Thank you very much. Minister Ladhari, UTICA President Bouchamaoui, other distinguished guests – all of the Enactus team and most of all, all of the entrepreneurs in the crowd, good evening and “Saha Chribetkom.” That’s the only Arabic I am going to speak tonight. I promise. But, if I speak too long I will say “لن أُطيل عليكم”.
Allow me first to express my great pleasure in participating in the 7thedition of Enactus in Tunisia and in meeting such an enthusiastic group of students. And, actually, I am going to promote you all, you might still be called student but to me you are actually entrepreneurs already. And more importantly, to this guest of Tunisia I am looking right now in this room at the future of Tunisia. And if the passion and creativity that I see in the faces of the people in this room is any indication, then Tunisia has a bright future indeed.
Tunisia had made great progress in its transformation into an inclusive and functioning democracy. And I think you all know that the United States is fully committed to continuing to work closely with Tunisia to build on this success. We recognize that strengthening the Tunisian economy is going to be a critical element in this process, which is why, since 2011, assistance from the United States has totaled more than $750 million, with approximately half of that amount allocated to economic programs. U.S. support focuses on improving the Tunisian business climate to attract new investment, domestic and foreign, and create greater growth opportunities for firms currently already operating in Tunisia. Our assistance also focuses on creating jobs, promoting trade, bolstering Tunisia’s capacity to mitigate internal and external threats; and fostering inclusive economic growth and transparent governance and protecting human rights. All of these goals, however, require vibrant and healthy democratic institutions, respect for the importance of robust and open competition in politics and in business and a collaborative effort between the Unites States and Tunisia in order to be realized. And it is programs like Enactus which allow us to work together – not only government to government, but also public and private sectors – to tap into the entrepreneurial spirit and incredible drive that defines so many of Tunisia’s youth and enables them, enables you to find solutions to some of the country’s most pressing problems. Entrepreneurship, especially social entrepreneurship, can be a powerful tool to create jobs in Tunisia and address the social challenges facing this nation and facing the world. It is not always an easy road, but I commend all of you for your hard work and perseverance.
In closing, I would like to offer my special thanks and appreciation again to the famous Khaoula and all of the Enactus team, and I’d like to congratulate all of the aspiring entrepreneurs who participated in this event for their dedication to improving their country, to wish you all continued success in your future endeavors, and to leave you with one thought. The legendary management consultant Peter Drucker once said, “In every success story, you will find someone who has made a courageous decision.” He was telling us that success takes a spirit of adventure and an aptitude for bravery. It isn’t that the brave don’t have fears, it’s that they choose to move forward anyway. So, be brave, never quit, and try to make the world a better place.
Thank you very much.