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'Quartet' Member: Nobel Peace Prize Is 'Very Important For Tunisia'

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

And we're going to hear now from one of the other leaders of Tunisia's National Dialogue Quartet. Her name is Wided Bouchamaoui. She's president of the Tunisian employers union, and she joins us from Tunis.

Welcome to the program and congratulations.

WIDED BOUCHAMAOUI: Thank you very much.

MCEVERS: Can you tell us where you were when you got the phone call from the Nobel committee?

BOUCHAMAOUI: I was in my office this morning. I was working in my office.

MCEVERS: And what was your reaction?

BOUCHAMAOUI: I was very happy of course. I was happy. It was a very great moment because there were many candidates and it's something very important for my country, for Tunisia. So it's - I mean, very great.

MCEVERS: We just heard the story of how this quartet was able to keep Tunisia together, basically, after these assassinations in 2013. Can you tell us how these four groups came together?

BOUCHAMAOUI: After the second assassination in Tunisia, we met together and we said, we have to do something for our country, we have to avoid violence and we have to be together.

MCEVERS: You had to avoid the violence, you said.

BOUCHAMAOUI: Yes, of course. Yes. So people, they trust in what was written by the quartet. And from this moment, we began the dialogue, national dialogue.

MCEVERS: One wonders what would have happened to the revolution had there not been civil society organizations like yours.

BOUCHAMAOUI: You know, here in Tunisia, we have a very strong civil society and we have very well-educated people. And thanks to this civil society, particular to us, this civil society was behind the people to help them to succeed in this revolution.

MCEVERS: What are some of the challenges that still remain in Tunisia?

BOUCHAMAOUI: Our challenge is now economic and social. We have to boost our economy. We have to create more jobs, to invest more, we have to make in (unintelligible) in our economy. We have, I mean, to work more, to work better, to achieve what we are looking for.

MCEVERS: I mean, what kind of lesson can Tunisia - knowing that - what kind of lesson can Tunisia teach to other countries in the region that have had their own revolutions?

BOUCHAMAOUI: We can say we got a good experience. So you can do like us. So you can follow us, I mean, and you can adopt this experience in your country.

MCEVERS: But you can't just build a civil society overnight.

BOUCHAMAOUI: Maybe they should do this, as a society, they should, this. I think we can't have the peace without the violence, without the terrorism. We did it and we succeed on this. I think we have to learn about other experiences.

MCEVERS: Wided Bouchamaoui, president of the Tunisian employers union, thank you so very much, and congratulations again.

BOUCHAMAOUI: Thank you with (unintelligible) to you. Thank you very much. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.