It is my honor and pleasure to be standing in your presence. As you might have heard, Libya has recently held its first ever national elections in over 40 years. You can imagine the pride and joy I felt, feeling like a true Libyan for the first time. It was emotional, exhilarating, but most of all, it felt empowering.
Words are not enough, sentences are inadequate, and paragraphs cannot do that moment justice, the moment I cast my ballot and felt the chapter of the old era close for good. We no longer need to look back, but forward, and this is truly the first step in rebuilding our country.
Our situation is almost unique. We had dismantled the entire government. So when it was announced that we would be holding elections, there was much speculation. Wasn’t it too early? Is the nation prepared to take on such a task? And what about the issue of security?
But, Libya is unique. We had already achieved what some thought was impossible, and there was no way to go but forward. I am extremely impressed with the way our election turned out. The level of organization, transparency and security was incredible. Walking into the voting station and casting my vote felt completely natural, as though it’s something we’ve been doing for years.
I believe these elections have proven to the world that Libya still continues to defy expectations. Despite the uncertainty, our outlook remains bright. Our goal is democracy, a free and fair society with equal opportunities for all. Women now make up 17% of the newly elected parliament, a testament to our determination in seeing this goal through.
Libya has entered a new era, and my generation is fortunate enough to be on the forefront of this historic time. It was the previous generation who kept the torch of hope alive, and passed it on to us. The cost was great, but freedom never comes cheap. Now it our turn to preserve this hope and pass it on to future generations.
What made the elections even more momentous to me was being with my fellow students and mentors, and brought to light an essential point; that unity between different people is not just possible, but necessary.
In closing, I would just like to add that the region has entered a new era, and my generation has been fortunate enough to be at the forefront of this historic time.