May 2015 Editorial


Dear TAYP members and friends,

The definition of “success” is the attainment of one’s goals. Success is the product of clear vision and sheer determination and is measured by the continuous progress that is needed to achieve the desired goals. TAYP’s work with the 4 E’s Initiative (Education, Entrepreneurship, Exports and Exchanges), combined with our continued work to assist Tunisia’s young democracy, is our measure of success.

The next few weeks are full of exciting events and will further engage our Tunisian diaspora in the US. First, we are expanding our activities and presence in Tunisia and we are very pleased to have Houssem Aoudi join TAYP’s executive team to help us drive such expansion as the President of the Tunisia Chapter.  We are grateful to Mondher Khanfir for having served in that position for the past two years.

We have also expanded our board and are pleased to welcome two new friends of Tunisia: Shelly Porges, a global entrepreneurship advocate and Kris Balderston, a political and international relations specialist. We are also excited to welcome Ambassador Faycal Gouiaa as the head of the Tunisian mission in Washington DC. Ambassador Gouiaa is a veteran diplomat and we are confident that he can continue to strengthen the US-Tunisian relationship.

Tunisia’s President Beji Caid Essebsi will be in Washington DC from May 19-21 for an official visit at the invitation of President Barack Obama. TAYP will be actively coordinating with the Tunisian Embassy, our friends and partners, as well as government officials on both sides, to help make this visit a success.

As we have grown accustomed to, this edition of our newsletter is rich with interesting articles and updates about our activities. TAYP’s Handicraft program was featured as a top commitment at the Clinton Global Initiative’s Middle East and Africa meeting in Morocco this past week. TAYP plans on expanding its pilot program by incorporating an export apparatus over the next year, making the handicraft sector a driver of employment and growth.

Kevin Coyne will present to us the latest news from Afkar, a forum for Tunisian thought leaders. Mohamed Malouche, TAYP’s Chairman of the Board, co-authored an article for Foreign Policy that discussed the next steps that Tunisia must take to cement sustainable economic reform. It is a riveting read about the political, social, and economic atmospheres of today’s Tunisia and the challenges (and potentials) to success. Saoussen Mahjoub writes about the meeting between TAYP members and visiting MPs in Washington DC, focusing on the discussion that was held regarding economic reform and deregulation.

Mohamed Malouche outlines key takeaways from the Investment and Entrepreneurship Conference in Tunisia, where Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker outlined a road map for future US-Tunisian economic relations. Courtney Joline writes about the Investment, Entrepreneurship, and Development roundtable that analyzed that same conference at The George Washington University.

Continuing on TAYP’s tradition of supporting Tunisian entrepreneurs, I held a mentoring session, in cooperation with Boost, a Tunisian acceleration program, for a group of four startups. Each startup practiced its investment pitch and got some valuable feedback. TAYP and Boost will plan additional mentoring sessions to help small companies in Tunisia connect with diaspora mentors.

Dear readers, I hope you enjoy reading this edition of TAYP’s newsletter.

Firas BenAchour

Firas BenAchour

Mooresville, NC, USA