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Name: Tekaya, Mohamed Salah
Current Position: Ambassador

Tunisia’s Ambassador to the United States, Mohamed Salah Tekaya, presented his credentials to the State Department on October 1, 2010, and then to President Obama on December 7, 2010…only ten days before his countrymen exploded in a revolution that toppled the man who had appointed him ambassador, President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali. 

 
Tekaya holds university degrees in Political Science and English Literature. He began his diplomatic career in 1982, serving early on at the Office of the Minister and at the Directorates of Asia, Africa and International Organizations and Conferences. He was at the United Nations as First Secretary (1987-1989) and held the same position at Tunisia’s embassy in the United States (1989-1993). He moved up to Counselor in his nation’s embassy in Norway (1995-1998) and then back at the U.N. (1998-2001).
 
From 2003-2004, Tekaya served as Tunisia’s Ambassador to Argentina, Chile and Uruguay, and then as Ambassador to the Netherlands and Denmark from 2007-2010.
 
At first, Tekaya did his job as Ambassador to the U.S. by presenting the views of Ben Ali’s government, and there must have been some tense and difficult moments during that month of revolutionary uncertainty. For example on January 7, 2011, the State Department “summoned” Tekaya to its headquarters, so that he could hear firsthand about its “concerns about the ability of the people of Tunisia to exercise their rights and freedom of expression and freedom of assembly.” 
 
Since the revolution has succeeded in overthrowing Ben Ali, Tekaya has been able to get back to business as usual, as when he hosted a delegation from the Tunisian American Chamber of Commerce, and touted Tunisia’s continuing openness to business: “The mission illustrates the strong commitment of the Tunisian private sector to move quickly to explain to Tunisia’s partners the hopes that the Revolution has created for the people of Tunisia,” in addition to the “opportunities that a democratic Tunisia can offer American companies.” He has also spoken about the Tunisian Revolution before college audiences, where he has called the revolution, “spontaneous, youthful and leaderless.” He has also had less happy tasks, as when he had to inform the director of New York City’s Tunisian Cultural and Information Center that the new government had decided to defund the project and close the center. 
 
Tekaya is also accredited as ambassador to Mexico and Venezuela.
 
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