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THE FIFTH TUNIS EXCHANGE CONFERENCE
June 10-June 22, 2014
Application Deadline I April 20/Deadline II May 10
Limited spaces available/Rolling acceptance

 

As with our other Exchanges, the twelve-day program will engage students from around the world in a multifaceted discussion of some of the key issues facing Tunisia and the wider region. The Tunis Exchange program specifically rests on three tracks this Summer. 

 

Track 1: Academic Seminars. Participants will attend a series of lectures with leading professors and public intellectuals in Tunisia. Topics will include, among others:

- The history and internal transformations of Ennahda, including organizational and ideological evolution since the revolution;
- The post-revolutionary evolution of the UGTT, Tunisia's powerful labor union, and its role in politics (including implications of its role as primary mediator in the National Dialogue of late 2013);
- Composition, platforms of, and alliances between major opposition parties (including Jebha Chaabia, Nidaa Tounes, Hizb Joumhouri, and Afeq Tounes) with a view toward the next elections;
- Prospects for the next elections, including composition and current activities of the elections commission board, expected timeline of, and possible challenges for the upcoming elections;
- State of the Tunisian economy, including regional inequalities, budget transparency and decentralization;
- Institutional and legislative reform needs following the passage of Tunisia's constitution, focusing particularly on reform of the Ministry of Interior (security sector) and Ministry of Justice (judicial sector), Tunisia's two most problematic ministries;
- Human rights in the new Tunisia (addressing issues such as freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, status of women, use of torture and the terrorism debate);
- Salafism, its composition (political, quietist, jihadi) in Tunisia and its relationship to and implications for party politics, stability, and governance moving forward;
- Taking stock of what Tunisia has done regarding transitional justice, what steps are planned to realize the recently passed transitional justice law, and what more needs to be done;
- The role of the media and civil society organizations;
- Youth politics and activism within and outside formal party structure.

 

Track 2: Dialogue with Leaders. Participants will have the opportunity to meet, listen and engage leading social, political, religious and economic leaders from across the spectrum in Tunisia.

 

Individual Speakers Have Previously Included (partial list only):
Abdelfattah Morou (Ennahda Party)
Rached Ghannouchi (Ennahda Party)
Mehrezia Laabidi (Ennahda Party)
Imed Dehmi (President, Congress for the Republic Party)
Taieb Bakkouche (Secretary General, Nidaa Tounes)
Hama Hammami (Popular Front)
Meriem Bourbuiba (Former Hizb Joumhouri)
Maya Jribi (Hizb Joumhouri)
Adnen Haji (UGTT, Leader of the 2008 uprising in Redeyef)
Mounir Ajroud (President, Leagues to Protect the Revolution)
Mohamed Belkhouja (President, Reform Front/Salafist Party)
Habib Kazdaghli (Manouba University)
Taieb Ghozi (Imam, Grand Mosque of Kairouan)
Michael Ayari (International Crisis Group)
Ahlem Belhaj (President, Tunisian Association of Democratic Women)
Kamel Laabidi (National Authority for Information and Communication Reform)
Amna Guellali (Director, Human Rights Watch)
Bochra Belhaj Hamidi (Lawyer)
Hamida Ennaifer (Co-founder, Islamic Tendency Movement)
Salaheddine Jourchi (Co-founder, Islamic Tendency Movement)
Youssef Seddik (Philosopher)
Fabio Merone (Researcher, Gerda Hinkel Foundation)
Radwan Masmoudi (Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy)
Amira Yahyaoui (Al-Bawsala)
Sihem Ben Sedrine (Transitional Justice Commission)
Slim Amamou (Blogger, Former Minister)
Yassine Ayari (Blogger, leading figure in the revolution)

 

Institutions Represented in Past Programs:
UGTT (Tunisian General Labour Union)
Jibha Chaabia (Popular Front)
Ennahda Party
Nidaa Tounes (Call for Tunisia)
Congress for the Republic (CPR)
Leagues to Protect the Revolution
Jibhat al-Islah (a leading Salafist party)
Ettakatol Party
Afeq Tounes Party
Hizb Joumhouri Party (formerly PDP)
Union of Tunisian Journalists
Committee to Protect Journalists
High Authority for Audio-Visual Communication (HAICA)
Nessma TV
Kalimat Radio
Nawaat
Ettounsia Newspaper
Tunisian Association of Democratic Women (Les Femmes Democrates)
Ministry of Women's Affairs
Human Rights Watch, Tunisia
Ministry of Transitional Justice and Human Rights
Tunisian Observatory for a Democratic Transition
Al-Bawsala (government monitoring NGO)
Tunisian League of Human Rights (LTDH)
Amnesty International, Tunisia
Tunisian Network for Social Economy
Tunisian-American Chamber of Commerce
Tunisian Association of Young Entrepreneurs
Governorates (meeting with governors of Sidi Bouzid, Gafsa and Sfax)
Manouba University
Tunis University
Ministry of Religious Affairs
Ministry of Finance
International Center for Transitional Justice
Tunisian Judges Association
Tunisian Lawyers Association
(To view a previous schedule for the Tunis Exchanges, click here

 

Track 3: Two-Day Conference and Cultural Day June 13-15. Included in the tuition for the program, Tunis exchange students will participate in a two-day conference at the Ambassadeurs Hotel focusing on the upcoming elections in Tunisia and the wider political situation in the region. The conference will feature speeches and discussions led by a range of Tunisian politicians, activists, intellectuals and academics, including but not limited to (preliminary confirmations): Hamadi Jbeili, Kamal Morjane, Maya Jreibi, Adnan Hajji, Lubna Jreibi, Meherzia Laabidi, Youssef Seddik, Sihem Ben Saddrine, Hama Hammami and a number of other figures. Alumni of previous Exchanges, as well as selected members of the general public, will be invited to register for the two-day conference. In order to encourage the most open discussion possible, the conference will be held under Chatham House rules and will therefore be off the record and closed to the pres.

 

On Sunday June 15, Alumni of our previous programs are also invited to join our current Tunis Exchange students for a cultural day organized with one of the main arts/youth associations as well as the office of Deputy Speaker of the Parliament Meherzia Laabidi, the highest ranking, female elected official in MENA. Alumni and Tunis Exchange students will be hosted in a traditional Tunisian house in the government district for a lunch and a series of performances together with the government, NGO and diplomatic community.

 

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Program Format:
The Tunis Exchange will be held over twelve days total at the conference room of The Ambassadeurs hotel in downtown Tunis. Students are expected to stay at our hotel, Villa 78 (www.villa78tunis.com), located within five minutes walking distance of The Ambassadeurs Hotel, or at The Ambassadeurs Hotel itself (www.ambassadeurs-hotel.net/), unless permission for offsite stay at alternative hotels or accommodations is requested, since most meetings will take place in the conference room at The Ambassadeurs Hotel. Off-site meetings during the twelve days will entail bus travel as a group in and around Tunis, including to the National Assembly. At least three days of the program (June 19, 20 and 21) will entail travel to other cities and regions in Tunisia for meetings with local activists, intellectuals, academics and political/religious leaders, including in Sidi Bouzid and Sfax. The program will close at 12pm on Sunday, June 22 in Tunis.

 

Costs:
Tuition – $1600; Partial financial aid is available for those students and individuals that can demonstrate need as well as alumni of our previous programs. All bus travel, transportation from the airport on arrival and other program costs associated with the full 12-day Exchange are included.

 

Accommodation – $540; Ten nights of the program will be spent in downtown Tunis, while at least two nights will be spent at hotels outside of Tunis. Room rates vary depending on arrangements, but generally fall within the range of $45 per night, per student for a shared double room (breakfast and taxes are included). Alternative accommodation, including in a single room, is available upon request. Note that the $45 room rate is for stay at our hotel, Villa 78, and at hotels in the south. A shared, double room is priced at approximately $55 per night, per student at The Ambassadeurs Hotel.

 

Airfare - $450, approximate from the European Union.

 

REQUEST AN APPLICATION via This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

About the Exchange Co-Directors Nicholas Noe & Monica Marks
Monica L. Marks (Istanbul-Ankara & Tunis) is a Rhodes Scholar and doctoral candidate at St. Antony's College, Oxford University. Her work, which focuses primarily on Islamism, youth politics, and security reform in Tunisia, has appeared in the New York TimesForeign Policy, and the Huffington Post, as well as academic publications. As lead Tunisia researcher for the Barcelona-based Institute for Integrated Transitions (IFIT) in 2012-2013, Ms. Marks drafted "Inside the Transition Bubble," a report analyzing international technical assistance flows to four key sectors of Tunisia's transition. She is also the author of the Brookings Doha Center's February 2014 analysis paper “Convince, Coerce, or Compromise? Ennahda’s Approach to Tunisia’s Constitution." A former Fulbright Scholar to Turkey, Ms. Marks returned there to work as an instructor at Istanbul's Bogazici University in 2013 and again in 2014. Despite frequent trips to Oxford and to Turkey, Ms. Marks is based in Tunisia, where she has also moonlighted as a freelance journalist for the New York Times, covering the September 2012 attack on the US Embassy, the February, 2013 assassination of Chokri Belaid, and other breaking stories. 


Nicholas Noe (Istanbul-Ankara, Tunis & Beirut) is currently co-editor of the Heinrich Boell Foundation's journal on the Middle East, Perspectives, the editor of the 2007 book, Voice of Hezbollah: The Statements of Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah (Verso), Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief of the Beirut-based news translation service Mideastwire.com covering the Middle East media and the Director of The Exchange program which now counts more than 300 student alumni from 45 different countries. He regularly provides commentary for Al-Jazeera International, BBC, CNN and several US and European publications and is the author of a White Paper for the Century Foundation entitled: “Re-Imagining the Lebanon Track: Towards a New US Policy.” His Op-Eds on the region have appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, Foreign Policy Magazine, Asia Times, The National and The National Interest.