My pick of the week is Ms. Aya Chebbi, Tunisian blogger born of the Arab-Spring.
The place was Kigali Rwanda. The event was Mo Ibrahim Governance Week-End April 2018. The session was about building a sound contract between citizens and public service providers by embedding accountability through monitoring mechanisms and strengthening ownership. From the panel rang a youthful but affirmative and determine voice which said
“ Our youth in the Diaspora are on top in all fields nourishing foreign economies because our governments let them go” On the same Panel sat, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (Former Minister of Finance, Nigeria, Akere Muna (Anti-Corruption activist, Cameroon) and Jay Naidoo (Founding Secretary COSATU, South Africa)
My pick of the week is Ms. Aya Chebbi, Tunisian blogger born of the Arab-Spring. Only Tunisia could produce such a vibrant youth who is a female. President Bourguiba a Tunisian Lawyer and Nationalist who was the first President of Tunisia made the emancipation of women one of the centre pieces of his policy. When the lid flew off the Ben Ali’s oppressive and dictatorial regime, during the 2011 revolution, the fire in the belly of Aya propelled her into prominence as a voice for democracy and she acquired global fame as a political blogger. She recently received 2019 Gates Foundation Campaign Award and was named in Forbes’ 50 Africa’s 50 Most Powerful Women.
She is an award-winning Pan-African feminist. She is the first ever African Union Special Envoy on Youth and the youngest diplomat at the African Union Commission Chairperson’s Cabinet.
She is the founder of multiple platforms such as Afrika Youth Movement (AYM), one of Africa’s largest Pan-African youth-led movements — Afresist, a youth leadership program and multimedia platform documenting youth work in Africa and — Youth Programme of Holistic Empowerment Mentoring (Y-PHEM) coaching the next generation to be positive change agents.
She served on the Board of Directors of CIVICUS, World Refugee Council, Oxfam Independent Commission on Sexual Misconduct, Women’s Alliance for Peace Advisory Board, Council of the Africa Public Health Foundation among others.
She was recognized in 2018 Apolitical World’s 100 Most Influential Young People in Government and 2016 among 100 Most Influential Young Africans in the World. She received multiple awards including 2018 Young Talent of the year by UNLEASH Festival, 2017 Pan-African Humanitarian Award by Pahawards and 2016 Inspirational Woman of the Year by Women4Africa Awards.
She is graduate of University of Tunis El Manar with bachelor’s in international Relations, Fulbright scholar at Georgia Southern University and Mo Ibrahim Foundation Scholar for her Masters in African Politics at SOAS, University of London. Chebbi’s extensive experience over the past decade made her an influential leading voice known for rebranding Africa and commitment to peacebuilding, gender equality and Africa’s integration.
Aya is henceforth a continental as well as a global player.
Almost a decade after her rise to prominence, in an op-ed she wrote about a year ago titled “Don’t You Dare Leave Us Behind” she writes:
Nearly 10 years have passed since the beginning of what we call the revolution of dignity, many of you refer to it as the ‘Arab spring’. I was a part of it. We were angry, we wanted a future where we could fulfil our potential. To break up old and entrenched structures limiting our potential, we, the young generation, realised that we needed to become leaders of our own development. Our struggle was also a struggle for voice as we did not see our views and hopes represented within our own governments. Even if the outcome and the progress of the protests vary from one country to another, there can be no doubt that the youth has changed the course of history.
What is particularly interesting, is that young women were powerful drivers of this movement. Their involvement went beyond direct participation in the protests. Be it as organizers, journalists or political activists – young women became the leading force in cyber-activism. Before I became a youth envoy of the African Union – I was one of these women. We seized the momentum to make our voices heard and our actions seen.”
Aya continues to soar. She is my pick of the week because she constitutes a source of inspiration for the you the and women. Her accomplishments are numerous and globally recognised. She inspires because as the saying goes, “ what you can see you can be”. Aya Chebbi, the lady with fire in her belly, what she has accomplished you can definitely see!