Since 2011, Tunisia has been the theatre of a profound social, political and economic transformation. The Humanities and Social Sciences can develop tools enabling Tunisian society to appropriate and perpetuate this transformation. Within this context, the “SfaxForward” Twinning project strengthens the capacities of an innovative academic centre regarding Cultural Heritage: the Maghreb House of the Humanities and Social Sciences (MdMSH) at the University of Sfax.
SfaxForward postulates that Tangible and Intangible Heritage can play a central role in a territory’s transformation and development. By learning to cherish their Cultural Heritage, people can discover who they are and what they share. The characterization and subsequent participatory management of these common cultural assets should engender a more stable and inclusive society. One that better manages migratory flows thanks to its citizens enjoying greater control over their lives, while constructing and taking possession of their own territory.
SfaxForward’s goal is to position the Sfax partner as an international model for mutually beneficial relations between academia and civil society, with Heritage serving as a driving force of regional development and stability. This necessitates establishing the conditions for a fruitful dialogue between researchers and civil society to enlighten public policy and action. Southern Tunisia constitutes the project’s territory-laboratory.
To achieve this goal, SfaxForward develops three types of initiatives: multidisciplinary conferences and workshops on the project’s key themes, thematic schools dedicated to young researchers, and an Observatory of Southern Tunisian Heritage constructed in collaboration with civil society.
The extensive interdisciplinary experience of the collaborating French and Belgian Houses of the Humanities and Social Sciences benefits MdMSH in constructing its own unique scientific identity, with an ambition for international excellence.