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Morocco Week in Review 
November 3, 2018

Virtual Magazine of Morocco on the Web

Road to Gender Equality: Top 10 Facts About Girls’ Education in Morocco

Staff Reports on October 28, 2018 RABAT

For girls in the developing world, education is a gateway to taking control of their lives. In Morocco, girls access to education has been steadily improving over the years. These top 10 facts about girls’ education in Morocco demonstrate the progress Morocco has made.

Top 10 Facts About Girls’ Education in Morocco

  1. There is a serious gender gap in literacy – Two-thirds of all women in Morocco are illiterate, suggesting a structural issue in girls’ access to education. However, in youth specifically, the statistics are becoming more promising; although, there remains a notable gender gap. Between 2008 and 2012, 74 percent of women ages 15-24 were literate, compared to 88 percent of men.
  1. Girls’ education is less accessible in rural areas – Only 26 percent of girls in rural locations are enrolled in primary school, compared to 79 percent of boys. In rural areas, the nearest school is often a long walk away. Girls are given far less freedom than boys are, so parents are often reluctant to let their girls walk alone to school.
  1. The language barrier poses an added challenge – Language barriers add complications to education for girls in rural areas. While public schools are taught in Arabic, many rural families speak the Berber language. Often, public school teachers do not speak Berber, so parents are reluctant to send their non-Arabic speaking girls to school.
  1. Cultural barriers still hold girls back – A traditional patriarchal society places value on a girls’ role in the home. Particularly in rural areas, their domestic responsibilities prevent them from going to school. While child marriage is technically illegal in Morocco, there’s evidence that some girls are still forced to marry as early as age 12.
  1. The Moroccan government is committed to ending illiteracy – The Moroccan government, led by King Mohammed VI, has instituted various policies to target illiteracy. The government initially had the goal of entirely eliminating illiteracy by 2015. But as of 2017, the national illiteracy rate was still 30 percent. Now, the government has a new goal of ending illiteracy across genders by 2024.
  1. Primary education is compulsory in Morocco – Six years of primary school education (from ages nine to 14) was made mandatory in 1962. A promising 95 percent of school-aged Moroccan children are enrolled in primary school. However, fewer than 15 percent of these students will finish high school.
  1. Primary education is free in Morocco – In Morocco, public schools, including most universities, are tuition-free. However, many rural families must weigh the indirect cost of sending their girls to school when they would otherwise perform necessary domestic labor at home.
  1. “Mahou al Omiya” helps mothers get involved – The government offers a program called “Mahou al Omiya”, or “Erasing Illiteracy”, a free night class held at all public school to help adults become literate. Literacy rates are lowest in women, so adult women take advantage of this program most. As a result, the program allows mothers to become more comfortable with the school system and empowers them to help their daughters with their own studies.
  1. Project Soar Morocco empowers adolescent girls – Project Soar is nonprofit based in Marrakech, Morocco that is dedicated to supporting girls in school. It teaches girls about their rights and helps them find their voices. Local facilitators lead workshops in which girls develop crucial self-confidence and leadership skills. Project Soar has served nearly 500 teen girls with aims to serve an additional 700 by 2019.
  1. Let Girls Learn puts the spotlight on girls’ education – Working with the Peace Corps’ “Let Girls Learn” initiative, Michelle Obama and Meryl Streep visited Marrakech in 2016. The former First Lady and famous actress met with a group of 24 girls. They exchanged inspiring stories and interviewed the girls for a CNN documentary called “We Will Rise.”

Although girls still face significant barriers to education, the trend is clear––education for girls is rising. The top 10 facts about girls’ education in Morocco show that with focused government policies and the help of nonprofits, education equality is on the horizon.
– Ivana Bozic

Sheepskins and Spooky Masks, Youth Celebrate Halloween in Morocco

October 29th, 2018

PICS: Morocco youth transform traditional festival to gain voice

Dressed in sheepskins and spooky masks, young Moroccans dance through the neglected city streets of Sale north of the kingdom's capital to mark the annual Boujloud festival. Often referred to as Morocco's Halloween, Boujloud is deeply rooted in local traditions and customarily celebrated after the Eid al-Adha holiday. But in Sale's Siddi Moussa district, organisers this year were seeking to transform the traditional festivities by using street art and performances to give a voice to those who are usually not heard.

American in Morocco: How My ‘Moroccan Face’ Helped Me Fit In.

By Samantha Tropper Rabat

Living in the southern part of the US, I’m frequently made aware that my looks are unique. I am different, and people want to know why. But in Morocco, ironically, my experience was the opposite. I was the same. I have the same hair color and texture, the same skin tone, the same eye color and shape, even a fairly similar facial form as many Moroccan women I saw. People did not inquire about my family background. That is, until I started talking………..

Reflecting on the Amazigh Cultural Trinity

Regardless of how one believes the Amazigh people of North Africa came to the region one thing is certain, their presence in Morocco has had a substantial influence on the contemporary way of life and set of beliefs.

By Mohamed Chtatou- Dr.Oct 31, 2018 Rabat

There are specifically three major themes within the Amazigh culture which are defined as the “trinity” and are easily recognizable in Moroccan culture. These themes have transcended Amazigh culture and have been accepted as the wider Moroccan identity. The importance of language (Tamazight), the pervasiveness of the tribal system and kinship (ddm), as well as the strong connection to the land (tammurt.)
The importance of language
These three pillars in original Amazigh culture, that if not accepted by the wider Moroccan community or original Moroccan Arabs, would have resulted in a very different Moroccan culture. In short, the similarities between Amazigh and Moroccan Arab culture ensured wide acceptance of Amazigh cultural aspects with Moroccans. The most obvious theme that is present in the Moroccan community of Amazigh nature is the importance of language within society. When one looks at the Amazigh people there is a clear correlation between the relevance of language and the preservation of the culture.

GMT+1 Angers and Confuses More than ‘Benefits’ Moroccans

By Morocco World News -  Oct 30, 2018 Rabat

Until October 25, Moroccans looked forward to switching back their clocks to standard time. However, the government’s about-turn decision disoriented their expectations at the last minute by abolishing time changes. Four times a year, Moroccans across the country had to reset their clocks and deal with a disruption of their life schedule. There were some who loudly complained over the changes, but many were fine with it until October 26. Morocco was set to end Daylight Saving Time (DST) and return to standard time on Sunday, October 28.
Yet on Thursday, October 25, the government published a statement announcing a government council would meet Friday to discuss cancelling the time change and remaining on DST year-round.

'Extreme vetting': Travails of a Jewish American trying to bring his Moroccan fiancée to America

As a US citizen, I never thought I would have to ask permission from the government to marry the woman I love. On May 16, I accompanied my fiancée to the US Consulate in Casablanca, Morocco, for her visa interview. We had waited eight months for the US Citizenship and Immigration Services to approve our application and the National Visa Center to issue an appointment. I booked her a return flight, hopeful that we would be flying back together to continue our lives in New York. It has now been five months since that visa interview, and over a year since the initial application.

Mariam Amjoun, 9-Year-Old Moroccan, Wins Dubai’s Arab Reading Challenge

By Tarek Bazza Rabat Oct 30, 2018. Tarek Bazza is a journalist at Morocco World News with Master’s degree in Translation from King Fahd School of Translation in Tangier.

Mariam Amjoun, a 9-year-old Moroccan girl, has won the 2018 Arab Reading Challenge in Dubai, outperforming 10.5 million participants from 40 countries. Amjoun won AED 500,000 (nearly MAD 1.3 million) in prize money. She will use it for her university education and for her family for encouraging her to read, reported Gulf News.

Doubting Darija: Why It’s Still Controversial to Use Moroccan Language In Classrooms

By Youssef Laaraj -  Youssef Laaraj A high school teacher of English. Sep 25, 2018 Rabat

Heated disagreements accompanied the new school-year start as Arabic dialect terms appeared in the official 2nd grade textbooks, reigniting controversy over the ailing education system. The Moroccan education system has been relentlessly striving for reform and empowerment since the closing decades of the last century. Today, the intellectual and the layman all know the troubles of the public school and the corruption crippling the colossal system of education and training. The organization of schools and vocational institutes, colleges, universities, and training bodies with both private and public ownerships under the control and supervision of delegations, academies, and councils is very complicated. They belong to either joint or independent ministries, making the education sector a complex fabric to figure out.

The Six: Films you didn’t know were shot in Morocco


The narrow alleyways and vast deserts of Morocco have long played host to Hollywood film crews, but did you know that these blockbusters were shot in the country?

Visions for Valuing Youth to Build Morocco’s Future

Jean R. AbiNader October 25, 2018

In its recent report on the status of youth, the Social, Economic and Environment Council (CESE) identified important challenges to King Mohammed VI’s mandate, in his recent Youth Day address, to increase youth employment via “a new integrated national initiative for Moroccan youth.” To emphasize his point, the King met with the education committee in early October to focus on the vocational training sector as an immediate priority. “The sovereign gave the government three weeks to prepare a full draft aimed at adapting training in “traditional professions” that are the main employers of young people. These professions are namely services, construction, agriculture, fishing, water, energy and crafts.”

During These Turbulent Times, the United States Should Call On Morocco

Ambassador Edward M. Gabriel (ret.)

Henry Kissinger believed that one of America’s principal strengths in international affairs is the unique role it plays as balancer among states in support of its strategic interests and that of its most trusted allies. Kissinger said, “the Founders were sophisticated men who understood the European balance of power and manipulated it to the new country’s advantage.” He added, “In (Theodore) Roosevelt’s view, foreign policy was the art of adapting American policy to balance global power discretely and resolutely, tilting events in the direction of the national interest.”

Morocco is the Key to America’s Success in Africa 

Christopher Shays 10.19.18

President Trump’s wholesale reevaluation of the U.S.’ alliances in the hope of seeking a “better deal” from long-standing partners to achieve wins for Americans has been central to his agenda since he began his unlikely bid for the White House. As his administration continues to reconsider each individual relationship, Morocco remains a model ally that holds the keys to America’s future success on the African continent.

Rhythms of slavery draw tourists to Morocco

By Reuters For Citizen Digital  October 27, 2018
In a village hut in  southwestern desert of Morocco , a group of white-clad locals sat and played the music of the slaves they are descended from to an audience of brightly dressed western tourists.
For centuries, the slave trade was a component of the trans-Saharan desert routes between Morocco’s ancient cities and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Marrakech’s Taroudant: A Small Town Full of History and Charm

Sitting approximately 80 kilometers east of Agadir, Taroudant, or the “little Marrakech,” is an imperial town stretching out along the Souss Valley.

By Mohamed Hikal

Sitting approximately 80 kilometers east of Agadir, Taroudant, or the “little Marrakech,” is an imperial town stretching out along the Souss Valley. The first thing a visitor will notice is the pentagon-shaped fortified wall that encircles the city. The Taroudant historical wall is the oldest wall in Morocco and the third most robust in the world, according to historian A. Hermas, after the Great Wall of China and the Kumbhalgarh Fort in India.

Essaouira Atlantic Andalusia Festival Celebrates Judeo-Arab Shared Culture

Rabat-The Essaouira Atlantic Andalusia Festival will feature Said Belcadi, Sanaa Marahati, Andalucious and Hapiyout, and Haja El Hamdaouia and Raymonde El Bidaouia tonight.

By Tamba François Koundouno Oct 27, 2018 Rabat

The Essaouira Atlantic Andalusia Festival will feature Said Belcadi, Sanaa Marahati, Andalucious and Hapiyout, and Haja El Hamdaouia and Raymonde El Bidaouia tonight. The festival, which opened earlier this week on October 25, continues to celebrate the “glorious and harmonious” past of the Judeo-Arabic memory and will galvanize fans and first time festival-goers in the last two days, organizers noted in an email shared with Morocco World News. Essaouira, a coastal city south of Casablanca, has long been a symbol of tolerance and socio-religious coexistence. According to Essaouira Mogador, the festival organizers, the city was the epitome of cultural exchange and religious dialogue.

8.7 Million Tourists Visit Morocco in First 8 Months of 2018

By Morocco World News -  Oct 26, 2018 Rabat

Morocco received 8.7 million tourists from January to August, according to statistics released Thursday by the Ministry of Tourism. Tourist arrivals in Morocco rose 8 percent for the eight month period from the same period last year. Foreign tourist numbers were up 14 percent while returning Moroccans increased by 2 percent, Chinese outlet Xinhua reported.

Morocco's ancient medinas are getting a modern makeover

Morocco is renovating the cores of some of its ancient cities in an ambitious project to help preserve the country’s architectural heritage and culture. The medinas (the old part of the city that’s enclosed by high walls) of Marrakesh, Essaouira, Salé, Meknes and Tetouan have been promised facelifts in a new multimillion-dollar project.

The Fez Mellah

The designed Jewish quarter in Fez dates back to the 15th century.

History : The Fedala conference and the end of Tangier’s international statute

On October the 29th, 1956, Ahmed Balafrej, who headed the Moroccan diplomacy at the time, signed the Final Decleration of the International Conference of Tangier. The treaty put an end of the city’s international statute. Tangier, governed by the European powers since the beginning of the twentieth century, was officially declared an international Zone in 1923. Years after it was designated as a special entity in 1912 by the Treaty of Fes.
But After Morocco broke free from France, Rabat negotiated the end of Tangier’s international statute through the Fedela conference held on the 8th of October, 1956....
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French-Moroccan ‘Tazzeka’ Movie Comes to Cinemas November 7

By Mohamed Bella

The French-Moroccan film “Tazzeka” will be screened in Moroccan cinema theaters starting November 7. Jean-Philippe Gaud directed the movie, which stars Mahdi Belemlih, Ouidad Elma, Olivier Sitruk, and Abbes Zahmani. ================================================

Saadian Tombs.

Delibertley hidden for centuries, the magnificiant Saadina Tombs were eventually uncovered in 1917.

Churchill's Morocco Oasis Said On Sale In Privatization Push

October 29, 2018 • Souhail Karam

Morocco is counting on Alfred Hitchcock and Winston Churchill to help it raise money. The government plans next year to sell a 51-percent stake in La Mamounia Hotel, a former Marrakesh palace-turned-five-star hotel that has, for decades, welcomed leaders such as Charles de Gaulle, as well as Hollywood elite, according to two people familiar with the plan. They declined to be identified because the sale has yet to be formally approved by the cash-strapped kingdom’s cabinet.

RSF: Morocco’s Essaouira a Top 10 ‘Paradise’ on Earth for Foreign Retirees

Rabat- Essaouira has ranked among the top 10 retirement destinations in 2018 for foreigners to retire by the French website Retraite sans Frontieres.

Taking a Moroccan shortcut

By RICHARD MASON October 28, 2018

Marrakech, Morocco, Sept. 15, 2006

I’m the tour guide since Vertis and I have driven through Morocco twice during our time in Libya and we know the roads. We’re with three other couples, and I expect this to be a fun trip with good friends. Our group is in two cars, and I’m driving the lead car as we leave Marrakech heading across the Atlas Mountains to Ouarzazate, the movie producing capital of Morocco. A number of American movies have been shot there, and one is currently in production. I’ve been through the pass to Ouarzazate twice and don’t think we’ll have any trouble. It’s a steep, winding road, but it’s paved. The drive usually takes two hours.

Fes, Morocco: Travel, Scotland on Sunday.

Mark Atkinson  Sunday 28 October 2018I’m going to take you back to the autumn of 2011, when I first visited Morocco. I took on the country in two weeks, meandering my way from the north to the deep south. I visited many places: the capital city of Rabat, Casablanca, the hippy town that is Essaouira, the filmmakers’ paradise of Ouarzazate and, of course, Marrakech, the supposed must-see destination. These were all impressive locations, but there’s another that really stood out from the crowd. Before travelling to Morocco, I thought Fes was something you wore on your head at a fancy-dress party. I left feeling it was the best the country had to offer.
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Halle Berry, Keanu Reeves Enjoy Shooting Movie in Morocco’s Essaouira

Rabat- American actress Halle Berry and Canadian actor Keanu Reeves are exploring Essaouira while shooting their John Wick series.

Construction to start on Morocco's record-breaking skyscraper

Will be 2nd tallest building in Africa

By:  MATTHEW ROBINSON, CNN  Oct 30, 2018 (CNN)

Work on what will be Morocco's tallest skyscraper will start on Thursday in the capital of Rabat. The Bank of Africa tower will stand at 820 feet tall (250 meters), and become the second-highest skyscraper on the continent behind The Pinnacle, which is under construction in Nairobi, Kenya.

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