Aya Chebbi is a Tunisian diplomat, as well as a pan-African and feminist. She became the first appointed African Union Envoy on Youth in November 2018. She was appointed by the chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki in November 2018, as the youngest senior official in the history of the African Union and youngest diplomat in the chairperson’s cabinet.
She supports the Chairperson in addressing his thematic priority of working with and for young people and advocate to Silencing the Guns by 2020.
Aya Chebbi was born in Dahmani, in Tunisia, and earned a BA in International Relations from Tunis El Manar University, after which she proceeded to obtain a Masters in African studies with Distinction from SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, where her research focused on state-youth relation linked to their subscription to Jihadism, with a dissertation titled “Youth Radicalization, a comparative Study of Tunisia- Kenya”.
AYA CHEBBI: RISE TO PROMINENCE
Aya Chebbi came to prominence and international attention as a blogger during the 2010 Tunisian Revolution. Her blogs were published most notably on OpenDemocracy and Al-Jazeera among numerous media outlets.
She subsequently traveled across the African continent to support and train thousands of social movement leaders and activists on mobilization, blogging, leadership and non-violence as a scholar, mentor, speaker and activist.
Aya Chebbi with her feminist friends and bloggers, Konda Delphine from Cameroon and Rose Wachuka from Kenya, founded the Voice of Women initiative (VOW-I), a feminist collective that empowers women through advocacy and access to the digital space, in 2013.
VOW-I trains correspondents in various cities around the world to document the stories of ordinary women doing extraordinary things. The platform published about 200 stories, trained 35 correspondents and successfully implemented field projects on health, peace and the safety of women.
In March 2015, she was invited as the Youth Speaker for UN Women’s celebratory event for the 20th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, to an audience of some 2,000 people including world leaders, celebrities and activists.
Aya was appointed as an emissary of Tunisian youth in 32nd summit of the African Union in Addis Ababa.
In November 2018, Chebbi was appointed as the first African Union Special Envoy on Youth by the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat for a two-year mandate to serve as a representative and advocate for the voices and interests of African youths.
In this capacity, Aya Chebbi also works with various AU organs, Regional Economic Communities (RECs), governments, civil societies, and academia to enhance, empower and strengthen the position of young people within and outside of the African Union. Chebbi started her mission by launching the game changing 2019/2020 Action Plan outlining four Models of Action which were: (1) Innovation, (2) Advocacy, (3) Intergenerational & Policy and (4) Communication.
In June 2019, Chebbi was featured in the Visual Collaborative Polaris catalogue, under the Voyager series for humanities, she was interviewed alongside 25 people from around the world such as Seun Kuti, Berla Mundi and Dawn Okoro.
As at 2020 and ever since, Chebbi has been serving as a member of the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response (IPPR), an independent group examining how the World Health Organization (WHO) and countries handled the COVID-19 pandemic, co-chaired by Helen Clark and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
By Oluwamayowa Akinyemi
Oluwamayowa Akinyemi is a digital and web content developer with experience in web content development and management as well as research and writing. He is an avid reader of random subject matters and a sucker for movies and video games. He is also passionate about youth empowerment and is a global affairs analyst and enthusiast.