Oral history interview with Amel Karboul, 2017
Amel Karboul is a Tunisian author, speaker, politician, philanthropist, and business leader. She is currently Secretary-General of the Maghreb Economic Forum and serves as commissioner to the International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity of the United Nations. Karboul was the first woman in history to occupy Tunisia's Minister of Tourism position and was the youngest member of the Mehdi Jomaa government from January 2014 to February 2015. Prior to serving in government, Karboul was CEO and founder of the consulting firm Change, Leadership and Partners. She worked as a project leader for the Mercedes-Benz brand in South Africa and Germany as well as an executive with the DaimlerChrysler Corporate University in the United States, Germany, and Singapore. She has also held other positions in global consulting groups.
Scope and Contents
Amel Karboul describes her recruitment to Mehdi Jomaa's cabinet. She explains her father's role in recruiting her: he was a prominent minister under Bourguiba and Ben Ali. Karboul describes her first impressions of Jomaa. She explains how her experience around transforming organizations made her a different kind of minister: direct and straightforward. She speaks to her role in organizing some of the offsite cabinet retreats, and to the need to build a strong team. Karboul describes some of her collaborations with the ministers of security, culture, and environment. She speaks to her long-term versus short-term strategies for developing the tourism sector. Karboul says that social media can help improve government accountability and transparency, but can also distract from the work that you do. She describes the process of hiring her team in the tourism ministry, and some of the successes and challenges of leading them. Karboul discusses Jomaa's leadership style, and how the cabinet meetings could have been improved. She explains her priority of encouraging entrepreneurial spirit among Tunisian youth. She tells the stories of her initial resignation over a 2006 trip to Israel, and of the no-confidence vote following a scandal involving Israeli nationals on cruise ships entering La Goulette port.
Copyright by the Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York, 2017.