On January 14, 2011, Tunisia’s youth captured the world’s attention by putting an end to the country’s twenty-three –year-old dictatorship. They catalyzed an amazing series of events that brought democracy to Tunisia and ignited the Arab Spring, a revolution that liberated millions of people in the region from tyranny.
We at the Tunisian American Young Professionals Association (TAYP) were also inspired by these events. At TAYP, we believe that the successful transition to a new Tunisia is contingent upon the country’s economic prosperity. We hope to leverage our experiences and connections to strengthen economic ties between the nation where we live and the nation from which we are descended.
TAYP facilitates relationships between Tunisian entrepreneurs and U.S. investors and offers advisory services to each. We focus our efforts in the following four areas:
- Encouraging U.S. investors to consider Tunisia as a potential investment location by making presentations and participating in roundtable events at chambers of commerce, think tanks, professional associations, etc.;
- Fostering dialogue to increase U.S. interest in Tunisia with the help of U.S. federal agencies, Congress, and the White House;
- Raising awareness about Tunisia’s entrepreneurs in partnership with U.S. investors and agencies;
- Supporting young entrepreneurs to develop their businesses through mentoring, technical, and financial support.
We are also creating a social and professional networking platform for Tunisians who currently, or have ever, lived in the United States.
At TAYP we recognize the opportunity to leverage Tunisia’s unprecedented wave of awareness and sympathy in the United States. In just one year, TAYP was involved in a number of major events aiming to strengthen the economic ties and increasing the effectiveness of businesses between the U.S. and Tunisia.
In November 2011, TAYP and the U.S. Department of State co-organized the first Tunisia Partnerships Forum, hosted at the Department of State in Washington, DC. The Forum included breakout sessions held at IBM, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the Franchise Association. Thirty Tunisians traveled to the U.S. specifically for this event. They joined over 200 forum participants, including Arab-American investors andU.S. businesses leaders across the three sectors the Tunisians recommended: information and communications technology, tourism, and franchising. Tunisian Ambassador to the United States Mohamed Salah Tekaya described the Forum as “truly historic” and “the first forum the U.S. has hosted exclusively for Tunisia.”
TAYP also organized the Invest in Tunisia Roadshow in partnership with the Bilateral U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce, providing an excellent opportunity to present Tunisia’s value proposition to investors in Atlanta, Chicago, and Houston. We were honored that Ambassador Tekaya joined us in this three-city tour.
In August 2011, I had the honor of being a guest at the White House, where I had the chance to personally introduce our association and its mission to the U.S. President Barack Obama. President Obama reacted very positively to our organization, and he encouraged TAYP to continue in its work.
Additionally, TAYP strives to represent the Tunisian diaspora in the U.S., which is one of the main reasons why we attended the first annual Global Diaspora Forum at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, DC.
A single diaspora organization cannot achieve real success for its country of heritage alone. For that reason, TAYP has been working with Tunisian, American, and international governmental and nongovernmental partners to accomplish the challenging task of promoting economic prosperity inTunisia. We have built close ties with organizations such as the Global Entrepreneurship Program, the Aspen Institute, the Tunisian American Chamber of Commerce, PNB- NAPEO, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the Global Innovation Science and Technology group, and many others.
The Tunisian American Young Professionals is an innovative and dynamic association that brings together energetic and committed individuals who strongly believe in the economic potential of Tunisia and who recognize the important role and opportunities available for the U.S. investing community. We are always looking for talented entrepreneurs, educators, experienced professionals, and students who want to be part of this great initiative. Having shared our accomplishments so far and our exciting opportunities for the future, we invite you to visit our website and become a member of our association and community.
About the Author: Mohamed Malouche is the president of TAYP. He is currently working with Tunisian youth and entrepreneurship programs with Penn State University, the International Youth Foundation, and the U.S. State Department. In addition to managing and developing TAYP, Mohamed is a Senior Manager with Deloitte Consulting. Previously, Mohamed was a principal with American Management Systems and founder of PromoTunisia. He holds a master’s degree from Telecom Paris Sud in France and a Masters in Telecommunications from Michigan State University.
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The contents of this blog are the sole responsibility of the author and its ideas and opinions do not necessarily reflect those of International diaspora Engagement Alliance, the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Migration Policy Institute, or any of their partners.