Social and economic grievances of Tunisian youth played a major role in igniting the uprising in Tunisia, and more generally, the so-called Arab Spring. Despite a successful political transition in the country, progress on addressing youth grievances has been slow in light of deteriorating living conditions, rampant corruption, and rising unemployment. These realities continue to pose a serious challenge to the prospects of building a sustainable democracy in Tunisia. Based on data gathered from meetings with a diverse group of 500 young Tunisians, this talk will shed light on youth’s perceived and actual exclusion from social, economic, and political opportunities. In doing so it will provide a critical assessment of the underlying causes of youth alienation in the country and prospects for greater political, social and economic inclusion.
Ghazi Ben Ahmed leads the Mediterranean Development Initiative of the Center for Transatlantic Relations, Johns Hopkins SAIS in Tunisia. He is the founder and the Secretary General of the Club de Tunis, a Tunisian based foundation that helps policymakers and entrepreneurs devise strategies and development projects for inclusive growth. He has set up jointly with Dar El Dhekra (Remembrance House, the first Tunisian Jewish Association), a project to safeguard Tunisian Jewish Heritage by promoting its products on the US market. Ghazi Ben Ahmed is the Tunisia Coordinator for Leaders Engaged in New Democracies (LEND). He cooperates with the U.S. State Department, the Community of Democracies, and the Club de Madrid to provide peer advice, peer support, and capacity building to political leaders and policy makers in Tunisia. Previously he was the Lead Trade Expert in the African Development Bank (AfDB). Before joining the AfDB, he was a Senior Advisor at the United Nation agency for Trade and Development (UNCTAD), in the Africa and LDC Division. He also worked for almost 10 years in the European Commission in Brussels, in several Directorates-Generals: Trade, EuropeAid and External Relations, responsible for trade issues, EU trade and development policy, textile negotiations, macroeconomic analysis, structural adjustment and institutional building in the Mediterranean countries.
*This event is co-sponsored with the Mediterranean Studies Forum.*