The true power of AEGEE is bringing people from different backgrounds together, make them question their knowledge – and change their attitudes, turning them into greater people. One of the best current activities in AEGEE is the EuroArab project, which gives the members a completely new perspective on the world. From 11th till 18th of May, 16 AEGEE members visited Tunisia in the framework of this project, to get to know country and culture, people and society – and to understand the region like no tourist can. It was a huge success, as main coordinator Mariem Ben Ltaifa told the Golden Times.

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Mariem Ben Ltaifa

Golden Times: How was your event?
Mariem Ben Ltaifa: The event was amazing, since the beginning of the project the 16 participants have shown a big excitement and willingness to discover Tunisia and get more involved into the programme. For most of them it was the first time that they travelled beyond Europe.

Golden Times: What were the programme highlights?
Mariem: The highlights were: discussions and round tables with organizations from Tunisia and talk about the youth work situation; visits to museums, mosques and historical sites; activities and presentations by professionals about Tunisian culture and Islamic history; and finally visits to a women NGO and an overview about women empowering in Tunisia.

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The lucky participants and organisers of the event

Golden Times: The EuroArab night was one of the earliest programme items. How was it?
Mariem: The EuroArab Intercultural night was outstanding! Many different tastes from all over Europe and music, dancing, food and costumes from Tunisia made us discover, in an informal way, that regardless our origins, we are similar in a very surprising way. In addition, it was a good start for the project since it served for the ice-breaking between the participants that cooperated together in preparing food and the decoration. We had also a cooking activity before it, which improved the team building process.

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The participants learnt a lot on all levels…

Golden Times: What was the feedback of the participants regarding the programme?
Mariem: The participants enjoyed the activities that were very diverse, such as workshops, visits and sightseeing. The point was to introduce the Tunisian traditions and modernity in a way that matches with the EuroArab Project aims – which is mainly to break stereotypes and prejudices. That was insured by the activities that focused on the similarity between both sides on many levels.

Golden Times: Do you have the feelings that some stereotypes were broken?
Mariem: Certainly! In fact, during the activities, many participants didn’t just stop at what was presented, but were stimulated to reflect more on the reasons that made us all have these stereotypes. They tried to find solutions in order to avoid them and to deny the existing ones, each in his environment. I believe that many stereotypes were broken, especially about women issues and religious issues. In fact, many participants are applying for the event “EuroArab Goes to Algeria”, because – as they said – they enjoyed the Tunisian experience so much and they are looking for more!

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…and they saw a spectacular country

Golden Times: Which particular programme highlight did you personally enjoy most?
Mariem: Personally, the filming activity, it was about having interviews with local people in the streets of Tunis, to seek their point of view about the youth situation, challenges, perspectives and future visions. During this, what I call a fruitful activity, participants in each group cooperated together in order to realize the videos, from preparing the questions, places to go and translations in different languages. This strengthened the solidarity among them, made them rely more on each other and enhanced especially the team spirit. When we finally watched the great videos that have been made, we realized that together we can achieve more! And maybe this would be a start for new initiatives.

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Great dinner in a Tunisian restaurant

Golden Times: Do you recommend that this event should be repeated or that there should be more events like this?
Mariem: I would recommend it so much! It is such an enriching experience, to go beyond what you hear and look out yourself. It is a good opportunity to wonder why we focus on our differences that creates problems while we have a lot of similarities that would guarantee the tolerance and acceptance for the others and create a peaceful environment. Last but not least, I’d like to thank very much our main partner “Agence Tunisienne de la Formation Professionnelle” that helped us to realize this amazing project! And special thanks to our organization “Club Culturel Ali Belhouane – Tunis”! None of this success would have been possible without their cooperation and enthusiasm. Thank you!

Check out the Facebook page of the EuroArab project to get info on future events: