Amira Yahyaoui has worked tirelessly to promote human rights in Tunisia. By following in her father’s footsteps, she has taken an active role in Tunisian civil society. Because of her family’s activism, Yahyaoui was forced to flee Tunisia as a teenager. After the Tunisian revolution, Yahyaoui returned to her homeland and has continued to promote government transparency and accountability. She founded Al Bawsala, an award-winning NGO that monitors the Tunisian legislative process and advocates for individual freedoms.

“I try to understand why someone can be against something as beautiful as freedom of expression or gender equality.”

Yahyaoui notes the important role of women in the Tunisian revolution and the Arab Spring, a sign of increasing gender equality in the region. Yahyaoui’s work continues to advance Tunisian women’s fundamental rights. As part of her efforts with Al Bawsala, Yahyaoui lobbied for including gender equality as one of the provisions in the new Tunisian constitution.

“Take off this idea that liberty and security can’t work together, and think that liberty and security are essential to each other.”

Yahyaoui hopes that young professionals will increasingly view involvement in civil society as both essential to democracy and important to a young person’s career, and she is proud to continue working to empower voters and promote human rights in Tunisia.

Watch our interview with Amira Yahyaoui as part of the Profiles in Peace: Oral Histories Project  here:

Contributors include Nerea Cal, Mara D’Amico, Laura Fairman and Chandini Jha.