Global Shapers Tunis Hub

April 24, 2019 Scott Fletcher Bowlsby
August 14, 2017 mattgordner
August 9, 2017 mattgordner

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Mission and Purpose

The Global Shapers Community is “a network of Hubs developed and led by young people who are exceptional in their potential, their achievements and their drive to make a contribution to their communities” (Global Shapers World Economic Forum website).

The Global Shapers Tunis Hub Charter is an ambitious document that lays the groundwork for the Hub’s activities. According to the Charter, the Hub’s mission is to: “Articulate a compelling vision for Sustainable Competitiveness (a development model that balances economic prosperity, environmental stewardship and social responsibility) in Tunisia, and help translate that vision into concrete and actionable projects and results.” The GSTH ‘” envision[s] a Tunisia where citizens are aware of their high potential to be an asset to society and believe in a society that encourages creative thinking, innovative ideas, productive partnerships and efficient problem solving.” The ‘Values’ section of the charter stipulates that: “Among us are superstars, humble geniuses, innovative entrepreneurs, and inspiring artists, each from different parts of the city with impressively varied personal and professional backgrounds. We believe that it is with this diversity that we will ensure we have a positive impact in our country and that we operate in a core set of values of which we prioritize transparency, inclusiveness, creativity, professionalism and sustainability.” Section ‘b’ of the ‘Behavior’ section notes: “All Global Shapers will work and act to improve the state of the world.” 

Origins and Development

The Global Shapers is “an initiative of the World Economic Forum” (WEF) (Global Shapers website). To date, there are 438 hubs and 5574 active members worldwise. 

Conceived and implemented initially in Western Europe, by 2012 the Tunis hub was among the first worldwide to gain full operation and implementation. At the time, each hub was responsible for establishing its own system of governance and programming. The GSTH was considered exemplary in the frequency of its meetings, the cohesiveness of its initial cohort, and its outreach and programming such that, along with the London hub, the WEF featured the GSTH as a model in its first promotional video. According to Nadia Boulifa, the GSTH Founding Curator, the Tunisia Hub was frequently asked to participate in events in order to lend its expertise to other hubs in the incipient years of the Global Shapers program.

Since its inception, the GSTH has identified a number of themes specific to Tunisia’s political transition. In 2011-2012, these included social business, citizenship, and culture. After 2012, the GSTH identified economic prosperity, environmental stewardship, and social sustainability as overarching concerns to which GSTH projects would cohere. However, recent GSTH projects extend to the role of youth in fighting corruption, and gender and women’s rights. 

Organizational Structure, Membership, and Funding

While applications are accepted year-round, recruitment membership typically occurs between June and August. New recruits enter into a probationary period of six months, and the executive board makes a final decision based on the entrant’s performance in accordance with the Charter.

According to the GSTH Charter, in order to be eligible to apply, applicants:

  • Must be 20-30 years old at the time of application;
  • Be residents of the Greater Tunis Area and have significant ties to Tunis that would enable them to fully participate in the Community’s activities;
  • Commit to regularly engage in the Hub’s physical and virtual activities throughout the year;
  • Are expected to have already demonstrated their creativity and ability to contribute to the Tunis Hub and the Global Shaper Community at large. (Global Shapers Tunis Hub Charter)

The first generation of Tunisian Global Shapers held meetings according to project aims and recruitment requirements. The subsequent generation codified a structure for the organization and its meetings in the Charter as follows. The Tunis Hub’s executive board maintains administrative tasks, including the association’s status and activities with the World Economic Forum as well as its financial account. Formal positions are allocated based on the needs of the hub according to its ongoing and newly conceived activities. Activities are classified into two axes: those related to the management of the hub, and those related to specific projects.

Meetings are divided into four areas: general meetings, projects meetings, executive board meetings, and curatorship meetings. General meetings are open to all Global Shapers. They are held every month independently from the hub’s activities. Projects meetings occur between members related to a given project. Other Global Shapers are also welcome to participate. Executive board meetings occur between members of the board exclusively. Curatorship meetings occur annually in July-August as an “initiation party” for the new recruits. At this meeting, the new creator is afforded the opportunity to present plans for upcoming meetings for the year. According to the Charter, “The shapers should democratically vote for a new Curator and incoming Curator every year in Mar[ch]. The vote is conducted online and ALL shapers MUST participate” (emphasis in the original).

According to the Charter, amendments are forwarded to the Curator via email, and the Curator must raise the amendment at the following general meeting so long as the email is received one week prior to the meeting. The proposed amendment is debated and voted upon so long as a 60% quorum is achieved. Amendments require the agreement of 80% of Global Shapers present at the meeting. Members who are not physically present in the meeting are not eligible to vote, thought they may submit “opinions” prior to the meeting. Probationary Global Shapers are ineligible to vote. 

Funding and Support

A not-for-profit organization registered in Switzerland, Klaus Schwab, the WEF’s founder and executive chairman, founded the organization in 2011. A Global Shapers Foundation Board that includes notable political and economic elites runs the organization. Partnering entities, which contribute funding to select local hubs’ initiatives, and to conferences and other Global Shapers events, include: Salesforce, The Coca Cola Company, Reliance Industries, Adecco, CJSC Ulmart, Crescent Petroleum, GMR Group, Hanwha Energy, MiSK, and Vision 3. Finally, funding comes in the form of membership dues as all shapers must pay the yearly fee of 50 Tunisian Dinars for students or 100 Tunisian Dinars for professionals. 

Specializations, Methods and Tools

The GSTH specializes in the organization and implementation of both large- and small-scale, global and local participatory events. Their work involves the use of numerous methods of engagement including multi-stakeholder meetings, participatory and civic education, participatory arts, community health care and online and digital outreach. Many of their activities are carried out in partnership with other organizations such as their youth deliberations and social forums during the World Economic Forum's Shaping Davos Series.

Major Projects and Events

The Hub has executed projects, co-organized, and held a number of events with considerable community outreach and public exposure. The first program implemented by the GSTH, hosted in June 2012, identified the need to bring back the oral tradition of folkloric storytelling and promoting Tunisian culture. In addition to a storyteller and live music, the project involved bringing donated books as a way to promote “libraries on wheels.”

Another program implemented in 2012 aimed to help an educational program to move from a business model based on grants and donations to a social business capable of generating its own independent revenue stream. The program, La Ferme Thérapeutique de Sidi Thabet, serves as both a full-time educational facility to Tunisian youth with physical and mental disabilities, as well as a working farm that sells its products locally. The program reaches over 100 youths ages 8 to 33 and employs 40 members of staff who provide traditional schooling, vocational training, and emotional and physical therapy to students. The ultimate goal of the program is to help the children acquire the skills to become independent and find gainful employment after ‘graduation’. While falling short of transitioning the project to a fully sustainable business model, the GSTH was successful in contributing to a review of the branding, communication, and marketing strategies, including the association’s packaging, products, and the identification of new distribution channels. The GSTH also contributed to the educational component, helping La Ferme with its pedagogical and employment services by aiding in the recruitment and training of interns, psychology students, and licensed professionals.

On December 6, 2012, The World Economic Forum (WEF) organized a roundtable entitled: “Advancing Tunisia’s Economic Transition.” The event brought together members of the Tunisian government, foreign investors, local businesspeople, and the Global Shapers Tunis Hub. The roundtables were featured around a number of themes, including Tunisia’s political transition and imperatives for short and long-term governance, competitiveness, youth employment, managing risks and securing investments, and building institutions for effective governance. These included also the challenges posed by corruption.

On March 13, 2013, The African Development Bank and Yunus Social Business organized a conference in Tunisia on social business awareness to address unemployment in the country. The GSTH sat on the organizing committee.

The GSTH held a number of events in concert with the Shaping Davos Series. Shaping Davos is a yearly event organized by selected Global Shapers hubs from around the world to pair with the World Economic Davos meeting, which brings together influential political and economic elites to address local issues. The outcomes of the events are shared with the global community. The 2013 WEF conference on investment in Tunisian ran in parallel to a conference on sustainable competitiveness organized by the Global Shapers. The WEF conference was important because the forum framed the thinking that the WEF adopted and applied as a worldwide index, which included social inclusiveness and environmental sustainability in its metrics. The GSTH roundtable became a key opportunity for shapers to build business community ties and gain support for individual members’ future projects and events both within the GSTH and independent from it.

On January 19, 2015 the GSTH hosted the event “Making Governments Younger” which included a public debate on the motion: “Tunisian youth are ready to be in power.” Government representatives, civil society organizations, and media personalities debated the motion in front of a live audience as part of the Shaping Davos local series. Also as part of the Shaping Davos local series, on January 25, 2015, the GSTH organized an event on youth and political participation under the theme ‘Rethinking and transforming politics through discussing old practices and promoting new approaches to boost youth political participation.’ Most recently, on 17 January, 2017, the Shaping Davos theme addressed the topic: “Corruption, Accountability and the Rule of Law.” The GSTH organized a dialogue session entitled “What Role does Tunisian Youth Play in Fighting Corruption?” that once more brought together civil society organizations, representatives of government, and private stakeholders to discuss and debate these themes.

The Global shapers are frequently invited to take part in WEF meetings in order to represent Tunisian youth and share the Tunisian experience with international leaders and experts during forums, discussions, and formal dinners. Four members of the GSTH attended the WEF MENA in 2014. One member of the GSTH attended WEF Africa conference in 2016, and two members of the GTSH attended the 2017 WEF MENA conference. 

See Also

Participatory Education

Participatory Arts

Civic Education

Community Health Care


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“AfDB and Muhammad Yunus launch social business awareness in Tunisia,”

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External Links 


Lead image: Global Shapers Tunis/Facebook,