On December 24, 2014, the International School Network visited the Embassy of the Republic of Tunisia. Ambassador Mr. Farhad Khlif and the first Secretary, Mr. Boughanmi, welcomed us warmly.
Tunisia is the Northern most country in Africa, with four moderate seasons. Summer in the south is hot and dry, whereas on the coast, it is warm and moderate. Tunisia has various natural features, including mountains, plains, fertile land useful for agriculture, and Saharan desert land. Couscous is a staple food in Tunisia, often eaten with red sauce and vegetables. It has become a popular dish in France. Another popular Tunisian food is seafood, especially cooked fish, octopuses, and squids.
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We were served delicious pastries and mint tea at the embassy. Ears of the judge is a spiral-shaped, sesame and honey sweet. Makrouth is a small cake filled with date paste. These pastries are served in family gatherings, and at dinners during the Ramadan month in Tunisia. Kaak Warka is a round, white sweet, with a water rose scent. This treat is served at weddings and celebrations in Tunisia.
The arts and cultural values of Tunisia have had influences from several civilizations and cultures. Music in Tunisia have been influenced by Berber, European, and Arabic cultures. Mosaics, painting, wool carpets, and literature is a popular aspect of art. There was a painting in the embassy showing a woman in traditional clothing holding up birds. The painting symbolized freedom and peace of Tunisian women. Tunisian people value value the preservation of their environment as well as freedom and peace. Domestic animals in the country live freely and naturally in the streets, especially cats. The fennec is an animal symbolizing environmental preservation.
The country of Tunisia has been focusing on heightening their educational level and literacy rate after their independence. The people of Tunisia speak a Tunisian dialect of Arabic at their homes. At schools, they learn Standard Arabic, which is the official language of the country used in the government, French at age 5 or 8, and English at age 12. University students have exchange programs to universities in Japan.
Tunisia has a unique political system ever since changing its form of government to a constitutional republic. The Tunisian constitution of 2014 was adopted on 26th January 2014, after being approved by the National Constituent Assembly. This day opened new doors for democracy in the nation. This democratic transition became a good example for several the Arab countries. The Tunisian government is structured with the Prime Minister as the dominant leader in the government, who represents the elected party. The President also takes part in the government, given the responsibilities of security, foreign policy and defense of the nation.
The Tunisian Ambassador to Japan, His Excellency Mr. Farhad Khlif, kindly explained to us his mission and goals as an ambassador. First, he stated that his main mission was to further strengthen the relationship between Tunisia and Japan. Mr. Khlif continues to make an effort to promote Tunisia in Japan to increase Japanese tourists. He wishes to connect the people’s hearts and explore each other’s beautiful cultures.
(Reported by Madoka Nishina & Kate Shimizu)
Madoka Nishina 11th Saint Maur International School
Kate Shimizu 11th Seisen International School
Karen Nishina 5th Saint Maur International School
Haruka Shiga 5th Saint Maur International School