For reasons of distance and language, prior to the arrival to Tunisia of the Peace Corps volunteers in the early 60′s and Amideast in the 70′s, there was not even an interest on the part of Tunisians to emigrate to the US. In the late 90′s, however, with the passage of the “Diversity Visa” law, the number of Tunisians in America started to grow, reaching around 8,000 by the late 90′s. In 1999, the idea of building a Tunisian-American community was born; an impossible task, considering the sparsity of the community and the size of the country. Fortunately, at that time, the Internet and high-tech telecommunication started to really grow and evolve.
So, the strategy was to build a virtual community that would, in time, be merged with the offline community.
By late 1999, way before Facebook, MySpace and Twitter, the TCC website was “the Cultural Home” for Tunisians in America. The modest website, with the help of several tech-savvy Tunisian volunteers over the years, became what is now a powerful, interactive Web presence. Over the years, in spite of always being seen thru a “political lens”, but thanks to steadfast leadership and many dedicated volunteers, the organization was able to inspire the formation of local chapters that operate autonomously, but carry out the mission of the organization by conducting community-based activities that promote cross-cultural literacy.
A secular and politically neutral, private, volunteer organization, the Tunisian Community Center is dedicated to community building, cultural outreach and promoting the enduring Tunisian American friendship. It is governed by a Board comprised of the founding directors and the regional coordinators. Based on the needs of the organization, additional members may be nominated to the Board of Directors by other Board members.
The Board of Directors is supported by an Advisory (Honorary) Committee made up of prominent individuals from Academia, Business, Politics and the Arts.
The Directors meet regularly in person, via teleconferencing and all forms of computer mediated communications.
The Tunisian Community Center extended its scope of actions by creating: