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Morocco Week in Review 
March 9, 2019

Virtual Magazine of Morocco on the Web

(PC/Morocco PCV) Palecek seeks better health for Moroccan women and girls

Megan Birk February 25, 2019

Renee Palecek is currently serving as a women’s and girl’s development facilitator with the Peace Corps in Morocco. Palecek is completing her master’s degree in sociology with a sequence in Applied Community and Economic Development through the Stevenson Center. Palecek received her bachelor’s degree in anthropology with a double minor in religious studies and art history from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh. Those disciplines, combined with her graduate work in sociology, prepared her well for her work in Morocco. “Looking back now, and in combination with studying at ISU, I can’t imagine a better academic foundation for Peace Corps,” she said. Palecek’s decision to join Peace Corps was a combination of two factors: she had a desire to better understand the world and she was frustrated that people; women and girls specifically, can be disadvantaged simply due to where they are born and live.

Remembering Morocco’s Touria Chaoui, First Arab Woman Pilot

Touria Chaoui was the first Arab woman to become a pilot in the mid-twentieth century. She was assassinated in 1956, at the age of 19.

By Ahlam Ben Saga
Ahlam Ben Saga is a Cultural Studies graduate from university Mohammed V of Literature and Humanities in Rabat. Mar 1, 2019 Rabat

Today, March 1, is the 63rd anniversary of the death of a Moroccan teenager who, despite her short life, broke all gender stereotypes and proved to the world and herself that hard work and passion eventually pay off. Touria Chaoui was born in Fez in 1936 to a forward-thinking father, Abdelwahed Chaoui, and mother named Zina. In 1947, when Chaoui was 13, French film director Andre Zwoboda hired her for a role in his film “The Seventh Gate,” at the request of her father, a French-speaking journalist. The director was delighted at Chaoui’s performance.

World Bank: Morocco is 3rd Top MENA Country to Ensure Gender Equality

Morocco comes behind only Malta and Israel in the MENA region in terms of ensuring gender equality, according to a new World Bank Report.

By Ahlam Ben Saga  - Ahlam Ben Saga is a Cultural Studies graduate from university Mohammed V of Literature and Humanities in Rabat. Mar 2, 2019 Rabat

The World Bank’s Women, Business and the Law 2019 report published on February 27 ranked Morocco third of Middle Eastern and North African countries in terms of gender equality in law and business. The report assessed gender discrimination in 187 countries and tracked their legal progress in the past decade. In the MENA region, Morocco ranked third, securing 73.13 points out of 100, behind Malta with 91.88 and Israel with 80.63.

Morocco to Increase Scholarships, Study Grants for African Students.

Already heavily investing in many countries across Africa, Morocco wants to reinforce its bold African diplomacy by increasing the number of scholarships and study grants for African students.

By Tamba François Koundouno Mar 1, 2019 Rabat

While the banking and financial sectors are generally the most visible in Morocco’s increasingly vocal presence in African affairs, Rabat is turning to education to cement its Africa-focused diplomacy.
The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) in Morocco and the Moroccan Agency for International Cooperation (AMCI), the government body in charge of monitoring government scholarships and study grants, signed a memorandum of understanding yesterday in Rabat to set up a joint scholarship program destined for African students. According to the two bodies, the cooperation dovetails with Morocco’s desire to share its science and technology expertise with the rest of the African continent.

French Vs. English: How Morocco Is Debating Foreign Languages in Schools

By Safaa Kasraoui Mar 1, 2019 Rabat

The continued dominance of French as a foreign language in Morocco angers some Moroccans, who believe that English, if not becoming the dominant language, should at least be on equal footing with French. Although Morocco’s Constitution recognizes only two languages—standard Arabic and Tamazight (Berber)—in daily life many Moroccans speak Darija, the distinct Moroccan dialect of Arabic, and Morocco has a history of using French in official communication as well as increasing interest in using English in educational instruction.

Morocco’s Red City’s Hidden Green Heritage

By Lee Ruddin 1 Mar, 2019

The mayhem of Marrakech’s Medina is exhilarating, with sights, sounds and smells leaping straight off the pages of Arabian Nights, but it can quickly become exasperating. After getting lost in its maze-like souks and being hustled by hawkers competing for your dirham on Djemaa el-Fna, it’s comforting to know that there are oases of calm not far from the chaos and confusion. Indeed, four of the five gardens featured are located within the 11th-century, UNESCO-listed walled city.

Report: 85,000 People Live in Modern Slavery in Morocco

Millions of people around the world—whether they are men and children forced into labor or women forced into prostitution—continue to live through slavery in its modern form.

By Ahlam Ben Saga - Ahlam Ben Saga is a Cultural Studies graduate from university Mohammed V of Literature and Humanities in Rabat. Mar 4, 2019 Rabat

The UN’s International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Walk Free Foundation have published statistics on modern slavery in 2018 in 181 countries. In Morocco, 85,000 people live in some form of modern slavery. The 2018 Global Slavery Index shows that 0.002 percent of Moroccans live in modern slavery, and 48.34 percent of the population are vulnerable to modern slavery.
Morocco, has some of the lowest levels of slavery prevalence in Africa and has made significant improvements in modern slavery legislation. The report noted that both Morocco and Cote d’Ivoire enacted comprehensive trafficking laws since 2016
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Circus School Brings Hope to Morocco’s Street Children

SALE, Morocco

A leading circus school in the north African country of Morocco has been transforming the lives and offering fresh opportunities for street children with artistic aspirations. Cirque Shemsy, (in English, “the circus of my sun”) hopes to provide children who roam the streets selling handkerchiefs a new path by teaching them the art of circus performance and committing them to complete compulsory education. “The circus, with its pedagogical virtues and as a corporal and artistic activity, helps children develop their skills and imagination and to regain confidence in themselves and in others,” Zakaria Benjamin, director of the circus studies, told EFE. The school, located inside an 18th century citadel in the Sidi Moussa district of the Moroccan coastal city of Sale, opens its door to underprivileged children, who lack access to public schools due to poverty and seeks to promote their integration into society. Cirque Shemsy was established in 1996 and sponsored by the National Human Development Initiative (INDH), a public body that finances social projects. With the success of the Students-organized shows, Shemsy obtained academic recognition in 2009, allowing the circus to develop the formation of a four and a half year of professional training course, at the end of which the students obtain a diploma recognized by the Moroccan state.

Lessons in Fearlessness from Morocco

I’ve been feeling for a while now that something has been lacking from my street photography. I seem to have settled into a “style” or “way of seeing” that features themes of solitude and isolation, monotone color palettes, and generally bland scenes – in line with my descriptions of “New-Wave Street Photography”. I want for my photography in general, as well as my street work, to feature a little more emotion, which to me means interesting characters, eye contact, action and interaction between two or more figures in the scene, and unique, surreal situations.
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Eight years on, how is Morocco recovering from Arab Spring?

Amine Belghazi March 3, 2019 CASABLANCA, Morocco 

It has been eight years since the outbreak of the so-called Arab Spring. At that time, the February 20 Movement was born in Morocco, led by Moroccan leftist parties and supported by Al Adl Wal Ihsane, a political Islamic association that is not legally recognized by the Moroccan state. On that day in 2011, tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Rabat and many other Moroccan cities to demand freedom, dignity and social justice. Among other things, protesters called on dissolving parliament and the government, which was headed by Abbas El Fassi at the time. Many Moroccans saw Fassi as a symbol of political monopoly as his family and relatives occupied various positions in power since the beginning of the 20th century. In addition, protesters demanded the adoption of a democratic constitution that expands the powers of the government and the parliament, and ensures the independence of the judiciary.
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Slice of Life: Letter from Morocco

by Virginie Ann March 5, 2019

A student on exchange writes to their loved ones in Montreal

Feb. 25: Dear Katy,
I arrived in Morocco one month ago today. Time seems to go by so quickly sometimes. The weeks I’ve spent here have been so far from the reality I was expecting. I can still see the anxiety in my friends’ and family’s eyes and feel the tension in their embraces as we said goodbye just a few weeks ago. Africa. That single word—the entire continent carries so many misconceptions and prejudices. I was starting to feel so trapped in my own occidental perspective—and in other people’s ideas—that I embarked on this journey for many reasons. But in the end, I really just wanted to see for myself. And dear, the past few weeks have already shown me such an eclectic, extraordinary place.
I flew to Rabat and automatically wandered into the labyrinthine marketplace of the Medina. I’ve found myself in situations where I am literally the only woman present. It’s a man’s world, but one that is fast-changing. I was expecting to feel consistently repressed, but in reality, I feel empowered by witnessing such a sense of solidarity between women. I am not welcomed with judgmental looks, but with warm smiles. I don’t think I’ve ever entirely comprehended the power of my freedom as a western woman or questioned it until now. Here, I walk the streets and I feel privileged. Call me naive, but Rabat has been so good to me.

Opinion: What Future Does the Moroccan School System Have?

More children are enrolled in school, there are more schools in rural areas, and some schools have internet. Yet, all of this does not matter if education quality is still low.

Mar 2, 2019 By Badr Hmim

It is no surprise that most developed countries owe much of their success to their outstanding school systems. Education has always been at the heart of every progressive or development-based strategy that aims to change lives for the better. The Greeks and Romans realized education’s importance to combat ignorance, so they made the best of it. Likewise, thanks to education, Muslims made huge leaps in various fields, especially medicine, sociology, and algebra—the fruits of which we still reap.

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