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Morocco Week in Review 
November 10, 2018

Virtual Magazine of Morocco on the Web

Stevens Initiative Opens Competition to Fund Virtual Exchange Programs Connecting Youth in the United States, Middle East, and North Africa

Washington, DC, August 8, 2018 

The Stevens Initiative today opened the 2018 competition to fund virtual exchange programs in the United States and the Middle East and North Africa in order to help young people gain the collaboration, language, problem-solving skills, technical and vocational skills, as well as the familiarity with and empathy for different perspectives, that they need to succeed in today’s economy and society.
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“Don’t forget me”

Three families. One hope.

In a country where autistic kids are forgotten, how do you teach your children to survive without you?

Don't Forget Me follows three Moroccan families with children on the autism spectrum whose parents are struggling to educate them in a country where children with disabilities do not have a right to go to school. The documentary was inspired by Jackie Spinner's two Moroccan-born sons, who also are autistic and now living in the United States. Spinner, a journalist and former Baghdad bureau chief for The Washington Post, returned to Morocco with her sons in 2017 to make this film. The 28-minute documentary is in Arabic and subtitled in English for a U.S. audience and in Amazigh for a Moroccan audience. Initial funding for the film was provided through grants from Columbia College Chicago and the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting. The doc team is made up almost exclusively of young Moroccans. The executive producer, producer and associate producer are all women.
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‘Don’t Forget Me’ Film Reminds Morocco of its Children with Autism
How aware is Moroccan society of autism? The “Don’t Forget Me” film at Rabat’s International Film Festival promises an honest take on what it is like to raise a child with autism in Morocco
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Americans Singing in Tashlheit

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Empowering Teenage Girls in a Traditional Village and Across Morocco.

By Marjorie Olster Aug. 17, 2018 DOUAR LAADAM, Morocco

In a tiny Moroccan village on the outskirts of Marrakesh, dozens of teenage girls wrapped up a session of after-school activities by shouting affirmations: “I am strong! I am smart! I am capable!” they cried out. “I am a leader! I am a feminist!”. Such a scene might be unremarkable in the West. But it is extraordinary for this Muslim-majority country in North Africa, especially in Douar Laadam, a poor, semirural village where many teenage girls drop out of school around puberty to marry and start families. Maryam Montague — a former humanitarian aid worker turned hotelier, designer and self-described “social entrepreneur” — came up with the idea of giving these girls a voice through a program she created, Project Soar.
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Women This Week: Morocco’s #MeToo Moment

Women from various regions of Morocco protest against violence towards women, in Rabat. The placard reads, "Stopping harassment gives dignity for women." REUTERS/Youssef Boudlal
Welcome to “Women Around the World: This Week,” a series that highlights noteworthy news related to women and U.S. foreign policy. This week’s post, covering October 26 to November 2, was compiled with support from Rebecca Turkington and Ao Yin.
by Rachel Vogelstein  November 5, 2018

#MeToo Campaign Rises in Morocco
Following a spate of sexual assaults in Morocco that garnered national attention, a new social media campaign swept the nation under the hashtag #Masaktach, meaning “I will not be silent,”  which experts describe as a Moroccan iteration of the #MeToo movement. Zineb Belmkaddem, one of the organizers behind #Masaktash, said leaders aim to encourage Moroccan women to raise their voices against all forms of inequality. As a result of the Twitter campaign, two Moroccan radio stations, Radio 2M and HitRadio, announced that they would no longer air the music of Saad Lamjarred, a Moroccan pop star who is facing three separate charges of rape in France.
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HomeSick in Morocco.

Alexandria Saurman Equinox Staff

I’m over 3,700 miles from home with a five-hour time difference. Neither of my parents have access to cellular Internet, and I cannot text numbers outside of Morocco. I walk 20 minutes to class every morning through a neighborhood I’m unfamiliar with and study a language I’ve never attempted before. Studying abroad is unlike anything I’ve done before, with all new experiences and opportunities Unfortunately, it also begets homesickness, something that’s not easily overcome. How do you deal with being homesick when you’re so far away and for such a long time?

Amzazi: Mariam Amjoun is ‘A Source of Pride for Moroccan Schools’

By Tarek Bazza - Rabat

Minister of Education Said Amzazi has received Mariam Amjoun, who won the 2018 Arab Reading Challenge at a ceremony honoring her. The 9-year-old prodigy Mariam Amjoun is “a source of pride for Morocco and for  the Moroccan schools,” the minister said Friday. Amjoun’s dedication to reading at the international contest of the “Challenge of Arabic reading” will allow Moroccans to “regain confidence in the education system,” said Amzazi.
Amjoun returned to Morocco Friday from Abu Dhabi

Morocco’s #Masaktach Campaign Invites Women to Use Whistles If Harassed

A new hashtag, #ila_dsser_seffri (If he catcalls, whistle), has emerged urging women to use whistles in response to street harassment.

By Ahlam Ben Saga - Rabat

The new Law 103-13 to eliminate violence against women, sexual harassment, and gender-based discrimination, which went into effect on September 12, promises prison sentences ranging from one to six months for people who sexually harass in public spaces. Harassment is defined, by use of words, acts or signals of a sexual nature for sexual purposes. Sexual harassment continues to plague Morocco. The masaktach (I won’t be silent) movement, which started in September, aims to shed light on and counter the discrimination and violence targeting women in Morocco.

Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar Become First Muslim Congresswomen in US Elections

For the first time in history, two Muslim women, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, have been voted into the US Congress.

By Morocco World News Nov 7, 2018 Rabat- 

Rashida Tlaib, the daughter of Palestinian immigrants, was born in Detroit, Michigan. She won over Michigan’s 13th congressional district on a progressive platform.
Ilhan Omar, a Somali-American who fled civil war in Somalia at age 14, won over Minnesota’s fifth congressional district in last night’s elections. Similarly to Tlaib, Omar ran a progressive campaign calling for universal healthcare and affordable university tuition.

A New Taste of Marrakesh

The ancient Moroccan city is being reinvigorated by local entrepreneurs opening their own cafes, bars and riads, while embracing tradition.

By Dan Saltzstein  Oct. 8, 2018

Twenty years after my first visit, some things about Marrakesh remain remarkably similar. The medina — the labyrinthine old part of the city — is still partly populated by stooped men in djellabas and the occasional donkey-led cart. The late afternoon light hits the high walls of its alleys in warming hues of yellow and orange. It still feels, at times, that everyone wants to sell you something.Around dusk, the Jemaa el Fna, the medina’s main square, still goes through the same transformation: Juice vendors and the occasional snake charmer are replaced by a dizzying array of food stalls and circles of musicians.

Some things, though, have changed. Those donkey carts now share space with cheap scooters, which spin around corners spewing growls and plumes of exhaust. (My Moroccan translator and travel companion, Abdellah Aboulhamid, told me that, owing to the spike in accidents, a wing of the city hospital had adopted a nickname: C90, the scooter’s model name.) In 1998, taking a photo of one of those musical performances in the square meant interrupting it while one of the musicians demanded payment. Today, payment is demanded for cellphone videos……………..

Abraham Serfaty: Morocco's Mandela

Moroccan dissident Abraham Serfaty was jailed, tortured and exiled for his radical views over decades.

06 Nov 2018  Filmmaker: Mostafa Bouazzaoui

For almost his whole political career, Abraham Serfaty was a thorn on the side of authorities in Rabat, both during the days of French rule and later, under the reign of King Hassan II.
Described by his closest supporters as "the Moroccan Mandela", Serfaty endured 17 years of imprisonment, torture and 13 years of exile for his political views, including his opposition to Morocco's position on Western Sahara. Part of the minority Jewish population in Morocco, he never embraced Zionism. After the 1967 war, he distanced himself from Israel and became a vocal advocate for the Palestinian resistance movement, a burning issue that dominated discussion on Arab streets at the time.

Half of Moroccan University Students Drop out Before Graduation.

In Morocco, 47.2 percent of undergraduates drop out before obtaining a degree or certificate.

By Ahlam Ben Saga  - Rabat

While the unemployment rate for graduates with higher education degrees is double the unemployment rate for the general population, nearly half of university students will not go on to get a degree.
The Ministry of Education discussed the statistics at a Parliamentary session on Monday. Moroccan universities currently have 860,000 students, 42 percent of whom are female students and 244,000 of whom are freshmen. Morocco still has a comparatively low rate of students in higher education. Only 37 percent of the Moroccan population aged 18 to 22 choose to enroll in universities, according to the Ministry of Education.

US LGS Import Company Expects ‘Optimum’ Citrus from Morocco

US leading importer and distributor of fresh fruits LGS Specialty Sales has announced the beginning of its Spanish and Moroccan citrus season.

By Tarek Bazza - Rabat

LGS Specialty Sales is expecting shipments to arrive in the US from November to April, according to a company statement published by Fresh Fruit Portal. Luke Sears, president and founder of LGS, said that the company is “expecting a large crop” from Morocco and Spain “thanks to a strong growing season.” Sears continued, “This year’s increased volume of Chilean W. Murcotts [mandarins]has allowed us to import fruit of optimum maturity from Spain and Morocco, paving the way for a smooth transition period later in the season.” Spanish and Moroccan clementines, according to Sears, will be “at peak flavor by the second week of December.

A Journey to a Moroccan village frozen in Time.

After discovering the story of a remarkable five-person expedition from 1955, a lone explorer sets off for the Moroccan mountains to follow in their footsteps.

By Liza Foreman 2 November 2018

Our vehicle wound ever higher up the earthen road cutting through Morocco’s High Atlas mountains. Below me, the red soil spilled like wine between green dots of forest and sheets of white snow. I lost myself in the dizzying beauty of North Africa’s tallest peaks, and as I nervously peered out of the window, I saw there was no guardrail separating us from the sharp ledge and distant valley below

French Montana Reportedly Funding The Creation Of Two Preschools In Morocco

J'na Jefferson | November 1, 2018

French Montana is giving back to his home of Morocco in a very big way. The Bad Boy MC is reportedly putting money towards helping to build two preschools in the country.“The “Unforgettable” rapper is working with the Sabae School of Fida-Mers Sultan district,” writes TMZ. “… we’re told his donation will be able to provide supplies and sustain the classrooms for at least a few years.”
French is originally from Morocco and moved to America at the age of 13. He has been very candid about being an immigrant and was granted U.S. citizenship earlier this year. It’s clear that he hasn’t forgotten his roots and works tirelessly to help those less fortunate than he is.

Korean Youtuber Becomes Moroccan Sensation

Naelle Song is a Korean woman who grew up in Morocco. She started a YouTube channel to share her love of Moroccan culture; and her positive and upbeat personality has captured the hearts of Moroccan fans. Her channel exploded this year, and she now has over 50,000 subscribers.

Morocco’s Early Snowfall Delights Some, Burdens Others

While many Moroccans have welcomed the early snowfall, locals in Morocco’s mountain areas are wary of the heavy snow and cold wave.

By Ahlam Ben Saga- Nov 5, 2018 Rabat

The early cold wave and snow have taken Morocco by surprise, especially in relation to the government’s plans to handle the consequences of the weather. The early snowfalls beginning late in October in the Atlas Mountains towns and cities of Azrou, Midelt, Boulemane, Taza, El Hajeb, Imouzzer, and Ifrane brought joy to many Moroccans. But a week of rain has flooded cities like Casablanca, and 1.2 meters of snow has isolated people in the mountains of Ouarzazate, Boulemane, Azilal, Haouz, and Beni Mellal.

Morocco: Interactive Radio, TV And Social Media To Enhance True Values Of Islam – OpEd

November 4, 2018 By Said Temsamani

Inspirational Islamic quotes and sayings of the prophet Mohammed are there to uplift those Muslims who feel drifted away from the true Islam teachings based on respect, understanding and tolerance. Muslims refer themselves to those sayings while seeking inspirations when life challenges them. They enable them to reflect on themselves, fix that broken heart, understand Allah’s teachings. However, and on many occasions, people come across, hear or read on Facebook false interpretations of the Prophet Mohammad’s teachings and sometimes used them to justify violence, misdeeds or even to adapt an extremist ideology. Unfortunately, there is no interactive way to correct those false conceptions among the worshippers especially among the youth. For this reason, a program of interactive radio, TV and social media was initiated today in Morocco to enlighten people concerning the authentication of the prophet’s tradition and words, and their protection as a second source of Islam.

Morocco Accused Of ‘Regression Of Human Rights’

4 Nov, 2018  in Current Events by Hollie Eaton

On 1 November, leading human rights group the Moroccan Association of Human Rights (AMDH) publicly denounced a “regression of human rights” in the North African country. In a report that covered actions of the state throughout 2017 and the first half of this year, AMDH detailed “the repression of several movements,” including those of human rights activists, journalists and social issue campaigners.

Morocco’s Recipe for Success: Integration and Interfaith

On October 4 and 5, Mecca-based NGO Muslim World League, headed by Saudi Arabia's former Justice Minister Muhammad bin Abdul Karim Al Issa, hosted the second annual conference on cultural rapprochement between the United States and the Muslim world.

By Irina Tsukerman - New York

The conference, held at the Ziegfeld Ballroom in New York, brought together noted theologians, representatives of the US State Department, analysts, and others for two days of open discussions on a variety of subjects central to Muslims, Christians, and Jews.

Monarchy at Forefront of Morocco’s Efforts to Counter Extremism

King Mohammed VI of Morocco who has also the spiritual title of Commander of the faithful has been at the forefront of initiatives aiming to showcase the lofty values of Islam underpinned by coexistence and tolerance. The Monarch has indeed launched yet another initiative that fosters the moderate interpretation of the Maliki-Ashari school of Sunni Islam and counters religious extremism.

A one-man mission to save Sephardic spiritual treasures

Rabbi and Professor Moshe Amar rummages through ancient basements in Morocco in order to save ancient Jewish manuscripts and inscriptions; 'the interest in folklore has pushed out religious texts and the academia has shut it out.'

Tali Farkash 11. 02.18

Rabbi Prof. Moshe Amar, one of the greatest scholars of Oriental Jewry, went on a mission to track down and examine Sephardic ancient manuscripts, inscriptions and letters before they disappear into oblivion. Amar is a rare find in Israel's academia. He is a Mizrahi Jew who wears a black kippah, a Rabbi, but also a professor. For years he has been alone in this mission to find and preserve the cultural treasures of North Africa, while trying to interest various culture institutions in funding his research.,7340,L-5375731,00.html

Morocco Launches Toll-Free Number for Moroccans Overseas.

By Safaa Kasraoui - Nov 3, 2018 Rabat

Foreign minister Nasser Bourita said in a meeting with the press on Thursday that the initiative is an “important step forward.” The hotline will allow Moroccans to track the processing of passports and other files. According to Bourita, the toll-free number will make Moroccans living abroad less dependent on visiting Moroccan consulates. Bourita added that the project is the result of four years of preparations. He expects that it will increase transparency and the “adoption of  unified criteria for transactions and administrative documents.”

How Scholarships and Study Grants are Advancing Morocco’s Soft Power in Africa

Tamba François Koundouno- Nov 3, 2018 Rabat

Ozy Media, which earlier this year touted the North African country as “the new emerging African power,” would answer with a resounding “yes. But Ozy is not alone in this thinking.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) also looks upon Morocco’s economic prospects favorably. Similarly, the World Bank hails Morocco as a promising market for doing business, despite minor, persistent structural and bureaucratic issues.

Traversing Morocco By Bus

By Contributor

Unlike their revered, rail-bound cousins, long-distance buses are considered more of a necessary evil than rewarding travel experience. These unsightly, lumbering machines have a reputation for being uncomfortable, unpleasant and tireless champions of the very worst in musical radio. But, when plying the right route, traversing a country by bus can be a genuine delight, offering penny-pinching travellers a front-row view of the world’s scenic byways and lesser-seen landscapes, as well as granting opportunities to meet memorable characters and tuck in to local delicacies en route.

How to See Marrakech in Less than 2 Days

If you want to visit Marrakech but only have two days, not to worry! Lace up your walking shoes and get ready to experience a vibrant and busy sightseeing tour.

By Mohamed Bella -  Nov 3, 2018

There’s an old saying in Marrakech, “Once you get a taste of the Red City, you will never be the same again.” Marrakech will open its gates to mesmerize and indulge the senses of all tourists and wanderlusting travelers.

Couscous: A Must Have Dish In Morocco

By Taste Atlas

Numerous tiny, light, tender grains, ideally arranged to form a pyramid and served on a platter at the end of a meal – that is couscous, the national dish of Morocco and a must-have dish in any Moroccan restaurant. The word itself refers both to the complete dish and the tiny grains of semolina. Semolina flour is sprinkled with water until it forms into tiny pellets that are then pushed through a sieve. Couscous is usually prepared on Fridays for lunch, when whole families get together for the most important meal of the week. The dish is traditionally made in a metal steamer pot called a couscoussier, where the stew is on the bottom, while the small grains are in the perforated basket on top, cooking in the steam that is rising from the rich stew.

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