Northeast Wisconsin Technical College international student
Mohamed Dhib thought he was going to Washington D.C. for a day of meetings with
fellow Tunisian exchange students. Less than twenty-four hours after arriving
in the nation’s capital, he found himself at the White House, chatting with
President Obama & Tunisian Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa in a meeting he’ll
Dhib is one of sixty-five
Tunisian students participating in the Thomas Jefferson Scholarship Program,
an educational exchange that allows Tunisian students to spend one year
studying in the U.S. The program is
designed to give students the chance to explore U.S. culture, communities and higher education, ultimately helping build the
Tunisian workforce and
Late last week, Dhib (bottom row, 3rd from left) was told he’d be going
to Washington, D.C. for program workshops and to meet with fellow Tunisian
in D.C. Thursday evening, Dhib and 10 other scholarship students prepped
for an early Friday morning meeting with the Tunisian Education Minister. The
resulting two-hour discussion with the minister focused on what student’s had
learned during their time in the U.S., and how they could work together to build the Tunisian workforce.
“We shared our experiences,” said Dhib. “We
talked about how we can improve education [in Tunisia] based on what we saw
students then met with Department of State officials, before unexpectedly being
whisked off to a visit of the White House. Following a brief tour, they sat
down, and were told they’d said they’d meet with the Tunisian Prime Minister. A staffer then took the students to the Rose Garden to continue the tour and talk. After a few
minutes, they heard a familiar voice behind them.
“Hey, what’s up guys?”
Obama welcomed the stunned group, shaking each of their hands and asking about
their experiences in the states.
asked how I’ve been dealing with the cold in Green Bay,” said Dhib.
students then met with Tunisian Prime Minister Jomaa, before listening to the
Tunisian and U.S. heads of state discuss their shared commitment to U.S. –
Tunisian relations, their plans to strengthen the Tunisian economy, and
the continued efforts to stabilize the region. The unexpected meeting lasted about 15 minutes.
Dhib, who in addition to studying Information Technology at NWTC, interns in
the College’s Enterprise Application department, the experience was one of his
most memorable since being in the U.S.
great. I can’t believe I met the President. The entire meeting was amazing.”