2016 Recipient, International Award for Promoting Gandhian Values Outside India
Tunisia’s model of inclusiveness, dialogue and compromise sends an important message – it sends a message to Tunisian society that despite our differences, we can always overcome divisions. It also sends a message to some of our neighbors that coexistence is always possible, if we have the will and commitment to make it happen. Tunisia still has a long way to go today. We urgently need to create opportunity and hope for our young people, through providing jobs and ensuring a decent quality of life. We need to build infrastructure and provide services that overcome decades of regional inequalities in previously neglected regions. We need to counter corruption and strengthen our democratic institutions to ensure they are effective. Citizens, and particularly youth, in poorer areas must be able to see that democracy has brought tangible improvements to their lives. I am happy to say that, since the revolution, India has played a big role in supporting Tunisia’s capacity building programs – especially in voter registration, freedom of expression and information, civic and political engagement of women, media training and human rights. We thank you for that support and hope we can continue to count on it. The youth in our region must see that democracy can indeed be the solution to their problems and can succeed in their part of the world – that democracy, not dictatorship or extremism, are the long-term solutions to building a better future. The Tunisian experiment must succeed, for the sake of our region and the world.
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