An Interview with Maryem Sehli, the Mediterranean’s Incoming President

As you all know, our beloved Maryem Sehli was elected as President of Rotaract Mediterranean for 2022/23; we can safely say it’s gonna be the peak of her ‘career’ in Rotaract, where she poured a lot of energy and time. But we might ask ourselves one question.

Who is Maryem?

We, at the Med Times, decided to reach her out and have a chat with her, we decided to get to know her better and to give this opportunity to all of our colleagues in Rotaract Mediterranean and beyond.

A: Hello Maryem, thank you for being here with us today! We can start right away with our interview; talk a bit about yourself, who you are, how old you are, what’s your study/job field, hobbies… Who is Maryem outside of Rotaract?

M: Hello Andrea, first of all I have to thank you for the invitation, I’m so happy to be here with the Med Times! My name is Maryem Sehli, I’m a 27 years old woman from Tunisia, I’m a Ph.D. student at the ENSI (École Nationale des Sciences de l’Informatique, National School of Computer Sciences) in Tunis, specializing in Computer Vision and Machine Learning.

For sure, Rotaract is my passion, but I also love nature, watching movies, reading books, traveling and exploring new places!

A: Wonderful! Now, how did you get to know Rotaract? When did you join it? What kind of position did you hold at your club? Did you carry out any particular project in your club?

M: You see, after I graduated from High School, I had to attend a University which was far away from where I lived, and this led me to lose contact with my childhood friends, from my hometown friends. I could only keep in touch with them thanks to social medias like Facebook and, one day, right on Facebook, I saw that a Rotaract Club was founded on Radès. And many familiar faces were in it! So I started to learn more about Rotaract and I really loved their goals and their activities: I then decided to get more involved, to join them in their projects.

I joined the Rotaract Club of Radès, Tunisia (District 9010, Tunisia, Algeria, Marocco and Mauritania), in 2016, and there I put my skills into practice, I learned how to manage and to lead projects by serving my community while having fun! I held several positions, namely Head of Marketing and Head of ‘We Do Volunteering’ Project, which was voted as the “Best International Project” at national level. And after two years, I was elected as President of my Club for the 2018-2019 year. Meanwhile I was also very active at the national level with the National Coordination of Rotaract Clubs in Tunisia as Head of Marketing and IT for two consecutive years (from 2017 to 2019). After these two successful years, I was naturally recommended to be part of the 9010 District’s team. As a result, in the 2018-2019, I was a full time Rotaractor with three simultaneous positions at three different levels; President of my Club, Head of Marketing and IT Committee in the National Coordination and Head of Marketing and IT Committee in District 9010. That was also the year where I launched the first edition of the District 9010 Magazine, which was one of my favourite projects.

A: A full time Rotaractor indeed! Or should we say Rotaractress? Anyway, how did you get to know Rotaract Mediterranean? When did you join it? What kind of position did you hold in it?

In 2018-2019, when I held all those positions I mentioned before, our Tunisian Country Representative at Rotaract Mediterranean entrusted me and other people to apply for the M2R; after our application was selected as the best one and we got the hosting of it, I took part in the HOC Team as Head of Marketing. While working on and for the M2R, I fell in love with Rotaract Mediterranean. This MDIO was a mind-blowing discovery for me: a view on the Mediterranean culture, a continuity of my Rotaract Curriculum, a family like no other. As a result, in the next year, I decided to continue my internationalization path and I joined the Mediterranean family. Therefore, during the 2019-2020 year, I was part of Marketing Team under the leadership of President Salva Amorós from Spain, and, together, we launched a fully digital, Mediterranean-related, improved version of the District Magazine I conceived the year before, a new area for Clubs to share their projects : the Med Times! A project that I oversaw for two consecutive years along with the Chief Editors and their teams of journalists, coming from the three-continents of Rotaract Mediterranean.

In 2020-2021, I held the role of IT Coordinator at the Mediterranean, working together with President Astrid Durand Viel from France, along with her outstanding Board. That year I was extremely versatile: I managed the Med Times’ website, the main website of the MDIO, the emails, the virtual events and the launch of the MedShop, the official Rotaract Mediterranean e-store. During that same year, I was also Head of the International Committee in District 9010 and Advisor for New Clubs in our National Coordination. Currently I’m the Treasurer in Rotaract Mediterranean. My goal is to ensure a good balance between income and expenses during the year, and with the collaboration of President Jad Salame from Lebanon, we aim to create and develop, using new technologies, more resources for the Rotaract Mediterranean.

A: And what moved you to apply as President for Mediterranean? What did you think that was the most decisive factor that gave you the favour over any other candidates?

M: After a fulfilling five-year experience as Rotaractor, which also includes three amazing mandates in the Mediterranean family, given my numerous accomplishments, my rich Med experience and my neverending will to learn, the support that I had at national level from Rotaract Tunisia moved me to apply, to raise my Country flag and to lead Rotaract Mediterranean for the next year. I also have a very good plan, with a clear strategy, a clear vision to add continuity to what the Mediterranean did in the past years. This year we also had three more candidates from different Countries, it was the first time that this ever happened, it’s a record for us! They were all high profiles too and I would like to thank them and congratulate myself with them for all the work they did.

A: As for your plans… What will we see in Rotaract Mediterranean during the 2022/23 year?

M: As I told you before, Rotaract is my passion and every single position that I held and project that I carryed out or managed was a new adventure for me, with new challenges that I fulfilled to the best of my ability.

For the next year, my strategy as Rotaract Mediterranean President is, first and above all, to ensure the continuity of the Rotaract Mediterranean MDIO structure, and keep it aligned with the achievements and accomplishments realized under the leadership of President Jad Salame and all the Presidents that preceded him. I want as well to develop and upgrade every single one of the Med Projects and tools as well, including the Med Times, which is our showcase for our community and our partners.

Keeping a strong cultural and information exchange between Mediterranean Countries CRs, Districts, and Clubs is a also a must-do. I’d love to promote and expand even more the community and partners of Rotaract Mediterranean and to have more panels and events to promote peace and raise awareness.

Morever, similarly and in continuity to what has been done this year, I want to start as well a big sustainable social project. Last, but not least, I’d like to also reinforce the professional opportunity for Rotaractors in the Mediterranean area.

I can promise you all that, as the President of Rotaract Mediterranean MDIO in 2022/23, I will work hard to fulfill our goals, for the growth and the evolution of the Med and to #spreadthemedvibeseverywhere!

A: I’m sure you will achieve all your goals in your year, Maryem! Do you have any last words for our readers?

M: Of course I do!

Hello Rotaractors everywhere! I hope you’re having a great World Rotaract Week! It’s a honour for me to take this responsibility and to be the Incoming Presidnet of this amazing MDIO and to share with you these words during this particular week!

I have always believed in this community and in our power to make a change, to have an impact in this world and to spread peace everywhere. It’s kind of like a new adventure, a new exploration, a new experience. I’m counting on you all to be part of the Med family and I hope you’ll enjoy the Med vibes, from who will be my Board’s member to who still is an aspiring Rotaractor.

Together we will make a change in our world and we will have an amazing Rotaryan Year!

Remember: think big, take risks, love what you’re doing, believe in yourself and nothing will stop you to achieve your dreams.

Maryem Sehli

Rotaract Mediterranean Incoming President
(Rotaract Club Radès, District 9010)

Andrea Serrani

MedTimes Editor-in-Chief
(Rotaract Club Macerata, District 2090)

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