their background and experience, as well as an interview with Ikbel, in this newsletter.

The TAYP board meeting was held in early January to discuss and approve our organization’s 2015 strategic plan. The goal for the coming year is to focus on four areas that represent the strength of the Tunisian-American community. These strategic areas form the foundation for our focus for 2015, and consist of i) Entrepreneurship, ii)Education, iii) Exchange, and iv) Exports. Courtney Joline summarizes these in the review of the recent board meeting where we discussed this strategic vision, and also details her interview with Ambassador William Taylor, one of our board members.

We also strive to communicate and network with our members on a frequent basis, and in early January TAYP invited its members and board for a dinner reception. Mohamed Malouche, TAYP’s Chairman of the Board, presented TAYP’s Recognition Award to two of our members, Hajer Hmila from our Tunis chapter and Mohamed Bouras from TAYP USA. Courtney Joline details this event in her recap of the reception.

We are also continuing to expand our activities across the US. Ahmed Lachheb served as an election observer in the US and shares his insights in this newsletter. Along with other TAYP members, I had the opportunity to meet with Congressman David Price at his office in Raleigh, North Carolina. Amina Laouani put together a summary of this meeting, which you can read about in this publication. Our highly impactful handicrafts program has made great strides and recently received a funding extension to develop an export platform. I also had the opportunity to work with the Microsoft Innovation Center in Tunisia to lead a coaching session with 11 start-ups.

There have also been exciting developments within Tunisia. Ambassador Chelaifa, Tunisia’s ambassador to the United States, has been named Secretary of State within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In addition, Tunisia will host the March 5 Investment & Entrepreneurship Conference, an exciting opportunity to foster investment and promote entrepreneurship. Last but not least, USAID and the Department of State announced yesterday the requested budget for FY16, of which $134M is allocated to Tunisia, more then doubling the amount allocated in FY14.

Dear readers, I hope that you enjoy reading about these latest developments in this edition of TAYP’s newsletter.

Firas BenAchour