Dean Merit E. Janow of SIPA and foundation president Olfa Terras Rambourg made the announcement at a January 12 ceremony in the International Affairs Building. They were joined by Dr. Moumni Ridha, cultural and scientific adviser to the Rambourg Foundation, and 20 guests including foundation officials and Columbia and SIPA faculty and staff.
“This is a marvelous opportunity for SIPA and Columbia University to deepen our ties with both Tunisia and the region," said Janow. “This will allow us to bring talented Tunisian young people to our campus and contribute to the future of the country.
The gift comes at a time when Tunisia’s profile at Columbia is rising: The University is taking steps to establish a Columbia Global Center in Tunis, the nation’s capital and largest city. In addition, Professor Safwan M. Masri—the University’s executive vice president for Columbia Global Centers and global development—will be teaching a short course this semester that explores the themes of his recently published book, Tunisia: An Arab Anomaly.
“We want to start a vigorous conversation on our campus and more broadly about the example of Tunisia, what it means and how it might go forward," Janow said.
Observing that the foundation is already supporting Tunisian students in medicine and technology, Rambourg said she was pleased to add support for students of international and public affairs—a subject close to her heart.
“We are honored to form this partnership with Columbia,” Rambourg said. “As Tunisia reinvents itself, today more than ever it needs young leaders who can think outside the box, think globally, and design new public policy for the country moving forward.
“I couldn't think of a better place than SIPA to help them achieve that," she added.