Wednesday, July 28, 2010

List of Topics for Upcoming English Conversation Hours

July 29: Your Personal Life Journey (exercise/discussion)

August 3: Arab Hypocrisy in World Affairs? (article discussion)

August 5: Whose Line is it Anyway? - The Dating Game (fun game to practice English)

August 10: Surprise Topic

Volunteering Meeting at 2:30PM TOMORROW (Thursday, July 29) at the AC

Ikram Ben Said from Amal Association will be coming. We will be working out an exact program and schedule of our volunteering efforts. By the end of the meeting, my goal is to have her approve of our volunteer plans and set a date for us to visit the Amal Association and start volunteering as soon as possible.

This meeting will start after our regular English conversation hour ends. All are invited to attend.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Terana Opportunity

Anyone who is in a civil society organization who is interested in receiving some training from the NGO Soliya regarding its new Terana initiative, please let me know. I can nominate you. What is it all about? Read below:

Through a competitive process, Soliya will select participants for its Terana training program from among the representatives nominated by participating non-government and civil society organizations in the Middle East and North Africa region. Individuals who are selected to participate will receive training in the following areas:

-Building an online community
-Leveraging websites, blogs, and social networks for civic activism and engagement
-Digital film production
-Mobile generation and uploading of audio and video content
-Facilitation and community engagement
-Methods of informing civil society using technology

In addition, participants will have access to a community of their peers around the world, and will be provided with opportunities to share best practices - and seek advice - from other members. Soliya will also provide platforms for participating organizations to share their perspectives and the media created by their representatives through partnerships with traditional and new media companies.

More information on Terana and Soliya can be found here:

Volunteering at Amal Delayed

For those of you who were interested in volunteering with the Amal Association, we had discussed starting this Saturday. However, after speaking with the Association, they asked us to postpone visiting them by at least 2 weeks because the safe house is going through a disinfection for the next 2 weekends. They are stil...l interested in having us come, however, as soon as the situation allows.

I will be in touch with them and will let you know when our next meeting for volunteering will be. I will send that information via an event invite on Facebook or by updating this blog, so please look out for upcoming meeting invites over the next 2 weeks.

In the mean time, we will see if we can organize smaller volunteer activities in the next 2 weeks. Please check this blog or Facebook for updates on other potential volunteer activities. Thank you!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Guest Speaker at AC: Zora Radosevich

Hello, everyone! We have a special English conversation hour this Thursday, July 22.

Zora Radosevich will be coming from the USA to speak to the AC about one of the following topics:

1) Women's empowerment
2) NGO management: fundraising, buliding coalitions, networking
3) Social Activism: powermapping, negotiation, conflict-solving

We will be voting at the English conversation hour on Thursday about which topic most interests people, and based on people's preference, Ms. Radosevich will conduct a lecture and workshop on that subject.

For more information on Zora's background, you can read this:

This promises to be an exciting and interesting event, so please be there!

Ravi Kaneriya
AC Coordinator

Friday, July 16, 2010

Women's Empowerment Conference Invitation

Attention interested AC members. Achref Aouadi, from the university club Student 2 Student (S2S) has a conference that it would like to invite interested individuals to attend. Here is a message from Achref about the event:

"S2S is pleased to invite you to a conference on Wednesday July 21, at 10 a.m in the U.S embassy (berges du lac).The conference is given to you by Mrs Zora Radosevich an American lecturer.The theme of the confrence is "Women Empowerment".So those interested in participating So please send me a message on facebook or an email at

Please notice that a priority is given to women to attend this conference in case there are no more places.DON'T FORGET TO BRING YOUR IDs WITH YOU TO THE EMBASSY.
Stay Tuned to the rest of the events.

Deadline Sunday."

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Donate Blood to Safe the Life of a Friend of Someone at the AC

This is unrelated to the American Corner, but one of our members, Asma Youssef, needs someone to donate blood to save the life of her friend. Here is the message she would like to relay to everyone:

"Hi everyone,

I have a friend with leukemia whose in need of platelets. So if anyone could volunteer by donating platelets then that would be great.

For those who wish to donate you can go to the blood bank in Beb Saadoun and ask for platelets donation in the register counter then they'll tell you what you have to do.

please feel free to send me a private message if you need any more information.

-Thank you"

If you can help her, please follow her instructions, and if you would like to get in touch with her directly, you can contact her through Facebook or post a comment here for her to repond to. Thank you.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Meeting this Saturday at 10AM for Summer Service Initiative Planning

Hello, everyone! We had an extremely successful meeting today with the representatives from the Amal Association. We had around 34 people in attendance (which is unprecedented for the summer!), and roughly 66% of those in attendance stayed behind for the post-meeting discussion on how to volunteer themselves.

The next step is for those who are interested in volunteering with Amal to meet to discuss how specifically we can help them and what sorts of projects people want to tackle for the Amal Association. The time and place for that meeting will be:

10AM this Saturday (July 17) at the American Corner

Thanks again for all your enthusiasm, and I hope to see many of you this Saturday to further refine our volunteer plans.

And it's so great that so many of you are motivated to give up time on your weekends to do something as important and meaningful as helping disadvantaged women and children at Amal. Thanks for your contribution and dedication!

Monday, July 12, 2010

What's New at the American Corner?

Despite the summer break from universities, the American Corner (AC) is still active and seeing strong attendance by patrons. We are working on a variety of projects and initiatives to engage our patrons and enhance their experience at the AC. What can you look forward to at the American Corner:

- Great speakers: We have the following speakers already confirmed:

July 13: Ikram Ben Said from the Amal Association for Single Mothers

July 20: Laura Byergo from the State Department will discuss the subject of summer jobs (not providing jobs, just discussing the topic of summer jobs)

Sometime between August and October: Edith Laszlo from the African Development Bank, Alex Severens from the US Treasury Department, and Faiza Abdul Wahab, the daughter of a Tunisian WWII hero

Other speakers who we are trying to bring to the AC: Keith Ellison (the first Muslim Congressman in the USA), Farah Pandith (Hillary Clinton's Special Representative to the Muslim World), and hopefully many more!

Other developments at the AC:

- We are in the process of ordering a whole new collection of books and films, including many recent new releases

- We are organizing the American Corner Summer Service Initiative where local Tunisians and expats can get together and volunteer on projects in the Tunis area. Our key project this summer will be volunteering with the Amal Association for Single Mothers.

- We are working on a partnership with an NGO called Soliya, which is affliated with the UN Alliance of Civilizations. Soliya helps facilitate discussions on cultural, social, political, media, and current events issues between students in the Arab world and students in the US and Europe over the medium of the Internet. The AC is looking into the possibility of partnering with Soliya in order to integrate its Web-based cross-cultural dialogue sessions into some of the AC's weekly English conversation hours. We hope that this will give AC visitors the opportunity to practice their English with native speakers while simulateously enhancing mutual understanding across cultures and allowing students to form relationships with peers in Europe and the Unites States.

American Corner Summer Service Initiative Announcement

Hello everyone,

After 2 meetings this week with interested individuals to discuss AC-organized volunteer efforts, here is what was agreed on:

1) The best times to volunteer were Saturday or Sunday.

2) We will focus on just 1 (maybe 2) organizations to work with so that we can make a sustained commitment and maximize the positive and lasting impact of our efforts.

3) After looking at several different organizations to work with, interested individuals voted for the one they would prefer to work with most of all. The organization that won this vote was the Amal Association for Single Mothers, which operates a safe house in Tunis for women who have had children out of wedlock and are now shunned by their families and communities and need a safe haven. Amal Association needs volunteers in a variety of different capacities, including teaching basic literacy to the women, providing business and skills training so that women can get on their own 2 feet after they leave the safe house, doing games and activities with the women to build their self-confidence and help them feel normal again, and babysit and play with the women's children.

VERY IMPORTANT: This Tuesday (7/13/2010), Ikram Ben Said, a representative of Amal will be coming to the American Corner at 1:30PM (the time of the English conversation hour). She will be there to talk about her work, talk to us more about ways volunteers can help the Amal Association. If you are interested in volunteering, I would strongly urge you to attend this conversation hour.

Even if you missed past meetings, you can still get involved and come this Tuesday. I hope that many of you will have a chance to attend.

Ravi Kaneriya
American Corner Coordinator