Thomas Jefferson Scholarship Program (TJSP)

Thomas Jefferson Scholarship Program (TJSP)


Through academic opportunities, professional engagement, and leadership development, the Thomas Jefferson Scholarship Program (TJSP) fosters economic growth, stability, and democratic development in Tunisia by equipping a network of youth with essential skills to lead positive change in their professional fields and communities.

The Thomas Jefferson Scholarship Program is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Department of State and implemented by IREX.


  • Prepare youth for the professional marketplace and professional positions in Tunisia.
  • Build networks of emerging young leaders from across Tunisia and in the United States.
  • Cultivate the capacity and desire of youth to serve in leadership positions in Tunisia.
“The professional skills which I learned during the internship came in handy when developing and preparing the promotional strategies for launching [our startup]." Chaima, TJSP participant

Quick Facts

  • Participants complete 80 hours of professional internships in the United States in their field of study, guided by leadership and goal-setting components of the program. Alumni rank the internship component as the most important component of the program for their professional development.
  • Employers look for a series of key competencies in young employees. Nearly 100% of students completing the program express that they’ve developed these key “soft skills”, including job search skills, problem-solving skills, time management, stress management, and teamwork.
  • Nearly 50% of Tunisian university graduates are unemployed. In a recent survey, 100% of TJSP alumni who report having completed their studies also report having paid employment.

Project Activities

  • Undergraduate study and skills building: Participants attend a year-long, academic program at four-year colleges and universities in the United States. Throughout the program, participants receive tailored support in developing and meeting professional, academic, and leadership goals and improving their soft skills.
  • Community and cultural engagement: Students contribute a minimum of 20 hours of community service work during the program and engage in in-person and virtual cultural exchange opportunities between Tunisians and Americans.
  • Internships: Fellows complete part-time internships in their field of study, gaining experience in the American workplace, strengthening workplace readiness skills, and developing relationships with local businesses, governments, and organizations.
  • Alumni engagement: Alumni continue to develop their workforce skills, support innovation and entrepreneurship in Tunisia, and maintain networks forged through the program.
"I can say that I succeeded my first couple of years and made great progress in my career thanks to my communication skills. Which were built and refined during my exchange year." Hibatouallah, TJSP participant