The entire team at Forward Thinking was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Mehrezia Labidi on the 21st of January.
Mehrezia was an incredible person and dedicated public servant. We were fortunate enough to work with her over half a decade, first through our projects in Tunisia and later through the Helsinki Policy Forum.
She will be best remembered for her historic role in the Tunisian transition following the 2011 revolution. As the deputy speaker of the National Constituent Assembly (2011-2014), she had the honour of being the highest elected women in the Arab world. During those critical years, Mehrezia played a key role in guiding debates on Tunisia’s new constitution to a successful conclusion. The result was a document widely hailed as one of the most progressive constitution in the Middle East and North Africa.
Mehrezia was a proud parliamentarian, elected in 2014 and serving until 2019. In this time, she fostered links between parliamentarians across the world. She was a force behind the establishment of the Helsinki Policy Forum Women Parliamentarians Network, after seeing a need for women Parliamentarians from across Europe and the Gulf-MENA to share experiences and insights so they might better tackle common challenges.
Mehrezia was deeply committed to realise an international relations that puts human dignity first. A person of deep faith, she had a vision to make the world a more peaceful place than the one she encountered. In recognition of this work, she was made an honorary president of Religions for Peace in 2015, a New York based organisation recognised at the United Nations.
Above all, she was a tireless champion for democracy and an inspiration to many around the world. She will be sorely missed.