Webinar: Destination Tunisia

Destination Tunisia
Destination Tunisia

Tuesday, 08 February 2022

4 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Online 4PM (British time) 5pm (CET time)

If you haven't been able to attend the webinar, you can watch the video below:

The Merian Centre for Advanced Studies in the Maghreb (MECAM), the Mixed Migration Centre (MMC) and Maghreb Action for Displacement And Rights (MADAR) Network Plus organised a webinar on 8 February 2022 which gave insights into Syrians’ flight trajectories to Tunisia, the most common routes taken, journey experiences and intentions for the future, based on recent ethnographic research, as well as quantitative survey data collection.


17:00- 17:10 (CET): Panel Opening by Dr Wael Garnaoui (Founder of the Border Studies Group, University of Sousse)

17:10-17.40 (CET): Insights into Syrians' flight trajectories to Tunisia

  • Dr Ann Zuntz (MECAM & University of Edinburgh)
  • Marwen Bounab (MADAR & University of Sousse)
  • Asma Ben Hadj Hassen (Mixed Migration Centre)

17:40-17:50 (CET): Syrians in Tunisia: 4Mi insights into travel routes, experiences and intentions by Francesco Teo Ficcarelli (Mixed Migration Centre)

17.50-18.00 (CET): Discussant remarks by Dr Marouen Taleb (Tunis Research Institute on Contemporary Maghreb)

18:00-18:30 (CET): Q&A

The first half of the webinar presented results from recent ethnographic fieldwork led by Dr Ann Zuntz. The research comprised interviews with Syrian households, policymakers and aid providers in Tunisia; it redirects the focus from South-North journeys across the Mediterranean to South-South movement. The study demonstrates how pre-war migration and trade ties between Syria and Tunisia and Tunisia’s complex migration landscape have shaped Syrians’ conditions of arrival. Changing border regimes in Arab host countries have reordered Syrian movements across the Middle East and North Africa, forcing the poorest Syrians to travel the longest, most dangerous, and most expensive routes to reach Tunisia. MMC closeed the webinar with insights from quantitative survey data collected over the last two years with Syrians residing in Tunisia which will shed light on the most common routes taken, journey experiences and intentions for the future. Following the presentations, our discussant Marouen Taleb responded with his comments and questions to the speakers.


Speakers’ Biographies

Dr Ann-Christin Zuntz (MECAM & University of Edinburgh)

Dr Ann-Christin Zuntz is a lecturer in Anthropology of Development at the University of Edinburgh. She is an economic anthropologist, with a focus on the intersections of labour, (forced) migrations, and gender, in the Mediterranean. Since 2015, Ann has conducted in-person fieldwork with displaced Syrians in Jordan, Turkey, Tunisia, and Bulgaria, and, remotely, in Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria. Fluent in Levantine Arabic, she specialises in research with displaced populations in hard-to-reach rural areas, and with refugee women. She does collaborative research with Syrian academics within the One Health FIELD Network. As the principal investigator of the 2020/21 AHRC-funded Refugee Labour under Lockdown project, Ann partnered with Syrian scholars affiliated with the Council for At-Risk Academics, and the Turkish non-profit cooperative Development Workshop to study the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Syrian farmworkers in the Middle East. Remote ethnographic data from this project have informed a graphic novel, available in English, Turkish and Arabic here: https://www.onehealthfieldnetwork.org/refugee-labour-under-lockdown. Since November 2021, Ann’s new AHRC-funded project FIELD SONGS investigates the potential of Syrian refugees’ traditional harvesting songs and intangible cultural heritage for informing sustainable development policies in the Middle East. The research is a collaboration with two Syrian-led organisations with expertise in agricultural science and the arts and humanities, and involves music workshops and fieldwork in agricultural work sites with Syrian labourers and musicians in southern Turkey (https://www.onehealthfieldnetwork.org/field-songs). In 2021, Ann won the best article prize of the Syrian Studies Association for her article “Refugees’ Transnational Livelihoods and Remittances: Syrian Mobilities in the Middle East Before and After 2011”, published in volume 34(2) of the Journal of Refugee Studies.

Asma Ben Hadj Hassen (Mixed Migration Centre)

Asma Ben Hadj Hassen is a Research Assistant at the Mixed Migration Centre (MMC) in North Africa, and is based in Tunis. Her work focuses on supporting qualitative and quantitative research and analyses. Prior to joining MMC, she worked in multiple research projects, on a variety of topics such as migration, gender, human trafficking and African politic. Asma holds a bachelor's degree in French studies as well as a master’s degree in African Studies from the University of Sousse in Tunisia. Her dissertation focused on the migration experiences of sub-Saharan women workers in Tunisia after 2011.

Marwen Bounab (MADAR & University of Sousse)

Marwen Bounab is the MADAR Administrator at the University of Sousse. He is a Cultural Studies Masters graduate from the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at the University of Sousse. His dissertation entitled ‘Assessing the Legacy of Apartheid in South Africa : Critical Examination on the recent Student Protests’ criticized social, ethnic, and economic inequalities and their repercussions on defining access to higher education. He spent 10 months as Field Assistant with the Tunisian Refugee Council, partner of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Prior to this, he took part in two research projects under the supervision of Professor Hassan Boubakri ; Chairman of the Tunisian Centre for Migration and Asylum( CETUMA) namely ‘Migrants in Countries in Crisis’ and ‘Power2Youth : Freedom, Dignity and Justice’ : a comprehensive approach to understanding youth exclusion and the prospects for inclusion and overall change in the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean.

Francesco Teo Ficcarelli (Mixed Migration Centre)

Francesco Teo Ficcarelli is an Information Management Officer at the Mixed Migration Centre (MMC) in North Africa and is based in Tunis. Prior to joining the MMC team he has worked for several NGOs (IPA, REACH, ACTED, ICARDA) conducting impact evaluation studies, needs assessments and M&E in the humanitarian and development sectors. He has substantial experience in data collection methods, data management and analysis. Teo has a background in economics and international relations, holding a BA in European Studies from Royal Holloway, University of London, and an MSc in Local Economic Development from the London School of Economics.

Dr Marouen Taleb (Tunis Research Institute on Contemporary Maghreb)

Dr Marouen Taleb is a postdoctoral researcher at Tunis’ Research Institute on Contemporary Maghreb (CNRS), where he is co-leading a scientific component within "ProGreS Migration/GLM" project funded by the French Development Agency (AFD). Marouen holds a Master's degree in economic geography and a PhD in Urban Planning and Development from the National School of Architecture and Urban Planning of Tunis. His doctoral dissertation focused on the growth of non-regulated industrial activities in Tunis’ suburban areas. Currently, his fields of research include spatial planning in relation to economic development and governance models, migration, local governance, and decentralization in North African countries. Marouen also works as an expert consultant for urban planning and development programs in African and Arabic countries.

Merian Centre for Advanced Studies in the Maghreb (MECAM)

MECAM, founded in 2020, is a platform for regional and international scientific exchange in Tunisia based on the central theme “Imagining Futures – Dealing with Disparity”. The centre is located at the Université de Tunis. Its research work focuses on the effects of multidimensional disparity on models, visions and ideas about the future. MECAM’s research agenda focuses on questions of Aesthetics & Cultural Practice, Inequality & Mobility, Memory & Justice, Resources & Sustainability, and Identities & Beliefs.

MECAM is a joint endeavour of a consortium of seven Tunisian and German research institutions. It is coordinated by the Philipps-Universität Marburg and the Université de Tunis and supported by the Universität Leipzig, the German Institute of Global and Area Studies (GIGA) in Hamburg, the Forum Transregionale Studien in Berlin, the Institut Tunisien des Études Stratégiques (ITES) in Tunis, and the Université de Sfax.

For more information: https://mecam.tn/?lang=en

Mixed Migration Centre (MMC)

The Mixed Migration Centre (MMC) in North Africa is part of the MMC global network – a leading source for independent and high-quality data, research, analysis and policy development on mixed migration. MMC North Africa provides evidence and expertise on the mixed migration patterns and dynamics of people on the move, primarily from West and East Africa to and through countries in North Africa. The core countries of focus are Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Sudan, and Tunisia. The MMC is part of, and governed by, the Danish Refugee Council (DRC). The position of the MMC does not necessarily reflect the position of DRC.

For more information: mixedmigration.org/regions/north-africa


The Maghreb Action on Displacement and Rights (MADAR مدار Arabic for ‘path’) Network Plus aims to improve the humanitarian protection of vulnerable, displaced people in contexts of conflict in the central Maghreb region of Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia.

MADAR facilitates research collaborations and commission research projects drawing on the regional expertise of UK and Maghreb-based scholars from across the arts and humanities and the social and political sciences.

For more information: https://madar-network.org/en/about-the-network/