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Morocco Week in Review 
January 23 2021

Virtual Magazine of Morocco on the Web

Ambassador Fischer’s full remarks from his final press conference before departing Morocco

Remarks from Ambassador David T. FischerJanuary 18, 2021

Thank you all for being with us today. On January 20 – just two days from now – I will conclude my tenure as the United States Ambassador to Morocco.
It has been the honor of my life to be the United States Ambassador to Morocco. Morocco is one of the most wonderful, beautiful, hospitable countries in the world – and one of the most important and oldest friends of the United States of America. I arrived in Morocco exactly one year ago. My very first day here, I had the honor of meeting His Majesty King Mohamed VI. That meeting set the tone for everything that has followed. I would like to thank His Majesty for the foundation he created to guide the U.S.-Moroccan friendship towards an ever-closer partnership. This partnership is centuries old, beginning with an incredibly bold and visionary step by Morocco, when it became the first country in the world to recognize the fledgling United States of America………….
https://ma.usembassy.gov/ambassador-fischers-full-remarks-from-his-final-press-conference-before-departing-morocco/
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Sixth ‘Morocco Day’ Event Set to Celebrate Morocco-US Relations

This year’s Morocco Day will be held online, making it available for anyone to attend.

By Jasper Hamann  - Jan 15, 2021 Rabat

Every year the Moroccan American Network organizes Morocco Day in Washington, D.C. to celebrate the historic relations between the two countries. The event will be held virtually because of COVID-19, which opens attendance to anyone who would like to attend.  Morocco Day is an officially recognized day in Washington, D.C. and nearby Alexandria, Virginia. The event is normally celebrated in July on two separate days, bringing together thought leaders on Moroccan-US affairs. The Moroccan American Network chose to organize the event virtually, after uncertainties regarding COVID-19 warranted a new approach. While many diplomats, entrepreneurs, and Morocco-minded locals in the D.C. area will lament the absence of a physical celebration on Morocco Day, the event will be open to the public…………………..
https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2021/01/331980/sixth-morocco-day-event-set-to-celebrate-morocco-us-relations/
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US President Donald Trump Receives Highest Award From Morocco

The award commends Trump’s peace efforts, enabling Tel Aviv and Rabat to restore diplomatic relations and full contacts.

By Safaa Kasraoui - Jan 15, 2021 Rabat

US President Donald Trump reportedly received Morocco’s highest award today for peace efforts enabling Rabat and Tel Aviv to restore relations. Reuters quoted a senior White House official, saying that Morocco’s Ambassador to the US  Princess Lalla Joumala presented Trump with the award, called the Order of Muhammad, in a private ceremony.  The award was a gift from Morocco’s King Mohammed VI. Morocco also gave two other awards to Trump’s Senior Adviser Jared Kushner and Middle East Envoy Avi Berkowitz…………….
https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2021/01/332100/us-president-donald-trump-receives-highest-award-from-morocco/
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HAF to plant trees across Morocco on Martin Luther King Day

By Elizabeth Jay, HAF Program Manager

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a day that inspires volunteerism, the High Atlas Foundation (HAF) celebrates its annual Tree Planting Day, which takes place the third Monday in January each year. Tree-planting season in Morocco begins in mid-December, when the rains have come to loosen the soil and feed the earth. From then, HAF has a short three-month window in which to transplant all of the trees that have been growing in its 12 nurseries that are co-managed with local communities. This year, HAF is in the process of transplanting 1 million trees with communities, associations, and schools around Morocco. It is also planting 1.6 million seeds in the 12 nurseries to bring them back to full capacity. HAF’s team has already planted approximately 200,000 trees in communities since the season began, and it is working hard to plant the remaining trees before the end of March……
https://www.modernghana.com/news/1055901/haf-to-plant-trees-across-morocco-on-martin-luther.html
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Morocco’s Fight Against Illiteracy: Women Benefit More than Men

3.6 million participants benefited from literacy classes, nearly 70% are women.

By  Sanae Alouazen  - Jan 19, 2021 Rabat

The minister of Islamic affairs, Ahmed Taoufiq said that out of a total of 3.6 million beneficiaries of Morocco’s literacy program, about 70% are women. Women are more “motivated” than men to attend literacy classes, commented Taoufiq during a session in the House of Representatives. In 2001, the Moroccan government implemented a national strategy aiming to fight against illiteracy. The strategy introduced literacy classes in many mosques and schools throughout the country. An estimate of 10,000 teachers have committed to tutoring participants. 3.6 million men and women have since benefited from literacy classes. Nearly 1.4 million beneficiaries of this program are from rural areas which represents a total of 40%, added the minister. The classes’ success rate is between 80 and 85%, explained Taoufiq. Meaning 2.8 million people have learned to read and write through the government initiative…………
https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2021/01/332455/moroccos-fight-against-illiteracy-women-benefit-more-than-men/
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Morocco, US Sign Agreement to Protect Moroccan Cultural Heritage

The agreement seeks to restrict the import of cultural materials from Morocco to the US, including archaeological and ethnographic items.

By  Safaa Kasraoui  - Jan 14, 2021 Rabat

The Moroccan and US governments signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Thursday, seeking to promote and protect Morocco’s cultural heritage.
The US Embassy in Rabat issued a statement to announce the news, saying the MoU aims to protect Morocco’s tangible cultural heritage from smuggling.
The agreement also seeks to strengthen the strategic partnership between the US and Morocco, the embassy said. The MoU also restricts the import of certain archaeological and ethnographic materials from Morocco to the US……………..
https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2021/01/331941/morocco-us-sign-agreement-to-protect-moroccan-cultural-heritage/
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Amazigh Identity and Morocco’s Multicultural Challenge

January 13th marked the Amazigh New Year – Eid Yanayir – celebrated by millions in Morocco and across North Africa.

By Adina Friedman -  Jan 17, 2021

January 13th marked the Amazigh New Year – Eid Yanayir – celebrated by millions in Morocco and across North Africa.
Algeria recognized it in 2017 as a national holiday, though Morocco -known as more tolerant and inclusive – has not yet done so.
Some dismiss the holiday as a French invention with no authentic historical value, while others claim the holiday’s origins lie in the Amazigh victory over the Egyptians in the year 950 BC. For most Imazighen the holiday marks the beginning of the agrarian year and is celebrated with festivals and other cultural events.
The holiday, while itself is not political, serves as an opportunity to raise political and historical grievances connected to the Amazigh struggle for equality and for recognition of their heritage and culture…………….
https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2021/01/332209/amazigh-identity-and-moroccos-multicultural-challenge/
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Oxfam: Morocco Needs New Tax System to Reduce Social Inequalities.

The NGO says Morocco’s economic recovery during the COVID-19 crisis relies on a tax system that reduces inequalities and makes it possible to finance public sectors

By Sanae Alouazen -  Jan 17, 2021 Rabat

A new report by Oxfam has established that Morocco needs a “progressive” and more inclusive tax system to tackle deepening social inequalities and accelerate the country’s post-COVID-19 recovery. The report, titled“Fair Tax Monitor: Analysis of the Moroccan tax system,” advocates for a fair tax system in Morocco to help reduce inequalities and to further develop the country’s economy. It deals with the role of taxation in reducing social, economic, and gender inequalities particularly in the context of the COVID-19 crisis.  “The Moroccan economy has never created as much wealth as in the last twenty years,” said the report. At the same time, poverty continues to weigh heavily in official statistics. According to the report, the tax system is struggling to keep pace with the evolution of wealth creation.  It reveals that tax revenue accounted for nearly 85% of state budget revenues between 2000 and 2018. However, these taxes weigh “heavily and unfairly on a tiny category of society,” adds the report. This is also the case with an income tax which places a greater tax burden on employees. ………………
https://world.einnews.com/article_detail/534656759/oq2F0Tuu1OnxK0Of?n=2&code=I5p3xRh7196OtpCd&utm_source=NewsletterNews&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Morocco+Or+%28+Peace+Corps+Morocco+%29+Or+%28+Peace+Corps+%29+Search+Results&utm_content=article
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Eleven of the Best Moroccan Podcasts Everyone Should Follow.

The variety of Moroccan podcasts available online use this democratizing medium to uplift underrepresented voices, explore new ways of story-telling, and produce creative content.

By Sanae Alouazen - Jan 17, 2021

Learning about the pirates of Sale, exploring gender dynamics in Morocco, following thrilling true crime stories, and delving into music with members of the gender-bending Kabareh Cheikhats: The ability to explore such a variety of exciting topics is what a collection of the best Moroccan podcasts can offer any curious mind. It is no secret that podcasting has gained global popularity in recent years as a new and alternative platform for media production. There are over 43 million podcast episodes online as of January 2021, states data collected by PodcastInsights.  The MENA region has not escaped this growing trend. At the beginning of 2018, the online Arabic-speaking podcast platform, ar-podcast.com, counted 300+ podcasts. Only a year later, the platform has seen a 60% growth
In recent years, Moroccan creators began relying on this medium to explore new stories, to bypass censorship, or to offer a platform for underrepresented voices. Podcast creators view this medium as a democratizing platform that allows them to create original content and target a niche audience………
https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2021/01/332173/eleven-of-the-best-moroccan-podcasts-everyone-should-follow/=====================================================

EU Official: Morocco’s Commitment to Combat Violence Against Women Is ‘Excellent’

Despite Morocco’s continuous efforts, violence against women and girls remains a serious challenge across the country.

By Safaa Kasraoui - Jan 18, 2021 Rabat

The EU’s Ambassador to Morocco, Claudia Wiedey, has expressed satisfaction with Rabat’s efforts to combat violence against women and girls. The EU official said Morocco’s continued commitment to  combat violence against women and girls is “excellent.” The diplomat also congratulated Morocco on all its initiatives seeking to ensure gender equality. Wiedey made her remarks earlier today during a meeting in Rabat with Morocco’s Minister of Solidarity and Equality Jamila Al Moussali.  The Moroccan minister said that the meeting is part of Morocco’s national strategy that her ministry put in place to combat violence against women………….
https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2021/01/332336/eu-official-moroccos-commitment-to-combat-violence-against-women-is-excellent/
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‘Shama’: US Company to Finance Development of 1st Moroccan-Made Robot

The team of Moroccan professor and researcher Hajar Mouannif developed the project that attracted the US company.

By Safaa Kasraoui - Jan 17, 2021 Rabat

American company FotaHub will invest in a  project seeking to develop the first Moroccan-made robot called  “Shama.” Moroccan State media reported that Morocco’s expertise in artificial intelligence (AI) attracted the American company, which picked up the Shama project developed by the team of Hajar Al-Moussanif, a  professor at the Cadi Ayyad University in Marrakech.  In the first phase, the American company allocated a budget of MAD 1 million (over  $100,000) to support the necessary development of the project, which will make the first collaborative research platform within th Moroccan university ecosystem. Moulay Hassan Hbid, the president of Cadi Ayyad University and FotaHub CEO Abdelghani El-Kcinimi signed an agreement on the collaboration on January 13, Moroccan state media reported…………..
https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2021/01/332242/shama-us-company-to-finance-development-of-1st-moroccan-made-robot/
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Moroccan Feminists Call For Gender Parity in Government Positions

The current Moroccan government allocated only 11.8% of high-ranking positions to women.

By Sanae Alouazen - Jan 15, 2021 Rabat

The Democratic Association of Moroccan Women, a feminist organization, advocates in its recent report for gender parity in senior official appointments. The organization’s call to action supplements the initiative “Parity Now,” launched in October 2020.   “Where is gender parity in the appointment of high government positions?” asks the Democratic Association of Moroccan Women (ADFM) in its latest report, released on January 12.  The feminist organization considers that the appointment of senior officials is still rooted in a “regressive approach” that consecrates the “systematic exclusion” of women from decision-making positions. In fact, the current government only allocated 137 positions to women out of 1,160 senior appointments. This translates to only 11.8% of total high-level government appointments since 2012, explains the report………………..
https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2021/01/332067/moroccan-feminists-call-for-gender-parity-in-government-positions/
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Morocco Participates In Network For The Economic Empowerment Of Women

The U.S. State Department announced that the launch of the network is in line with the signing of the Abraham Accords in September 2020.

By Sanae Alouazen - Jan 15, 2021 Rabat

Businesswomen, and entrepreneurs from several countries, including Morocco, participated in the virtual launch of the United Women’s Economic Development Network on Thursday. Women from the United States, Bahrain, Morocco, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Sudan, Uzbekistan, and Kosovo participated in this virtual event. In an official statement, the U.S. State Department said the launch of the network complements the signature of the Abraham Accords in September 2020. The economic empowerment of women is central to diplomatic accords. The cross-national cooperation of women entrepreneurs facilitated through this network contributes to lasting peace in the region. The Abraham Accords refer to the joint agreement between Israel, the United States, the United Arab Emirates, Sudan, and Bahrain. The agreement marked the public normalization of ties between the Gulf countries and Israel…………..
https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2021/01/331958/morocco-participates-in-network-for-the-economic-empowerment-of-women/
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World's oldest-known starfish dating back 480 million years is unearthed in Morocco and provides the 'missing link' between modern crinoids and their ancestors.

By Ian Randall For Mailonline  20 January 2021

A fossil starfish unearthed in Morocco that dates back 480 million years is a 'missing link' between modern day crinoids and their ancestors, a study has reported. Experts from Cambridge said that the fossil — uncovered from within the so-called Fezouata shale of the Anti-Atlas mountain range — is the oldest-known starfish. It dates back to a period in Earth's history — the so-called Ordovician Biodiversification Event — when the life suddenly expanded. The previous contender for the oldest starfish specimen on record was 50 million years younger, the researchers said.  Given the scientific name 'Cantabrigiaster fezouataensis', the ancient species has an intricate design, with feathery arms still visible in its fossil specimens. The beautifully-preserved remains will allow palaeontologists to map out the new species' body in detail — and shine a light on how starfish evolved………………….
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-9164313/Fossils-Worlds-oldest-known-starfish-dating-480-million-years-unearthed-Morocco.html=====================================================

Women’s Empowerment: Growing Seeds of Self-Discovery in Morocco

January 11, 2021 By Sanae Benaadim

Women’s empowerment is a key to having a successful and bright future for Morocco. The IMAGINE Program’s main objective is to help women discover what they want most in life. So what is exactly the IMAGINE workshop? How do we empower girls and women in Morrocan rural areas?The IMAGINE program is a trip of self-discovery with women over the course of four full days. Each day has a specific format consisting of four modules divided into seven areas: emotions, relationships, sexuality, body, money, work, and discovery. 
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Twenty Women’s Empowerment Workshops in Al Haouz, Morocco

During the final weeks of 2020, Amina El Hajjami,High Atlas Foundation (HAF) Director of Projects, conducted two IMAGINE women’s empowerment workshops, funded by the U.S Embassy in Morocco. This project, managed by Mina Alaoui Kamal and Moulay Hassan Aladlouni as Project Managers, aims to bolsterring women’s development in rural areas .  The first workshop took place in the village of Sidi Ali O Fares in the Setti Fadma commune, where ten women participated. The second workshop was held in the village of Achbaro, in the Tameslouht commune of the Al Haouz province, with an additional ten women. Imane Akhezzan and I accompanied Amina as apprentices for the two workshops. After one year of observation and training, we will be able to conduct our first women’s empowerment workshops in the future, helping HAF spread its work even further into Morocco…………………….
https://highatlasfoundation.org/womens-empowerment-growing-seeds-of-self-discovery-in-morocco/
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Meet Hajiba Boumasmar, Program Coordinator of the High Atlas Foundation

January 12, 2021 By Hajiba Boumasmar

The High Atlas Foundation (HAF) is an American-Moroccan nonprofit that focuses on different areas: youth, women, water, capacity building, cuture, and agriculture. HAF’s work in the agricultural sector includes building tree nurseries, planting seeds, planting and distributing saplings and monitoring tree growth. HAF has a focused program on cooperatives funded by  USAID  called “farmer to farmer” to follow up with agricultural cooperatives and women’s cooperatives and provide them with American agricultural expertise. At HAF, we facilitate youth workshops and a special series of  Imagine  empowerment workshops to help women build and run cooperatives. The sessions include everything from managing financials to building interpersonal relationships. We distribute food where needed and we plant trees across Morocco with partners like FRÉ. We are aiming to plant 1 million trees all over Morocco by the end of March.
My role at HAF
I’ve worked for HAF for one year and gained a lot of skills and knowledge. I’ve developed a lot both professionally and personally. I have a masters degree in the biotechnology of trees and sustainable development of agriculture. I started volunteering with HAF as soon as I graduated. I’m currently responsible for the tree nurseries: monitoring the logistics, soil, saplings, and more. I work with the team that monitors the trees and distributes them. It’s amazing to see the trees grow! I’m also a program coordinator, meaning I’m the liaison with people in the field. And I’m in charge of financials……………………….
https://highatlasfoundation.org/meet-hajiba-boumasmar-program-coordinator-of-the-high-atlas-foundation/
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Women’s Empowerment with Farmer-to-Farmer in Tidili Mesfioua

January 20, 2021 By Errachid Montassir

Women’s empowerment is a crucial aspect of the High Atlas Foundation’s (HAF) work with the USAID Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) program. Last week, the F2F team took a trip to Tidili Mesfioua.  During this trip into the field, they met with two recently established women’s cooperatives: Nour Atlas Of Ait Bouali Women Cooperative and Amzawro Cooperative for Development. Both cooperatives were created after the local women participated in IMAGINE women’s empowerment workshops.  As a result, both of the new cooperatives are interested in partaking in and benefitting from the F2F program.  Here are some further updates from that trip into the field. …………………………..
https://highatlasfoundation.org/womens-empowerment-with-farmer-to-farmer-in-tidili-mesfioua/
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Fresh Approaches to Preserving Moroccan Jewish Archive Material: Marrakesh Genizah Pilot Project

December 30, 2020

The need to protect and conserve written Jewish archival material in Morocco has been identified for decades and grows more acute as the Jewish community resident in the Kingdom dwindles. Material is in danger from continued storage in unsuitable conditions leading to severe damage.  Pillaging and other related activities continue to be carried out on behalf of smugglers and unscrupulous antiquities dealers. It is possible that in rural areas in particular, the location of Genizot is known only to a few, older locals who may not be able to articulate this knowledge in the future.

At the same time, the burgeoning interest of the Jewish community, including at the academic level, on this subject suggests a particularly appropriate moment to act. The Moroccan government is strongly dedicated to cultural preservation and the Alliance of Civilizations, especially as it leads to the promotion of human development. The dedication of this project to educating Moroccan youth about the cultural historical past and its direct relevance to the present provides the opportunity to both preserve cultural artifacts that are steadily being lost while raising transformative awareness to help secure a diverse and unified future………………..
https://highatlasfoundation.org/fresh-approaches-to-preserving-moroccan-jewish-archive-material-marrakesh-genizah-pilot-project/
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‘A Girl in a Blue Shirt’ 1st Israeli Book Translated to Arabic in Morocco

The author of the novel wants to see more Israeli works translated to Moroccan Arabic in the future.

By Safaa Kasraoui -  Jan 21, 2021 Rabat

Morocco’s bookstores will soon feature the first Israeli novel translated into Arabic in the North African country. “A Girl in a Blue Shirt” is a Hebrew novel by professor Gabriel Bensimhon, the Jerusalem Post announced on January 19. The book narrates a love story between an immigrant boy from Morocco and an Israeli-born girl. The author expressed satisfaction with the achievement, saying that he realized one of his dreams……………….
https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2021/01/332779/a-girl-in-a-blue-shirt-1st-israeli-book-translated-to-arabic-in-morocco/
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Omar Hilale: Jewish Culture Is Integral to Morocco’s DNA, History

For Hilale, Morocco’s social history is the culmination of cooperation and day-to-day bonds between Amazigh (Berber), Jews, and Arabs.

By Jihad Dardar -  Jan 16, 2021

Morocco’s Permanent Representative at the UN, Omar Hilale, has said that King Mohammed VI is fully committed to preserving the country’s long-standing history of promoting peaceful cohabitation and religious tolerance between Moroccan Muslims and Jews. 

A history of cultural cohabitation
Speaking in an interview with Rabbi Arthur Schneier on Thursday, January 14, the Moroccan diplomat and the Park East synagogue Rabbi in New York talked at length about the “Israel and Morocco Reconnect,” referring to the recent rapprochement between Rabat and Tel Aviv.  They commended Morocco’s vision on preserving the country’s Jewish heritage, as well as the historically cordial relationship between Muslims and Jews in Morocco.
Hilale spoke of the centuries-old attachment Morocco has always elicited from its culturally diverse inhabitants, arguing that the bonds and connections even predate the arrival of Islam in the North African kingdom……….
https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2021/01/332165/omar-hilale-jewish-culture-is-integral-to-moroccos-dna-history/
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Morocco Becomes Second Arab Country to Allow an NGO to Combat Anti-Semitism and Anti-Zionism

By Ron Kampeas JTA -  January 19, 2021

A Moroccan nongovernmental organization has with its government’s blessing signed an agreement with the U.S. State Department to combat anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, the second such agreement in the Arab Middle East. The agreement signed Friday by El Mehdi Boudra, the president of Association Mimouna, and Elan Carr, the State Department’s envoy to combat anti-Semitism, signals the far-reaching ambition of the Trump Administration’s Abraham Accords, to normalize among Arabs the acceptance of not just Israel, but of Zionism……………….
https://www.jta.org/2021/01/17/united-states/morocco-becomes-the-second-arab-country-to-promote-combating-anti-semitism-and-anti-zionism
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US, Morocco Celebrate Signing of MoU Promoting Jewish Heritage

The US and a Moroccan NGO signed a memorandum of understanding on the fight against anti-Semitism and Islamphobia with Moroccan NGO Mimouna Association.

By Safaa Kasraoui -  Jan 19, 2021 Rabat

Elan Carr, the US Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating Anti-Semitism praised  the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Moroccan NGO imouna. The MoU aims to promote coexistence and Jewish heritage in Morocco.   During his participation in a virtual meeting, Carr also congratulated King Mohammed VI’s “vision for peace.” The meeting marked the signing of  the agreement on the fight against anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. the agreement, the US State Department and the NGO seek to develop programs that promote mutual respect and coexistence between Arab and Jewish people
The agreement also seeks to enable the programs to build on the school curriculum in Morocco, the first country in the region to include Jewish history and culture in its textbooks………………..
https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2021/01/332396/us-morocco-celebrate-signing-of-mou-promoting-jewish-heritage/
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UN Security Council Officializes US Proclamation on Western Sahara

By Toms Dumpis -  Jan 20, 2021 Agadir

The UN Security Council has published as an official document the letter which Kelly Craft, the US representative to the United Nations, sent to the UNSC containing the Presidential Proclamation recognizing the Western Sahara as a Moroccan territory. The letter, dated December 15, 2020, referred to the Presidential Proclamation concerning the sovereignty of Morocco over Western Sahara, and the US support for the Moroccan Autonomy Plan, and was submitted in the six official languages of the United Nations.  In the document, Craft urged the president of the Security Council to “circulate the present letter and its annex as a document of the Security Council.”
She also highlighted the fact that “Morocco’s autonomy proposal is ‘the only basis for a just and lasting solution to the dispute over the Western Sahara territory.’”………………..
https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2021/01/332514/un-security-council-officializes-us-proclamation-on-western-sahara/
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Morocco Day 2021: Moroccan American Network Celebrates Laayoune, Dakhla

The event underlines the rich resources of Morocco’s southern region as a hub for future US-Moroccan investments.

By Sanae Alouazen -  Jan 21, 2021 Rabat

The US-based Moroccan American Network hosted the Sixth Morocco Day event from January 17-19. The event took place virtually due to the COVID-19 health crisis.  The Moroccan American Network hosts the yearly event to celebrate relations between the two countries and to discuss opportunities for bilateral cooperation.  The 2021 Morocco Day celebrated three Moroccan cities: Laayoune, Dakhla, and Essaouira.  Under the slogan “Tourism and Handicrafts: Two Pillars for Leveraging and Repositioning the Moroccan Economy in the Post-Epidemic World,” the event discussed the path to ensure Morocco’s economic revival in these unprecedented times.  A number of businessmen and investors from the Washington area, as well as young Moroccan entrepreneurs from the cities of Laayoune and Dakhla, participated in the session. ………………………..
https://world.einnews.com/article_detail/534859213/sopc798nboaCyLz1?n=2&code=I5p3xRh7196OtpCd&utm_source=NewsletterNews&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Morocco+Or+%28+Peace+Corps+Morocco+%29+Or+%28+Peace+Corps+%29+Search+Results&utm_content=articl=====================================================

Xenodens Calminechari: Scientists Discover Extinct Reptile in Morocco

By Yahia Hatim -  Jan 21, 2021

An international team of researchers has discovered the fossils of Xenodens Calminechari, an extinct marine reptile with “shark-like cutting teeth” that lived in modern-day Morocco millions of years ago. The lizard-like creature was a mosasaur — a term defining a group of extinct large marine reptiles — which existed during the Maastrichtian time period, 72 million to 66 million years ago. The group of researchers that made the discovery included academics from Morocco, France, the Netherlands, and the UK. They published a paper about the fossils on January 16 in the scientific journal “Cretaceous Research.”
The paleontologists found the remains of the extinct reptile in the Ouled Abdoun phosphate basin, west of the Middle Atlas mountains………………….
https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2021/01/332737/xenodens-calminechari-scientists-discover-extinct-reptile-in-morocco/
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Experts Discover Extremophilic Microbial Life in Confined Spaces in Morocco.

A team of scientists led by a Moroccan professor has discovered extremophiles microbial life in confined spaces in Morocco.

By Safaa Kasraoui -  Jan 21, 2021 Rabat

An international team of experts has carried out a study that led them to discover in an extremophile’s microbial life in confined spaces in Morocco, dating back to 570 million years. The team is led by Moroccan professor Abderrazak El Albani, a professor at the Institute of Chemistry of Environments and Materials of Poitiers, in wstern France. According to the professor, the microbial life extremophile dates back to 570 million years. The team showed that microbes were able “to colonize and thrive in extremophile environments associated with a very confined volcanic lake environment” in the Ouarzazate region………………
https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2021/01/332720/experts-discover-extremophilic-microbial-life-in-confined-spaces-in-morocco/=====================================================

Snail Slime Cosmetics: INDH, Chalale Atlas Empower Moroccan Women

The women at Chalale Atlas produce several beauty products suitable for many skin types, which have been clinically tested in an accredited laboratory in Marrakech.

By Jihad Dardar -  Jan 21, 2021 Rabat

With support from Morocco’s National Initiative for Human Development (INDH), five women from the Chalale Atlas cooperative in the province of Azilal, central Morocco, are creating cosmetics made with a one-of-a-kind ingredient: Snail slime. As part of the third phase of its 2019-2023 program that aims to improve income and economic inclusion of young people, INDH provided financial support for the innovative project of MAD 150,000 ($16,722), according to Morocco’s press agency. The sum will help the Chalale Atlas cooperative in its workshops and in purchasing the equipment and material necessary to make the snail slime-based cosmetics. The INDH partnership also supports the women to better promote the project at the local and national levels. Chalale Atlas invested MAD 50,000 ($5,574) in the development of the project, whose beneficiaries have also undergone training with INDH support. This included courses about manufacturing, how to improve their beauty products in an approved laboratory, and sales and marketing techniques…………………………….
https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2021/01/332754/snail-slime-cosmetics-indh-chalale-atlas-empower-moroccan-women/
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El Otmani: Digitization to Improve Moroccans’ Access to Healthcare, Education

By Toms Dumpis - Jan 21, 2021 Agadir

Saad Eddine El Otmani, the Moroccan Head of Government, has called for speeding up the implementation of Morocco’s digital transformation programs to modernize social sectors, in accordance with the guidelines of the country’s 2020-2025 digital development plan.  Speaking at the fourth session of the Board of Directors of the Digital Development Agency (ADD) on Wednesday, January 20, El Otmani noted that the acceleration of the program would help to ensure the appropriate conditions for the expansion of social coverage in Morocco in the face of the pandemic………………
https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2021/01/332701/el-otmani-digitization-to-improve-moroccans-access-to-healthcare-education/
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Moroccan Universities to Adopt Bachelor System in 2021

Initially intended for September 2020, the new “Anglophone” system will replace the French model during the coming school year.

By Sanae Alouazen -  Jan 21, 2021

Moroccan universities are set to implement the Bachelor system as of September 2021, announced Morocco’s Minister of National Education Said Amzzazi. 
Moroccan universities initially intended to adopt the Bachelor system for the current academic year, starting in September 2020. But the launch was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 
The new system will be gradually implemented in higher education institutions. Students who enroll in the academic year  2021-2022 will be the ones affected by the change, while those who are in the second year or higher will continue their studies according to the current License, Master, Doctorate (LMD) system.
Moroccan universities are invited to submit course proposals to the National Agency for Evaluation and Quality Assurance of Higher Education starting May 2021. The agency will evaluate and approve the new curriculum before launching student registration nationwide………………….
https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2021/01/332694/moroccan-universities-to-adopt-bachelor-system-in-2021/
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Morocco Records Significant Decline in School Dropouts in 2019-2020 Season

The decline in school dropouts concerned the three education levels in Morocco.

By Safaa Kasraoui -  Jan 20, 2021 Rabat

The 2019-2020 academic year marked a decline in school drops out in Morocco, the country’s Minister of Education Saaid Amzazi announced on Tuesday.
The minister said that school dropouts in three education levels in Morocco were limited to less than 55,200 students. He said that the percentage of students who dropped out of school between the 2018 2020 school seasons moved from 2.7% to 2.1% in primary school. During the same periods, the percentage of  students who dropped out of middle schools moved from 12.1% to 10.4% and high school from 8.8% to 7.4%....................................
https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2021/01/332578/morocco-records-significant-decline-in-school-dropouts-in-2019-2020-season/
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Morocco’s Ministries To Recruit 400 People With Special Needs

The government initiative stresses the need for inclusive employment in Morocco’s public sector.

By Sanae Alouazen -  Jan 21, 2021 Rabat

The Ministry of Economy, Finance and Administrative Reform announced on Wednesday Morocco’s plan to offer 400 jobs to people with special needs.  Morocco’s government is set to organize a standardized competitive exam for people with special needs, a national campaign to recruit candidates for the 400 positions across multiple ministerial sectors, according to Morocco’s Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani.  The standardized competitive exam is scheduled for Monday, February 22, and will take place at the National Higher School for Administration in Rabat among other institutions. The government will allocate people who successfully pass the national exam for different positions according to their skills, abilities, and the needs of government sectors…………….
https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2021/01/332742/moroccos-ministries-to-recruit-400-people-with-special-needs/
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Planting Hope, Growing Peace: Models for Sustainable Peacebuilding in the MENA

Despite the pandemic’s crippling and devastating effects, there are those whose work has not waned even during these trying times.

By Adina Friedman -  Jan 21, 2021

The year 2020 has highlighted – and exacerbated – extreme disparities across and within countries and the environmental degradation we humans have caused the planet. Despite the pandemic’s crippling and devastating effects, there are those whose work has not waned even during these trying times.
These include organizations whose focus in on building sustainable communities across the Middle East and North Africa.
True peace – whether between or within countries – requires more than formal agreements or top-level policies. It entails the safety, security, and wellbeing of the societies involved. 
Among hundreds of civil society organizations working on a wide range of issues throughout the MENA, EcoPeace Middle East and the High Atlas Foundation are noteworthy; their work spans political, national, cultural, and other identity boundaries, focusing on “bottom-up” sustainable development – which includes environmental, economic, social, political, and cultural dimensions – while simultaneously working on policy change at the national and international levels. Both organizations constitute a model for – and a building block of – holistic, sustainable peace………………
https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2021/01/332738/planting-hope-growing-peace-models-for-sustainable-peacebuilding-in-the-mena/
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Chief Rabbi Pinto Opens 1st Jewish Kindergarten in Morocco

By Yahia Hatim - Jan 18, 2021

The chief rabbi of the Jewish community in Morocco, Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto, has opened the first Jewish kindergarten in Morocco. The institution is located at the Driss Slaoui boulevard in Casablanca. Jewish NGO Shuva Maroc, chaired by rabbi Pinto, announced the inauguration of the educational institution last week.
According to a press release from the organization, the kindergarten will allow Jewish families living in Casablanca to initiate their children to Judaism and Jewish history. “This project founded by Chief Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto aims to enable Jewish families to educate their children in an Orthodox religious framework, and to consolidate the rabbi’s program to establish a real framework meeting the expectation of practicing Jewish families in Morocco,” the press release said……………………
https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2021/01/332310/chief-rabbi-pinto-opens-1st-jewish-kindergarten-in-morocco/
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Moroccan Visual Artist MACHIMA’s Mural Art in Morocco’s Cities

“I see murals as a way to break the ‘monopole’ of art by the elite, and sort of democratizing it to be seen and consumed by everyday people.”

By  Jihad Dardar  - Jan 17, 2021

Among the incredible art forms that adorn the cities of Morocco is mural art, made by many skilled visual artists such as Annassi Mehdi, “MACHIMA.” People around the world know the North African kingdom for its beautiful architecture that mixes the Moorish, Islamic, and European styles. It is also famous for its artisanal handcrafts, from woodworking to leather products, to enchanted lanterns, to embroidery, to traditional clothes. Mural art is one of the most ancient arts in history. Historians have found engravings that date back to thousands of years, showcasing the art of people of the past in different parts of the world.
Originating from urban cultures in Morocco such as pop art, hip hop, fashion, and punk, the country’s visual and contemporary art has definitely developed through the years………
https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2021/01/332188/moroccan-visual-artist-machimas-mural-art-in-moroccos-cities/=====================================================

Five Historical Mausoleums You Should Visit in Morocco

A mausoleum is a large monumental tomb for a deceased leader or another person of great importance.

By Wissal Dardar -  Jan 16, 2021

Morocco is a country that deeply cherishes and honors its leaders in historical mausoleums with lavish architecture that you should visit. Civilizations have used mausoleums for thousands of years. The Pyramids of Egypt are an early example of tombs of the Pharaohs as is the Taj Mahal, the ivory-white marble mausoleum in the city of Angra that was built for Mumtaz Maḥal, the wife of the emperor Shah Jahan. The term mausoleum originates from the name of the former leader of Caria, King Mausolus. After his death, his wife ordered his remains to be entombed above the ground in a beautiful and elegant building, known now as the Mausoleum at Halikarnassos, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Moroccan leaders have been, and always will be, historical influential rulers. It is therefore only logical that they have their own mausoleums for future generations to visit and pay their respect, connect with their heritage, as well as receive blessings in “Moussems.”……………………………………
https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2021/01/332072/5-historical-mausoleums-you-should-visit-in-morocco/
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“Reflet” Exhibition Promoting Art in Morocco Amid COVID-19

The art sector in Morocco is slowly rising back after being heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

By Jihad Dardar -  Jan 17, 2021

The “Living 4 Art” Gallery in Casablanca launched on Saturday a group exhibition to showcase several plastic artworks by 20 Moroccan and African visual artists. Under the theme of “Reflect,” the event is set to creatively explore the COVID-19 crisis in Morocco; it will be open to the public between January 18-31. According to organizers, the Exhibition aims to bring plastic artists together, promote their art to a bigger audience, and provide a space for meeting and exchange between artists and lovers of plastic art.

Living 4 Art is an art gallery in Casablanca that seeks to promote all forms of art in Morocco through organized group exhibitions under several themes, giving artists the chance to exhibit their art and expand their social and professional networks.
For this year, the gallery’s exhibition is set to feature some sixty artwork from a number of emerging and established Moroccan artists, including Salma Zaghba, Saidi Imane, Imane Mansir, Abdennaser Benabbou, Zineb Idrissi, and Ashwaq Mohamed. ……
https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2021/01/332216/reflet-exhibition-promoting-art-in-morocco-amid-covid-19/
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Dakhla Crowned Dream Destination 2021

Morocco’s National Tourism Office is set to position Dakhla as a first-class seaside destination.

By Sanae Alouazen -  Jan 18, 2021 Rabat

Morocco’s National Tourism Office (ONMT) and Tourisma Post have crowned Dakhla “Dream Destination 2021.” Following a major survey conducted by Morocco’s office of tourism and the tourism-oriented website Tourisma Post, Dakhla won the votes as the craze for the destination continues to grow.  The leading staff of the National Tourism Office visited Dakhla on Friday to present trophies to the city officials and to the most deserving tourism professionals of the region.
The event celebrates an “outstanding destination” and underlines Morocco’s efforts to position Dakhla on the international scene as a “first-class seaside destination,” underlines the office’s director, Adel El Fakir in a press release. ………………………………………
https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2021/01/332329/dakhla-crowned-dream-destination-2021/
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