Six older volunteers forced to return from abroad are now helping combat COVID-19 at home
by Dena Bunis, AARP, June 3, 2021
Pandemic didn't stop her
Although Elizabeth Burke was evacuated from her Peace Corps assignment after only three months in the field, she has remained connected to the people she was working with in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco — virtually.
Burke had been teaching English as a second language and was helping women establish a sewing cooperative in the mountain community. For years Burke, 56, had worked in the restaurant industry, most recently as a general manager for a high-end vegetarian restaurant in Chicago. She was going to put those foodie skills to work to create a baking cooperative, but before she got the chance it looked like the pandemic was going to nix that objective.
It didn't. “The Peace Corps started a virtual service program, a chance for us volunteers to continue our service remotely, Burke says.” Since March , Burke has gotten on regular Zoom calls and has even done some baking. It hasn't been without its challenges. Burke had to replicate in the U.S. the ingredients her new Moroccan friends had and adapt to the importance the women there place on making sure what they are baking not only tastes good but looks good as well…………………..
You can now view A Towering Task from the comfort of your own home through our virtual theatrical release. Just purchase a ticket through any of these theaters and you will have 72 hours to watch the film online.
"Enlightening and uplifting. 'A Towering Task' puts a human face on the Peace Corps - and makes sense of its history of idealism, improvisation, politics, and at times its failings. It is the most coherent and satisfying documentary I know of the Peace Corps, and I can't imagine a better one." - Paul Theroux, Travel Writer & Novelist.
Telling the Story of the Peace Corps
Founded during the Cold War, the Peace Corps stands as an icon of American idealism. From the beginning its mission of world peace and friendship proved to be a towering task. Imbued with the unbounded energy and vision of its charismatic leader, Sargent Shriver, and thousands of vigorous volunteers, the story of the Peace Corps is a uniquely American tale. From the political machinations to establish not just a brand new government agency, but a new concept in international relations, to the growing pains of an agency striving to define its mission, A Towering Task takes viewers on a journey of what it means to be a global citizen…
Assahifa From Rabat July 4, 2021
King Mohammed VI has sent a message of congratulations to U.S. President Joe Biden on the occasion of his country's Independence Day. The king expresses, in the message, his best wishes for good health and happiness to President Biden, wishing the American people further progress prosperity………………..
Morocco and the US are celebrating their 200-year friendship this year, with both countries determined to strengthen bilateral relations in all aspects.
Safaa Kasraoui, July 4th, 2021 Rabat
King Mohammed VI has cabled a message of congratulations to US President Joe Biden in celebration of the US Independence Day.
In the message, the King expressed his warm congratulations and sincere wishes for “health, happiness, and peace of mind to President Biden and further progress and prosperity to the American people.” The King also expressed his willingness to commemorate with President Biden on the “bicentenary of the Tangier legation,” Morocco offered to the US.
Morocco and the US celebrated the 200th anniversary of the founding of the American Legation in Tangier this year, with officials on both cites saying that the building is an embodiment of the longstanding, centuries-old, and improving friendship between the US and Morocco……
May 27, 2021
The Reading Wikipedia in the Classroom initiative aims to break down stereotypes about Wikipedia and provide vital digital literacy to Moroccan educators.
Grace Holden, July 07th, 2021
The Wikimedia Foundation developed the teacher training initiative, “Reading Wikipedia in the Classroom,” with the goal of equipping educators with vital media and information literacy skills. Morocco has been one of just three countries to pilot the scheme, which adapted to fit the local context of Morocco’s education system.
With on-the-ground coordinators employed in each location, the foundation implemented the teacher training scheme in Bolivia, Morocco, and the Philippines.
After completion of the training scheme, teachers had all the skills necessary to understand how media is produced, access and evaluate content online, and recognize biases and knowledge gaps in the information consumed. The Wikimedia Foundation is a nonprofit organization supporting information sharing platforms like Wikipedia, to cultivate a thriving online environment of accessible knowledge. In addition, the Wikimedia Foundation is responsible for hosting Wikipedia and guarding its status as a free encyclopedia, which volunteers create, edit, and verify. The Wikimedia Foundation is also host to a wide range of wider projects in the realm of free knowledge. ……
The researchers recommend training educators better and providing students with the appropriate material means for an effective education.
Oussama Aamari July 05th, 2021 Rabat
A new study published in the Moroccan Journal for Educational Research and Evaluation warned that online learning in Morocco could have negative consequences for students who live in rural areas or belong to lower classes.
The study was published under the title “Distance Education In The School District Of Morocco: Means And Obstacles - The Case Of Rural Areas Of The Provincial Directorate Of Sidi Bennour” and surveyed 90 students on their experience with distance learning.
Abdeljallil Ait Ali and Brahim Tarqi, the researchers behind the study, attribute these difficulties to a host of reasons, including lacking infrastructure, the socio-economic conditions for students and families in rural areas, as well as the national educational policies being unsuited to online learning……
Muhammad Nour is the latest beneficiary of free governmental support to ensure and equitable access to education.
Toms Dumpis, June 27th, 2021 Rabat
An autistic young man, Muhammad Nour, received his baccalaureate degree in physics with high grades, reflecting Morocco's recent efforts to secure education for some of society's most vulnerable.
Moroccan advocate for disabled persons and elected representative of Morocco's Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), Soumia Amrani, shared the news on Facebook. Amrani also noted that Said Amzazi, Morocco's Minister of National Education, Vocational Training, Higher Education and Scientific Research, "made a promise and fulfilled it," referring to Morocco's latest efforts to make education more inclusive.
Nuor's distinguished grades and his graduation are "evidence that the right to upbringing and inclusive education together are required to transcend individuals to turn into a pride for the nation," said Amrani on Facebook………………………
A group of Engineering students at Boston University has developed a sustainable water collection method they say will tackle water scarcity in arid regions like Western Morocco.
Shaquile Goff, June 15th, 2021
Engineering students from Boston University (BU) have tested a revolutionary design intended to make water collection a monumentally easier task in arid locations around the world. The students submitted the invention for review and won first prize at the “Born Competition for Innovation in Sustainability” hosted by BU. For this year’s competition, the candidates focused on utilizing “biomimicry,” or copying designs that are already in use by plants or animals, and applying these methods to solve human problems, according to the school.
The team decided Western Morocco would be a prime testing ground for the tower, due to both its arid conditions and its proximity to the Atlantic ocean. The design works by collecting water molecules from nearby bodies of water, eliminating the need for any desalination or purification equipment. The BU biotower is designed to be “six meters tall” and functions by “using water-repellent nylon rope to guide the condensation droplets down into a collection tank,” according to BU. ………………….
Morocco ranks in the top 30% of countries in the Global Cybersecurity Index’s 2020 ranking.
Michael Sauers, July 05th, 2021 Rabat
The Global Cybersecurity Index (GCI) 2020 report ranked Morocco at 50th out of 181 countries worldwide. Concerned primarily with countries’ progress in their commitments to responding to cybersecurity challenges, the report ranks countries based on a variety of parameters related to cybersecurity. According to the GCI, “the index maps 82 questions on Member State cybersecurity commitments across five pillars: legal measures, technical measures, organizational measures, capacity development measures, and cooperation measures.” Morocco ranked 18.40 in legal measures, 17.94 in technical measures, 12.37 in organizational measures, 15.24 in capacity development, and 18.46 in cooperation measures.
First launched in 2015, the GCI has tracked how countries manage their online networks and secure the information of internet users. ……
The remains were originally found during a renovation campaign in the city.
Oussama Aamari, July 02, 2021 Rabat
Morocco’s Ministry of Culture, Youth, and Sports announced today that a crew has discovered several remains and underground structures in the centre of the Medina in Sale, Rabat's twin city specifically in “Foundouk Al Kaa Al Kadima.” The announcement comes after a month-long excavation campaign, following construction workers' accidental discovery of the structures while working on the renovation project in the Ancient Medina in Sale.
The Ministry mentioned in the official statement that an investigation was conducted upon the discovery of the ruins by construction crews, before informing the other parties involved in the project that excavation would begin in June.
The campaign was led by Dr. Lahcen Taouchikht, who is the head of the Islamic Archeology Department at the National Institute for Archeological Sciences and Heritage (INSAP), in collaboration with the Regional Directorate of Cultural Affairs and a specialized company in the domain……
Yossef Ben-Meir 03 July 2021
The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aspire to be universal, addressing globally relevant issues through earnest objectives. Despite the common good that they represent, fundamental problems exist with the goals. They fail to explicitly align with what we know is vital for sustainability: local people’s participation.
Also, the process of how the 17 SDGs were conceived was not based on the totality of local communities’ needs worldwide. As a result, the people whose lives the goals are meant to improve remain largely unaware of them even though it is essential that they feel vested in them in order to use them as helpful guides for action.
One of the features of the goals is their global applicability in a vast range of contexts, including that of a pandemic. Given our endless cultural variation, it is difficult to prescribe an approach that can be appropriate and effective in all situations. Yet they need to be more than detached visions. They need to be actionable objectives at a community level……………….
“I fail at being a Moroccan in Morocco,” say many Moroccans who left home very early and who have since struggled with issues of authentic identity and belonging.
Salma El Aichi; July 07th, 2021
As she recounts her experiences of living outside of Morocco since the age of 3, Salma Dine, who is now 20, tells Morocco World News her entire life has been littered with a self-perception crisis, a lingering uncertainty about belonging, a sense of who she is at bottom, and what really counts as home. ……
Michael Page Africa, a renowned recruitment agency, recently released its report on the Moroccan job market in 2021.
Oussama Aamari, July 06th, 2021 Rabat
A new report on the condition of Morocco’s job market, released by recruitment agency Michael Page, concluded that the two most important factors for Morocco to recover after the COVID-19 pandemic are an improved digital revolution, and a stronger e-commerce sector.
The report explored 12 different sectors of the economy, analyzing the job market and its challenges both from the employer and employee perspectives. The agency based these conclusions on various observations from its recruitment agents and customers.
For most of the sectors examined, and particularly for the commerce and banking sectors, Michael Page concluded that the digital revolution will play an extremely important role in the economic development of Morocco.
This recommendation comes following attempts by Morocco and the rest of the world to revive their economies from the decline caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result of the crisis, digital services have proven to be incredibly useful, as people were encouraged to stay home to prevent further outbreaks.
Banning titles such as "Moulay", "Sidi", "Lalla", allowing Amazigh transcriptions, a hermaphrodite clause, and the digitization of the Civil Status system are some of the many highlights of Morocco’s new amended Civil Status law.
Khouloud Haskouri, July 4th, 2021 Rabat
Morocco’s House of Representatives has approved a draft law amending the country’s existing Civil Status laws.
The amended bill was adopted by the Government Council on June 17, and was submitted to the Committee of the Interior of the House of Representatives for examination on Tuesday, June 29.
The new amendments to the civil status bill, numbered 36.21, addresses several widely discussed issues. In the context of birth certificates, Article 33 of the new law stipulates that last names must be "neither a family name, nor a name composed of more than two first names, nor a city, village or tribal name, as it must not be of a nature to harm public morals or public order." The article also bans first names that may be the object of mockery……………
While setting an ambition for the Kingdom by 2035, the Special Commission on the Development Model defines five interdependent and complementary development objectives for a prosperous, inclusive, sustainable, daring and skilled Morocco and proposes to support the development objectives with a series of indicators .
In its report, presented to King Mohammed VI on Tuesday, the Special Commission on the Development Model devotes a part to «Morocco's ambition by 2035». It is a «value proposition that expresses and characterizes the direction and the level of development desired by 2035», which «plays the role of a compass» and «reflects the main aspirations of Moroccans», reads the report.
«In 2035, Morocco is a democratic country, where everyone is fully able to take charge of their future and release their potential, to live in dignity within an open, diverse, fair and equitable society.It is a country that creates value, which grows its potential in a sustainable, shared and responsible manner.Capitalizing on its significant progress at the national level, Morocco is establishing itself as an exemplary regional power, at the forefront of the major challenges facing the world»……………………..
The report on the new development model offers a future vision which should serve as the basis for Morocco's future programs by 2035, the Head of Government Saad Dine El Otmani said on Tuesday.
In a statement to the press after his participation in the presentation ceremony of the general report of the Ad-hoc Committee on the Development Model, a copy of which was presented to HM King Mohammed VI by the president of the said body, El Otmani said that political, economic and civil society actors "now have the bases and tools to adopt in order to achieve Morocco's objectives of skills, development, social justice and sustainable development"……
Israeli newspaper Haaretz has published an investigation into the treatment of Moroccan Jews following their migration to Israel.
Jaspwer Hamann, July 8th, 2021 Rabat
Israeli newspaper Haaretz has published a remarkable report on the mistreatment Morocco’s Jewish diaspora faced upon arrival in Israel. “If you want my advice, stay in North Africa,” states one the letters used by historian, Shay Hazkani, to detail the far-reaching discrimination suffered by Moroccan Jews.
The Tel Aviv-based newspaper Haaretz today, June 8, published its eye-opening investigation on Morocco’s diaspora that migrated to Israel following WWII. The outlet used recently archived letters by Moroccan members of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) that have been published as part of historian Shay Hazkani’s new book, “Dear Palestine: A Social History of the 1948 War.” For years the Israeli army monitored and censored personal correspondence by its troops, some of which has now been published in the IDF archives, although they are not available to the public.
The personal letters by Moroccan IDF soldiers express a deep sense of injustice with the way Sephardic Jews from Morocco were treated vis-a-vis the Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants from Europe……………………
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