On the beautiful fall evening of Thursday, November 2, 2017, his Excellency Ambassador Faycal Gouia opened his beautiful home to nearly 50 delighted AAFSW members and their guests. On his second tour as the Ambassador of Tunisia to the United States, Ambassador Gouia was eager to let us know all about the great relationship fostered between the USA and Tunisia!
Located in upper Northwest Washington DC, in a secluded wooded area, the residence’s architecture and furnishings felt as if we had been transported on a magic carpet to the very country of Tunisia itself.
The reception unfolded flawlessly starting with a lovely cocktail on the terrace where guests got to mingle and enjoy the mild weather. Ambassador Gouia then invited our AAFSW Members, friends, and guests to join him in the spacious reception area for an introduction and some background history of Tunisia.
His Excellency thanked our AAFSW Program Chair and AAFSW Foreign Born Spouse State Liaison, Sheila Switzer, for organizing this event and for being a great friend. Then, the Ambassador shared with all of us his love for his culture and his respect for his country: “Tunisia is a nation characterized by exceptional tolerance and hospitality influenced by diverse neighboring civilizations over the centuries, including the Phoenician, Roman, Berber, Byzantine, Arab, Turkish, and French, which have all shaped the culture and character of Tunisians.” Ambassador Gouia reiterated how much his countrymen value the special relationship with the United States, and the support of the latter during the peaceful transition towards democracy and freedom called the Jasmine Revolution.
He further explained the Jasmine Revolution, a popular uprising in Tunisia, and a protest against corruption, poverty, and political repression, which forced President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali to step down in January 2011. The success of the uprising, which came to be known in the media as the “Jasmine Revolution,” inspired a wave of similar protests throughout the Middle East and North Africa. As a great diplomat, he also acknowledged other foreign-born guests and the great contributions of their countries to Tunisia in French and Arabic. Questions and comments followed with great enthusiasm from the guests.
The guests were then treated to a delicious couscous dinner, one of the staple foods of the Maghreb (western North Africa), which was offered together with succulent lamb slowly cooked to perfection, babaganush, and fresh tomato salad. The dessert included rosemary baklava and fresh fruits. All the guests were sorry to see the evening end.
Celine Erickson and Diana Seasonwein
AAFSW Members and Volunteers