Visiting La Manouba University
By Mariam Salehi and Anne-Linda Amira Augustin
The Summer Academy’s first working day ended with a visit to the campus of La Manouba University, one of the partner institutions from Tunis. There, we had the chance to get to know more about the university and our second partner, the IRMC (Institut de Recherche sur le Maghreb Contemporain).
Karima Dirèche, director of the IRMC in Tunis, presented her institute, which is one of 27 French research institutes around the world, specializing in human and social sciences. Its work focuses on Tunisia, Algeria and Libya, and unites up to 50 researchers, from Master students to senior professors. It provides a point of contact for local and international researchers working on the Maghreb combining great expertise in the region with infrastructure like a well-equipped library.
La Manouba University was founded in 2000 and offers degrees on all academic levels, from Bachelor’s to PhD, to about 26 000 students, and a broad academic infrastructure with institutions spanning from Languages, Arts and Humanities over Agriculture to Biotechnology.
We were welcomed by the Dean of the Faculty for Languages, Arts and Humanities, Habib Kazdaghli. This faculty gained prominence in the winter of 2011/12 when the university was occupied by Salafists, preventing students and staff members from entering, bringing teaching activities to a halt. These events unfolded over a dispute about two female students who wanted to attend classes and also write exams wearing a Niqab, which was fully covering their faces and rendering them unrecognizable.
These events are well documented in “Salafists à la Manouba Tunisie” (Colin Tison, 2012).