Democracy Education in Tunisia - Building Capacity among Youth Leaders

Ten Tunisian young leaders, who are seen as potential change agents in the area of civic and democracy education, have visited Australia and the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation last week as part of a project aimed at building resilience in Tunisian democracy efforts.

The visit was part of the Democracy Education in Tunisia - Building Capacity among Youth Leaders project led by the UNESCO Chair for Comparative Research on cultural diversity and Social Justice and Director of the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation, Professor Fethi Mansouri.

The project is being funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade through the Council of Australian-Arab Relations (CAAR) and run in partnership with the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA).

Professor Mansouri said the young people would participate in a range of interactive workshops, focus groups and critical evaluations during the week (27 November and 1 December) which aimed to build capacity and increase their understanding of how institutions worked in an established democracy.

“The workshops will also build their skills in the political process and policy making,” he said.

Professor Mansouri said the workshop built on a series of projects by the Chair and the Institute aimed at developing the ability of Tunisian civil society to support the country’s efforts toward democracy.

"Democratic transition following prolonged periods of non-democratic governance is a complex and unpredictable process at the best of times.  Yet, Tunisia remains the only Arab Spring country to emerge as a stable and functioning democracy with successive orderly elections, a new and highly progressive constitution and broader progress towards further political reform. To continue its successful journey, the country needs international support, institutional and leadership resilience but also to train the leaders of tomorrow.  This is what this program hopes to foster."

“This workshop draws on the Institute's expertise in youth and civic engagement and will make a significant contribution in an area of critical need for Tunisia as it prepares for the 2017 municipal elections.”

Professor Mansouri said the select group had been recruited through partner organisations in Tunisia, including the international Institute for Democracy and electoral Assistance (IDEA) who are involved in significant work around democracy education among youth in Tunisia and across the region.