The Tunisian-British Friendship Association (TBFA) held on Saturday, February 10, 2018, its first General Assembly, with attendance of former Tunisia’s ambassador to the United Kingdom Nabil Ammar and Country Director of the British Council in Tunis, Robert Ness.
TBFA President Hamida Mrabet who chaired the General Assembly works, said that the association along with it director members, who were also present at the gathering, strive to disseminate the culture of the English language learning in addition to the British culture.
The British culture is still missing among our Tunisian youth who are whether at schools or at the university, she added noting that our Tunisian educational system is overwhelmed by the French culture and la francophonie.
“Our association endeavours to the encouragement of the practice and mastering of the English language”, she went on saying.
Speaking about the theme of the meeting “Brexit and After”, Mrs. Hamida Mrabet focused on the impact of the Brexit on the bilateral relations between Tunisia and Britain not forcibly on the governmental level, but also on areas that concern the Tunisian-British Friendship Association.
Taking the floor, former Tunisian ambassador to the United Kingdom Nabil Ammar said that the Brexit is a lesson of humility and a mixture of economy and politics. It is difficult to predict exactly the impact of the Brexit not only in the UK but also in Europe he noted, describing the Brexit as a real earthquake in the real sense of the word that did not only shake Britain but also the world.
Nabil Ammar said that as far as Tunisia is concerned the Brexit is an opportunity to be seized. For the British officials, the Brexit is rather redeployment and tightening of the relations of non-European economic partners of the UK notably the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and mainly North Africa, (Tunisia), he underlined.
The British MPs took the initiative to sensitise the Tunisian side of their readiness to back up the progress of exchange in the post Brexit period notably in the agribusiness field, Nabil Ammar recalled. He said the Brexit presents an enormous gain for the Tunisian economy. Britain is an important market which is flexible and dynamic with great capacity of adaptation based on innovative High technology on top of which the service sector.
Mr. Robert Ness, Country Director of the British Council in Tunis made an overview of the difficult situation Britain is going through which according to him the UK is leaving the EU with no plan for the future because no one believed that the votes would lead to the Brexit.
Speaking about Education, Robert Ness said no one denies the policy of the internationalisation of the educational system in Britain. The number of overseas student is bigger than other countries in Europe, with Brexit or no, higher education in Britain is already international, which is something that happened over decades and as an integral part of the system, he went on saying.
In turn, Houda Slim, MP in the Tunisian House of People’s Representatives said that the new generations of Tunisian youth and even politicians and Mps, along with decision-makers have no idea about the English language and its culture, an attitude that leads to a total absence of any initiative to establish cooperation or business partnerships with Britain.
In this connection, she put in question the British interest in making relations with Tunisia due to its poor resources. The single motivation for moving bilateral cooperation forward is Tunisia’s closeness to strategic regions like Libya and Algeria which she describes as a gate to other countries. She placed emphasis on the need to rethink about looking at ways and means to establish real and fruitful cooperation relations.
Besides, Houda Slim noted that openness is needed not only with the United Kingdom but also with other English-speaking countries like the United States by means of exchanging students through non-governmental organisations and other international institutions.