Glad to be back!

So many changes have happened for the last four months: new country, new job, new direction, new projects and, at the end of the day, new “areas of interest”. I was not sure anymore where to take this blog to. The purpose of  these few articles was not only to share ideas and contribute to any relevant debate, but also to get the comments of friends and readers…and release some frustration when it comes to politics in Tunisia. I have been writing a lot about social business and entrepreneurship, and I am thinking of talking more about my current work too, as a development investment officer, at the Dutch Development Bank, even if – I understand – it might not be the most exciting topic for some. I am also thinking of starting a new section in Arabic to talk about current issues and challenges in Tunisia. I might change the old design as well. In brief, updating it all, and make it more aligned with my new interests and projects. I got very interesting conversations, new contacts and some interesting feedback through this blog, and hope it stays!

It’s been a period of deep change and transition, as I said, from an MBA candidate in Washington, DC to a full time employee in the Hague, a totally different context, city (through they say it Washington DC of the Netherlands) and more often than expected,  language. There are four stages to the culture shock, even for the most experienced expats : honey moon, negotiation, adjustment and mastery. I think I am in the adjustment phase now: “one grows accustomed to the new culture and develops routines. One knows what to expect in most situations and the host country no longer feels all that new. One becomes concerned with basic living again, and things become more “normal”. One starts to develop problem-solving skills for dealing with the culture and begins to accept the culture’s ways with a positive attitude. The culture begins to make sense, and negative reactions and responses to the culture are reduced”.  And it always help to have many friends in Paris, very near by 🙂

So what’s next? Well, many exciting things in the pipeline. Professionally, after helping start a new Microfinance institution in Rwanda, I am working now on a new SME guarantee fund in Tajikistan. I am also exploring a couple of new start-up and project ideas, contributing to new magazines. etc  Also, they say the elections will be held before summer 2013…so more details to come soon!


Glad to be back

Hatem Mahbouli


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