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Seeds of Friendship
By Karina Lichtman (George Washington University)
Before studying abroad inTunisia, I couldn’t imagine calling it my home. I lived with a host family, whom from day
truly treated me like family. My host parents insisted I called them “omi” and “baba”, fed me until I couldn’t breathe, and made sure I knew they thought of me as another daughter. My host siblings also treated me just like family, truly ensuring I felt comfortable at all times, calling me sister and confiding in me. I felt so incredibly loved, and truly felt and continue to feel a part of their family.
After my program ended, I could not imagine leaving my Tunisian family, or the beautiful country and incredible people I encountered that transformed from strangers to close friends within a matter of minutes, so I found a job at a language center teaching English and moved to an apartment in Bab Souika, the oldest neighborhood in Tunis, located in the Medina. I lived there for about six weeks, but was treated as though I had lived there all my life. My neighbors looked out for me, and greeted me with enthusiasm, asking about how I was doing, how my family was doing in the U.S., and of course, making sure I was well fed.
Being inTunisia during two terrorist attacks, I never once felt unsafe. In fact, when Tunisians found out I was foreign, they would go above and beyond to make sure I felt completely at ease about my security, and be even more hospitable, if that is possible to imagine. I attended an anti-terrorism march in March, after the attack at the BardoMuseum, and it was so amazing to be apart of this sense of unity and pride in their country. Sounding out the words to the (Tunisian) national anthem because I don’t actually know the words, or speak Arabic for that matter, but being welcomed to attempt to sing it, screaming the chants alongside these intense and prideful people is something I will never forget. I could sense during that march, an incredible feeling of nationalism, and imagine the passion the people had during the Tunisian Revolution.
When I saw that the National Dialogue Quartet, a Tunisian organization, won the Nobel Peace Prize***, I was ecstatic. Tunisia is a strong and resilient country, and I am so happy to see that this organization and the country as a whole have been recognized for their efforts toward a sound democracy. I cannot wait to go back to Tunisia, and will forever owe this country and its people for welcoming me, above and beyond anything I could have imagined.
***The 2015 Nobel Peace Prize
The Tunisian American Day-2015:
-Enjoy the Photo Album:
-Watch the Video:
Saturday May 30th, 2015
- 5:00 P.M. – Reception
- 6:00 P.M. – Ibn Khaldun Award Ceremony
Honoree: Lina Ben Mhenni
Guest of Honor: H.E. Fayçal Gouia
- 7:00 P.M. – Catered Tunisian dinner
- 8:00 P.M. – Live Tunisian music entertainment
Venue: Doubletree Hotel (Terrace Ballroom): 1515 Rhode Island Ave NW, Washington,DC20005
2) Mail check/money to: Tunisian Community Center PO Box 837 Clifton Park, NY 12065
[No Tickets at the Door]
ANCESTRY, ETHNICITY & RACE
Please, join the campaign to support the inclusion of the “MENA” category on the 2020 US Census.
The Census affects, among other things, how over $300 Billion a year of federal and state funding is spent where you live. It is also used in apportioning seats in the US House of Representatives and redistrict State Legislatures and School District assignment areas.
In October 2014 the Census Bureau broadened its options pertaining to ancestry by having a classification of people from the North Africa and the Middle East. The Bureau will begin the testing in 2015 of a MENA (Middle East/North Africa) category for possible inclusion on the 2020 Census. This category would result in correcting the census data which underestimates the MENA community by almost 2 million people according to the Arab American Institute.
We need to voice our support for the Census revisions by sending this letter of support to the Federal Register.
The action is needed by February 1, 2015.
The legislative elections are coming very soon. The ISIE has opened five poll offices in the US during October, 24th, 25th and 26th, in the following cities: San Francisco, CA, Houston, TX, New York city (Our mission to the UN), NY, Miami (our consulate), FL and our Embassy in Washington DC.
As Tunisians living in the US, we will be represented by two deputies out of 217 in the future assembly. Thirteen candidates have been accepted by the ISIE for our constituency, the Americas and the Rest of Europe. Here is the link to the full list of candidates: http://www.isie.tn/liste/amerique-reste-monde.pdf
Here are a few links to the elections programs of some of the candidates:
Tayyar Al Mahabba (previousely Al Aridha): http://www.alhachimi.net/images/stories/%D9%83%D8%AA%D8%A7%D8%A8_%D8%AA%D9%8A%D8%A7%D8%B1_%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D8%AD%D8%A8%D8%A9._%D9%85%D8%B9_%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AA%D8%B5%D9%85%D9%8A%D9%85.pdf
Nidaa Touness: Economical and Social program: http://nidaa-tounes.org/elections/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/اللجنة-الإقتصادية-والاجتماعية.pdf, Cultural Program: http://nidaa-tounes.org/elections/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/خطتنا-لتنمية-الثقافة-الوطنية-وانفتاحها-على-العالم.pdf
Al Jabha Achaabia: http://front-populaire.org/?p=4725
LIST OF CANDIDATES (US, Canada & Rest of Europe)
TUNISIAN ELECTIONS UPDATES
Update 1: the ISIE has posted online the list of registered voters by constituency. As Tunisians living in the US, we will vote for the constituency “the Americas and the Rest of Europe”. Here is the link to the full list of registered voters in our constituency http://isie.tn/liste-inscrits-etranger/list_inscrit_etr_web_54.pdf (the link is not corrupted. You can ignore the alert message).
You should check that your name is on the list AND that it’s spelled correctly – as it appears on your ID. Your name will appear under Washington’s list even though you might vote in another polling office such as San Francisco. You can go straight to pages 944-970 if you were registered for the previous elections and to pages 970 to 1146 (in Arabic only) if you registered recently.
Here is the link to the list of all registered Tunisians, in all constituencies, if you would like to check the accuracy of the lists http://isie.tn/index.php/fr/communiques/107-listes-electorales.html
Update 2: if you have discovered an error in the list of our constituency, here is the contact information to appeal the list:
Amériques et reste de l’Europe
1255 Université, suite 307-Montréal, Québec Canada H3B 3B4
If you have discovered an error in any of the lists (someone registered twice) here is the link to all contact information by constituency: http://isie.tn/index.php/fr/recours.html
Update 3: the ISIE has extended the registration period again, till AUGUST 29th. Citizens who register during this last extension won’t be able to apply to be candidates for the elections. Here is the procedure to register:
- Click on the following link: https://touenssa.isie.tn or copy/paste it into your browser
- The Registration form page will open.
- If your passport has expired, go to section 2 otherwise move on to step 4
- Enter your personal information as it appears on your passport and follow the instructions
If it doesn’t work, or if your passport has expired, go to section 2
- Click on “Click here“ that appears on the bottom of the form in the following sentence: “If you have a problem with authentication using passport Click here”
- A new page will open and you will be able to register using your Tunisian National Identification Card
- Enter your personal information as it appears on your Tunisian National Identification Card.
- Follow the instructions
If it still doesn’t work, our Embassy in DC could still help register you if you send them the following information:
- i. Full name as it appears on your passport or you Tunisian ID
- ii. Number of your passport
- iii. Your passport date of issue. Write the month in letters to avoid confusion between American date and Tunisian date styles
- iv. Your passport expiration date. Write the month in letters to avoid confusion between American date and Tunisian date styles
- v. Your Tunisian National Identification Card number
- vi. Your date of birth. Write the month in letters to avoid confusion between American date and Tunisian date styles
- vii. Your address (used for the choice of the voting station)
The Voter Education Committee
Mouna Ben Garga, TCC-ISIE Liaison: firstname.lastname@example.org
Amine Kallala, TCC, Voter Education Program Director: email@example.com
“Keep Them Honest”
Why: Registration for Tunisians living abroad has been very difficult and sometimes impossible because ISIE’s database is not updated and ignores citizens who have renewed their passports in the recent years. The ISIE is NOT advertising enough for the necessity to register in order to be able to vote. Many irregularities have been pointed out inTunisia, France and Germany. InGermany, someone from the TROIKA is working at ISIE’s regional office and taking care of the voter registration! (See supporting articles below)
What: Help the NGO ATIDE and Civil Society by observing the egistrvoter ration process in the Tunisian Embassy in DC.
How: Send an email expressing your willingness to observe the voter registration to Sélima Dellagi Chaibi (firstname.lastname@example.org) or to Zied Jamoussi (email@example.com). ATIDE will take it from there and obtain you the authorization to observe voter registration from the ISIE.
When: Starting now till July 22nd, expiration date of the voter registration process
Frequency: Any effort is appreciated. Every day the whole period, one or 2 days per week or even a few hours per day
Background on ATIDE (Association tunisienne pour l’intégrité et la démocratie des élections): a very active Tunisian NGO. Its mission is to promote and enforce the transparency of the whole electoral process including the voter registration http://www.atide.org/
The Voter Education Committee
Mouna Ben Garga, TCC-ISIE Liaison
Amine Kallala, TCC, Program Director
***Let’s Exercise Our Constitutional Right***
The Electoral High Commission , ISIE, had opened a very short period for voters’ registration.
(Deadline: July 22, 2014).
Registration is VERY EASY! It takes less than 1/10th the length of a soccer match!Please follow this link to register ONLINE: https://touenssa.isie.tn/IsieInscriptionEtrg/login.xhtml
Only officially registered citizens will be able to VOTE and exercise their constitutional right.
If you encounter any problem with registration, please send your name and your passport number to our TCC-ISIE Liaison,
Mouna Ben Garga.
Time has come to show again how AWESOME of a nation we are!
The Voter Education Committee,
Mouna Ben Garga, TCC-ISIE Liaison firstname.lastname@example.org
Amine Kallala, TCC, Program Director email@example.com
Consistent with its mission of promoting the Tunsian-American friendship, our organization is proud to team up with PAX Program of Academic Exchange, an international high school exchange organization, to find an American family to host a student from Tunisia for a full academic year/semester (or shorter options for 6-8 weeks) while the student attends a local high school.