Exploring Tunisia, with Journalist Hatem Bourial
This unique tour of Tunisia provides an opportunity to learn of the country's vast historical sites and Mediterranean culture, and also provides an insider’s look at what has transpired since the Arab Spring. We meet with political activists representing a variety of the parties, and leaders from an NGO (non-governmental organization) and attend a briefing from the U.S. Embassy staff. Speak with one of Tunisia’s media personalities and learn about the changes resulting in a free and burgeoning media. We also meet young people who played a role in the January 2011 Revolution, and meet with leaders of Tunisia’s vibrant civil society.
Visit Tunis the capital city with its elaborate medina and ville nouvelle. Experience Carthage, including the tophets, the port, Antonine’s baths and Byrsa Hill. Discover Sidi Bou Said, a picturesque town, whose architecture was inspired by its many Andalusian settlers following their expulsion from Spain. Visit the Bardo Museum, which has a world-class collection of mosaics. Tour Dougga, Tunisia’s most expansive site. Covering some sixty acres, Dougga was known as the city of temples and its existence is thought to date back to the 4th century B.C. See central Tunisia’s rich farming region and visit El Jem, known in Roman times as Thysdrus and noted for its amphitheater, which is similar to the coliseum of Rome. See Kairouan’s Great Mosque, dating from -the 7th century, and reputed to be the oldest mosque in Africa. Visit the ksour region and the area of Matmata where crater-like topography is dotted with troglodyte dwellings. Its exotic settings provided one of the film locations for the movie, Star Wars. Finally, relax in the seaside resort of Jerba and meet with an ancient Jewish community there. Throughout, enjoy a meals in private homes and top restaurants.
Leading this tour will be Hatem Bourial, a well-known figure in Tunisia's world of culture and the press. Over the years, he has worked for many Tunisian and international papers. He is the author of nine books, a weekly columnist for Tunis-Hebdo (a Tunisia-French weekly), editor of many independent news magazines and a frequent commentator on Tunisia’s radio and television, discussing far ranging topics from culture, history and literature. Hatem’s keen sense of Tunisian politics and his familiarity with many of the personalities involved, will underscore his insightful analysis of Tunisia’s upcoming elections.
Joining this tour at various points will be Jerry Sorkin, a specialist in Middle East and North Africa politics and tourism. He resides more than 70% of the year in Tunisia. Jerry’s involvement with Tunisia dates back some thirty years, with recent projects in post-Revolution Tunisia including both university and adult programs on democratization, civil society and entrepreneurial micro-tourism concepts. Jerry served as a consultant for the World Bank and was among the authors of their 2012 report on restructuring the tourism economy of Tunisia. Since the fall of 2012, he has recently taken on the role as Director of George Washington University’s International Institute of Tourism Studies Tunisia program on, “Innovative Tourism Concepts” at The Institute of Higher Technological Studies (ISET) in Djerba, Tunisia. Jerry Sorkin has been acting as the International Consultant in Sustainable Development. In collaboration with the Tunisian Association for Management and Social Stability, a Tunisian NGO, having co-drafted the final version of a 4.3 million Euro project funded by the EU. Jerry Sorkin serves as a consultant on this project’s Tunisia program. Conde Nast Traveler magazine named Jerry Sorkin as one of their "Top Travel Specialists" for the fifth year in a row. Jerry earned both his undergraduate and graduate degrees at the University of Pennsylvania, specializing in Middle East Studies and International Business, respectively, and is conversant in Arabic and French.