Madame Bouchamaoui and University of Exeter academics

Nobel Peace Prize winner shares inspirational story of bringing democracy to Tunisia

Nobel Prize winner and influential African businesswoman Ouided Bouchamaoui spoke about her extraordinary role bringing democracy to Tunisia during a visit to the University of Exeter.

Madame Bouchamaoui is a member of the Tunisian Dialogue Quartet, a group awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2015 following the events of the Jasmine Revolution in the country in 2011.

Prior to this Madame Bouchamaoui enjoyed a prominent career in business, leading the Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade, and Handicrafts.

During her visit to the University of Exeter Madame Bouchamaoui met with postgraduate students from the Business School and Institute of Arabic and Islamic Studies and toured campus.

She also delivered a public lecture, which included a question and answer sesson led by Associate Professor Jonathan Githens-Mazer, Madame Bouchamaoui spoke about about her involvement in creating change in Tunisia, and the events that led-up to her award of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2015. She also discussed the current political situation in North Africa, and what the future holds for the region.

Professor Tim Quine, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education), said: “It was an honour to welcome Madame Bouchamaoui to the University of Exeter and fascinating to hear how she had created change. We are grateful she also gave time to meet our students, and we hope hearing about her career inspired them.”

Madame Bouchamaoui was the first woman President of UTICA, the Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts. The confederation was jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize with the Tunisian General Union of Labour, the League of Human Rights and the Tunisian Order of Lawyers.

She was awarded the “Best Business Woman of the Arab World” in 2013, under the auspices of the G8 Deauville Partnerships. In January 2015, the Tunisian President, Mr. Beji Caid Essebsi made her Grand Officer of the Order of the Republic, and His Majesty, King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, decorated her with the Royal Order of the Polar Star in November 2015. She also received the “Legion d’Honneur” from the French President François Hollande in December 2015. 

Madame Bouchamaoui is shareholder and director of the Hedi Bouchamaoui Group (HBG Holding) since 1988. She is also a founding member of the Connecting Group (Network of Women Leaders) and Vice-President of the United Nations' European Center for Peace and Development - University for Peace in Belgrade, and joined the Board Members of University of Peace of Costa Rica.

Date: 27 February 2019

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