A couple of weeks ago, we welcomed the inaugural cohort of the U.S.–MENA Experiential Partnership in DC. What’s this partnership, you ask? It’s a pioneering initiative spearheaded by AAIF, with support from the U.S. State Department’s Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), pairing Arab American public servants with newly-elected officials in the Middle East and North Africa region for a year-long co-mentorship exchange that champions decentralization, good governance and public private partnerships. Tunisia (the sole successful democratic transition of the Arab Spring) was chosen for the inaugural cohort. The visiting Tunisian delegation of 12 municipal officials were part of the historic 2018 Tunisian elections, which ushered in the first generation of elected officials at the local and city level. Their trip to the US  exposed them to American democratic institutions and systems of governance. They left us just in time to return for the upcoming legislative elections scheduled to take place on October 6, the fourth round of national voting since the Jasmine Revolution in 2011. The elections are highly contested between the Islamist Ennahdha party, the secular Tahya Tounes led by the current Prime Minister, and Nidaa Tounes led by late president Caid Essbsi’s son. Unlike the presidential elections recently held, the winning party of the parliamentary race will get to select the Prime Minister, and effectively hold a greater say in the running of the country. The presidential role is focused on defense and foreign affairs – areas that rank much lower in terms of priorities for a nation still struggling with high unemployment rates and deteriorating economic conditions.