Hélé Beji

Chairwoman of International College of Tunis


Hélé Béji was born in the city of Tunis (Tunisia) in 1948. She took the French Literature Agrégation diploma at the University of Paris in 1973. She has been a Professor of French Literature at the University of Tunis and an International Expert at UNESCO. In 1998 she founded the International College of Tunis, a civil forum for debate and discussion in the heart of Tunis.

She has written books on decolonisation, autobiographies and essays on cultural pluralism, feminism and problems of democratisation:Désenchantement national, (National Disillusion after Decolonisation) (Paris, Maspéro, 1982); L’œil du jour, (The Eye of the Day), a novel (Paris, Maurice Nadeau, 1985); Itinéraire de Paris à Tunis, (Voyage from Paris to Tunis), a satire (Paris, Noël Blandin, 1992); L’art contre la culture, (Art against Culture), an essay (Paris, Intersignes, 1994); L’imposture culturelle, (The Cultural Imposture), an essay (Paris, Stock, 1997); and Une force qui demeure, (A force that Remains), an essay (Paris, Arléa, 2006). 

Her latest book, Nous, décolonisés, (We, Decolonised) is an essay on her personal experience of decolonisation (Arléa, 2008).

She has contributed to many publications concerning North African literature, questions of tradition and modernity, anthologies, prospective works and dialogues between East and West, in addition to various intellectual reviews such as Esprit, Le Débat and La Revue des Deux Mondes. She has organised many conferences in institutions and universities in different countries (mainly in Europe and North Africa) and has been awarded the Mediterranean Africa Prize (Paris, 1982), the Literary Creation Prize (CREDIF, Tunis 1998 and 2009) and the Association d’Amitié France-Tunisie Prize (Tunis, 2000). 

Since 1998, she has organised more than 30 conferences on crucial 21st-century topics at the International College of Tunis, bringing together some of the most prominent thinkers and personalities of our time