Marwa, 25, from Siliana, a small town in the north of Tunisia, has a bachelor in Public Law

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Marwa, 25, from Siliana, a small town in the north of Tunisia, has a bachelor in Public Law and is pursuing her Political Science master in the capital Tunis. She plans to establish a Youth Council in Siliana to increase the ways Youth in Tunisia can influence their present and future.

Good in Revolution, Bad in Policy.

Marwa, 25, from Siliana, a small town in the north of Tunisia, has a bachelor in Public Law and is pursuing her Political Science master in the capital Tunis. She plans to establish a Youth Council in Siliana to increase the ways Youth in Tunisia can influence their present and future.

Marwa, you are a young women, eager to have a voice to shape your country. When did you start to be active?

It was during the revolution. I saw that if young people really wanted to achieve something, they are able to, if they act together. Sadly, many old people remained in politics and shape the future of all of us, not really listening to the youth. The result is that the interest of youngsters in politics and so their participation decreased.

How did it happen that you are in favour of Youth Councils?

In a project I met a leader of a German Youth Council and was very inspired by the idea. It enabled youngsters to be part of the local decision-making process, not necessarily in the framework of established parties.

What’s wrong with parties?

Nothing. But it is not everyone’s thing to be active in parties. Other ways of influence should be explored and introduced. Youth Councils could be one of these new ways. The Councils could do activities with pupils and students on politics and civic activism. Additionally Youth Councils could play a role in improving the political culture in Tunisia, as a ground where potential future politicians could learn political skills.

And that’s what they need, they don’t know how to do politics, the daily business.

This sounds quite ambitious!

Indeed, it is, but I want a better, more skillful political class that can serve the people better.

How far along are you with the establishment of a Youth Council in Siliana?

Unfortunately not far, the process of establishing a Youth Council is quite long and complicated, as it is a new phenomenon for Tunisia. People do not really understand what it is, what role it can play.

What do you have to do for it?

You have to have an organization to which this Council would be connected to. I did not find a proper one yet, eventually if I won’t find one I will have to create one by myself.

Alone?

Of course not, I have already gathered some people who at least support the idea of Youth Councils. Others, connected to parties, want to make their party the centre, not the Council. For me this is wrong, especially now, where the stakes are high for our country. We need everybody, especially the youth.

You are then in need of more supporters?

The amount is not that important, but rather the quality of their involvement. Selfish goals should step aside and they should be convinced of democracy and the idea of Youth Councils.

Do you have support from the municipality?

Yes, the deputy mayor assured me that if I gather a good team, we will get help. But elections will be in March 2018 and I am not sure if the attitude won’t change.

Will we see a Youth Council in one year from now?

Of course! I believe in it. We must remain motivated even if our way is full of rocks!

Photo: Marwa first of the left side, convincing young people.

Interview held by Michael Różycki, 32, National Movement researcher. Photo by Ingo Zahlheimer.

Awarded as the most political interview in 2017 in the project „Teaching Political Tools to Young People“.

Comment
Awarded as the most political interview in 2017 in the project „Teaching Political Tools to Young People“.

Comment

When Marwa had asked me what she could improve, I checked the interview and was surprised: I found nothing to improve. The issue is very specific and it’s also described how to establish a Youth Council. There are details which you can only know if you are deeply involved („You have to have an organization to which this Council would be connected to“). At the end of the interview Marwa motivates us: „We must remain motivated even if our way is full of rocks!“

Great, no more questions. You feel Marwa’s enthusiasm and you keep your fingers crossed. Comment by Claus Sixt

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