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Morocco Week in Review 
September 15, 2018

Virtual Magazine of Morocco on the Web

Oakville vintner Linda Neal joins Peace Corps, heads to Morocco

Tim Carl Sep 11, 2018

Last Christmas, during a family celebration, longtime Napa Valley vintner and grape grower Linda Neal asked to speak with her sister, Sandy Surratt, privately. Surratt pictured the worst. “I knew she’d been getting a lot of medical checks and so for a moment I thought, ‘Oh, no, something is wrong with her health,’” Surratt said. “But then my worry turned to ‘Wow!’ when she told me she’d joined the Peace Corps and would be heading to Morocco in the fall.” ………………….

Williams ’18 to Serve in Peace Corps

Sept. 10, 2018

As a junior, Williams’ three-and-a-half month sociology program in Amsterdam consisted of a two-week excursion to Morocco, where she discovered her “love for North Africa,” and met with a Moroccan student, who shared his experience of growing up with a Peace Corps volunteer in his village. “His volunteer was like family to him,” Williams said. “He looked up to them and he’s still in contact with that person, and I thought, ‘That’s what I want to do. I need to go into the Peace Corps.’”…….

Ahmed Boukmakh, the teacher behind Morocco’s first Arabic-language textbooks

After Morocco broke free from the French, Ahmed Boukmakh created a textbook series he dubbed «Iqrae». The latter was meant to revive the Arabic language in the kingdom after independence.
For Moroccans who attended public school, he was the man behind their colorful textbooks, a teacher that they nostalgically mention nowadays. He is Ahmed Boukmakh, a Tangier-native who dedicated his professional career to his students. His name has been associated with the recent the decision taken by the Ministry of Education, amending textbooks in the Kingdom.
Born in the 20s, amid the Rif war, Boukmakh was known in Morocco for creating a series he entitled «Iqrae» (read) to revive the Arabic language after the country broke free from the French. But before having the idea of contributing to the educational sector in the Kingdom, Ahmed Boukmakh was an ordinary kid, who left home to stay at his father’s shop in the city. ...More :

Video: Tourist Attractions from Marrakech to Merzouga

By Morocco World News -  February 14, 2018

Explore the top various tourist attractions in the south of Morocco. From the amazing alleyways of Marrakech old Medina to the Kasabah of Ait Ben Haddou, a group of adobe houses surrounded by high walls, passing by the uplifting Gorges of Toudgha in the province of Tinghir to the majestic sand dunes of Merzouga. The video highlighted these must see tourist destinations with a live background music.

Culture Ministry: Researchers Must Get Permit for Archeology Excavation

By Ahlam Ben Saga -  September 12, 2018 Rabat

Morocco’s Ministry of Culture and Communication has stressed that researchers must request government permission before excavating archeological sites.“No person is allowed to dig or conduct sea explorations … that may have historical, archeological or anthropological benefits for Morocco, or one that concerns humanities in general,” said the ministry in a statement on Tuesday, September 11.
Abiding by Law 22.80 on the protection and preservation of Morocco’s cultural heritage, including historical buildings, antiques, and inscriptions, the ministry calls for researchers who wish to explore to request authorization at least six months in advance.

New Moroccan law fails to protect women from forced marriage: activists

Heba Kanso BEIRUT (Thomson Reuters Foundation)

A new law criminalizing violence against women that came into effect in Morocco on Wednesday does not fully protect women against forced marriage or domestic violence, activists said. Campaigners broadly welcomed the new law, which criminalizes “harassment, aggression, sexual exploitation or ill treatment of women” in Morocco. But they criticized loopholes that would allow girls under 18 to marry and said a failure to define forced marriage would make it difficult to enforce a ban.

Law Criminalizing Violence against Women Enters into Force in Morocco

September 13, 2018

As soon as a law criminalizing violence against women has entered into force this week, already three complaints were filed by women claiming to have been harassed. The law, passed last February, includes a ban on forced marriage, sexual harassment in public places, and tougher penalties for certain forms of violence. Although it has been criticized for major gaps and flaws that leave women at risk of domestic violence, including a lack of provisions to finance the reforms, the new law is a leap forward for women’s rights in Morocco…………….

The power of passion for development work, sharing knowledge, and cooperative building: Nordine’s story

By Eliana Lisuzzo  HAF Project Assistant

We met Nordine on a sunny Wednesday morning. His tan skin revealed how he spends many hours outside planting as well as tending to the already planted almond trees throughout Irzaine in the Berkane province, Oujda region. He proudly walked us through one of the fields with growing trees while explaining how time is still needed for these almonds to be ready for sale. Witnessing Nordine’s passion for his work in Irzaine, you would never guess that he once had extravagant plans to leave Morocco behind and travel and work abroad. But he did, and he happily rejected those big plans to, instead, give back to the community in which he grew up.  Nordine explained: while studying at university in Rabat, he was inspired by a combination of his experiences at school, a friend, and his passion for helping others; he joined a student association involved in development work and was a member for five years. Instead of moving abroad after graduation as originally planned, Nordine returned to Irzaine and created his first development work association; he later created a second association in Irzaine focused on providing clean water; and Nordine’s latest project is an almond production and valorization cooperative, which he established in 2014………,-sharing-knowledge,-and-cooperative-building-nordine%E2%80%99s-story?mc_cid=989c39a03a&mc_eid=1f865516d0

Cooperative-building challenges and how HAF can help

By Eliana Lisuzzo  HAF Project Assistant

A cooperative is a business or organization managed jointly by voluntary members. When ran successfully, a cooperative will lead its members to meet their common goals as well as economic needs—of which any profit is shared among them. In Morocco in particular, being a part of a cooperative can be extremely rewarding, especially for marginalized populations and communities, providing opportunities for much needed development work in addition to economic advancement for women and people living in rural poverty……………..

HAF’s Participatory Approach and Cooperative-Building Efforts Intertwined

By Eliana Lisuzzo  HAF Program Assistant

In a little under just one week, the High Atlas Foundation (HAF) has met with members of 21 cooperatives throughout four provinces of the Oujda Region in Morocco. We have learned the stories behind the development of their cooperatives, about their products, unique manufacturing techniques, the highs and the lows of establishment, ongoing challenges, and impressive achievements. These details, of course, differ across each cooperative, but one common sentiment was reiterated time and time again: members from provinces stretching across Oujda have all shared gratitude for the knowledge and skills they acquired through HAF’s cooperative-building training, made possible by the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI)…………

Organic Farming in the Oriental Region

Yahya Rhomari  Member, Cooperative of Organic Agriculture in Berkane

The development of organic agriculture in Morocco faces various technical, commercial, financial, and organizational constraints. Organizational constraints—primarily poor coordination between local cooperatives and associations—are of particular importance and must be addressed. The lack of effective relationships between such entities can consequently impede upon the interests of stakeholders invested at various levels in the organic sector. For example, it was once the case that organic-certified agricultural products in Morocco’s Oriental Region could not be marketed at their fair value, despite significant demand, largely due to a lack of markets or stores to sell in. As a solution to this problem, a unique initiative emerged from the region’s Cooperative of Organic Agriculture. To ensure profitable sales of organic and agroecological products, the cooperative members—acting as both producers (i.e., farmers) and consumers of the products—outlined the following goals: ……………….

The Impact of Cooperative-Building Training on New Cooperatives’ Development and the Individuals Who Lead Them

By Eliana Lisuzzo  Project Assistant

The High Atlas Foundation (HAF) staff has met many driven Moroccan people with big plans to make a difference in their lives and for their communities, enthusiastic to turn their fresh ideas into successful associations and cooperatives. HAF facilitates cooperative-building trainings to provide the necessary tools and resources to ensure their goals are tangible. In the workshops, made possible with funding by the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), participants learn about the core differences between associations and cooperatives, the required legal steps to take for cooperative establishment, accounting principles, marketing and communication strategies, vital administrative tasks, and effective management. On September 5th, HAF was able to reconnect with members of two relatively young Oujda-based cooperatives who previously attended training sessions………………….

Holiday Romance or Hypocrisy: Female Sex Tourism in Morocco

By Morocco World News - September 9, 2018  By Anna Schaeffer Rabat

One under-researched branch of exploitation in Morocco reverses the stereotypical paradigm of prostitution: female tourists traveling for sex. And it’s on the rise. Prostitution often exploits the vulnerable in a society, and Morocco is no exception; Assabah estimates there are 5,000 houses and villas dedicated to sex tourism in Casablanca alone. Most often, the concept of sex tourism brings to mind abused women and children; this manifestation of sex tourism is undoubtedly a crucial issue demanding response.

Moroccan Author Meryem Alaoui Nominated for Prestigious Goncourt Prize

By Zoubida Senoussi -  September 7, 2018 Rabat

Will Meryem Alaoui succeed to Leila Slimani? Moroccan author Meryem Alaoui was nominated for the prestigious Goncourt prize in 2018 for her novel “La verite sort de la bouche du cheval” (the truth comes out of the horse’s mouth), published by Gallimard. The Goncourt jury announced, Friday, September 7, in the French city of Nancy the list of 15 writers in the running for the most famous French literary prize. ……

Book review: 'Marrakech Noir' edited by Yassin Adnan

The fifteen stories in Marrakesh Noir are translated from Arabic, French, and Dutch, and the crimes within are suited to a city where extreme wealth and poverty brush shoulders

M. Lynx Qualey September 1, 2018

Each of Akashic Books’ many noir collections, set in cities around the world, illuminates a new urban terrain and its literary tics. Beirut Noir (2015) was the first Arab-majority city to feature in the series and its stories are often avant-garde, circling around Lebanon’s civil war.Baghdad Noir (2018), released in August, is full of grim realist and magical-realist war stories. Marrakech Noir, from Morocco’s flashiest city, was also released in August. This last collection stands out for its sense of humour, ranging from screwball to wry. The introductions to Baghdad Noir and Marrakech Noir both suggest local writers had to be coaxed into crafting noir, a crime genre inspired by Hollywood films, often characterised by hard-boiled cynicism, sleazy settings and seductive women. Editor Yassin Adnan’s introduction, which he titles “City of Joy and Grit”, suggests his less-than-hard-boiled approach.

Ferid Belhaj: ‘Morocco Is A Bright Spot in a Dark Environment’

By Tamba François Koundouno -  August 31, 2018 Rabat

The World Bank vice-president for the MENA region, Ferid Belhaj, has remarked on Morocco’s socio-economic potential,  calling Morocco a “regional exception.” Belhaj has concluded his three-day working visit to Morocco, from August 27-29, as part of a World Bank-financed $100 million initiative to tackle socio-economic disparities in Morocco. During his stay, the World Bank official met the new economy and finance minister, Mohamed Benchaaboun; the head of government, Saad Eddine El Othmani; as well as a number of business owners, young entrepreneurs, and other drivers of Morocco’s political and socio-economic activities.

Battleground Morocco

Sand wall of the border between Mauritania and Morocco in the Sahara


Poverty Among Berber Families in Morocco

By Diane Adame on August 30, 2018 SEATTLE

From 2001 to 2014, Morocco’s consumption per capita increased to 3.3 percent, causing monetary poverty and vulnerability to decrease to 4.8 and 12.5 percent. Despite these improvements, Morocco’s rural areas still experience a higher level of subjective poverty. In 2014, Morocco’s rural poverty rate increased by 15 percent to 54.3 percent. The majority of Morocco’s rural population is comprised of Amazighs or Berbers. The Berbers are an ethnic group native to northwest Africa and predominantly inhabit the rural Middle Atlas region. Berbers are also known as nomads and typically work as farmers or shepherds.

Deauville American Film Festival

By Tamba François Koundouno -  August 30, 2018 Rabat

Moroccan award-winning writer Leila Slimani will be a jury member for the Deauville Film Festival. A fine connoisseur of American art and a well-respected novelist and art critique, Leila Slimani’s pedigree of genuine engagement with some of the most salient topics of modern life convinced the organizers to choose her as a jury member alongside top names in the French film industry.

Fès Festival of World Sacred Music: souks and songs in a Moroccan medina

by Kate Hennessy

At first we're told the medina has 10,000 alleyways. "It's a labyrinth," says our guide, Mohamed. The ancient, walled part of Fès is the world's best place to get lost, he says. "But have you actually lost people?" I ask. "Four times," he says in a tone that pleads, "do not make it five." The next day, Fès local, Khadya, tells us there are 11,000 alleyways. Some are one donkey's width and no accurate maps exist. Khadya was born in the medina but areas remain that she doesn't know. "Stay put if you're lost," she says. "Or you'll only make it worse."

Gad Elmaleh Has a Special Message for Kids in Morocco

By Zoubida Senoussi -  September 7, 2018 Rabat

If Gad Elmaleh has learned something from his success, it is that dreams do come true. The French-Moroccan comedian is living his American dream, touring the world to present his show “Dream Tour.” Proud of his accomplishments, Elmaleh wanted to give some motivation and hope to the children in the land of his birth, Morocco. Remembering his childhood in Casablanca with a throwback picture shared on his Instagram account, the 47-year-old Jewish Moroccan had a special message for kids in Morocco.

Morocco’s Amine Bendriouich in Vogue’s 100 Most Revolutionary Creatives

By Zoubida Senoussi September 7, 2018 Rabat

Amine Bendriouich has said the prestigious magazine Vogue chose him as one of the “100 most influential and revolutionary creatives.” In an article posted Wednesday, September 5, called “Designer and Glamour Boy Amine Bendriouich Puts a Unisex Spin on Dressing a la Marocaine,” the fashion magazine described the artist as “a part of a new wave of Moroccan thinkers and creators.”
Proud of the glowing portrait, Bendriouich shared it with his 12.5 thousand followers on Instagram.

Delacroix and the Jews of North Africa

At the Met’s blockbuster show opening this weekend in New York, the French painter’s ethnographic and orientalizing gaze on a precarious people.

By Jackson Arn

Long before his death and canonization, Eugène Delacroix—currently the subject of a massive retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan—was a semifictional, heroic character, created in some large part by the artist himself. In a famous photograph, he cuts a figure as striking as any in his paintings, eyes narrowed dramatically, right hand tucked in his jacket à la Napoleon, mouth curled downward in a comical display of seriousness. A key chapter of Delacroix’s self-made epic was his 1832 trip to Africa, for which he paid his own way on a ship full of French diplomats in exchange for a chance to see a continent as alien to the average European as Australia. While the rest of his cohort haggled with the sultan of Morocco over the terms of a peace treaty, he faced a bigger challenge: talking the Muslim women of Tangier into removing their veils so that he could draw them………..

Morocco’s DGAPR Launches ‘Idmaj,’ First Radio for Moroccan Prisoners

By Safaa Kasraoui - September 12, 2018 Rabat

DGAPR launched the first radio in the MENA region dedicated for prisoners in the Casablanca Oukacha prison. The radio station is the fruit of a collaboration between the General Delegation for Prison Administration and Reintegration (DGAPR), the British embassy, and Penal Reform International (PRI). The British ambassador to Morocco, Thomas Reilly, attended the launching ceremony. In a Twitter post, Reilly wrote that he visited Oukacha for the “launch of first ever prison radio project in the Middle East & North Africa region.” ……………….

From the desert to the Atlantic coast in Morocco

A five-day road trip in North Africa takes you from the Sahara through Berber villages and dazzling scenery to Marrakech and, finally, the beach.

By Alyssa Giacobbe September 12, 2018

After an assignment takes us to Morocco for seven very hot days of trailing 300 female off-road race car drivers through the Sahara, a friend and I decide we can’t leave the country without experiencing some of its storied bohemian glamour. We’ve breathlessly scaled towering dunes dotted with camels, and slept in tents we pitched ourselves, and had the sand in our hair to prove it. Now, we’re ready for some of the exoticism and luxury that have enticed travelers to Morocco for decades. We want snake charmers, labyrinthine streets, and opulent courtyards. We want to haggle with vendors over rugs and poufs, then go for mint tea and tagine. We wouldn’t mind spending a few nights on real mattresses, either. ………..

For these girls in Morocco, a tech camp presents a rare opportunity to pursue their career dreams

Most summer days, 14-year-old Manal Taragroum says she would be stuck at home, helping with chores around the house. But not today. That’s because the energetic teenager is one of 20 young girls who has been selected to participate in a tech camp where they are learning the fundamentals of social media, digital photography and even basic coding. “This is an opportunity for them to discover something totally different from their world,” says Jamila Bargach, the head of Dar Si Hmad, the local nongovernmental organization that’s organized the 10-day tech camp…………..

Moroccan Domestic Workers Entitled to Contracts Starting October

By Ahlam Ben Saga -  September 11, 2018 Rabat

Law 19-12 on domestic employees working conditions will go into effect on October 2. The new law will require employers to have written contracts ensuring the workers’ rights by limiting their working hours to 40 hours per week for minors aged 16-18 and 48 hours for adults. The employers may choose between a fixed-term or indefinite term contract. ……………

Fancy winning a spot on The Monkey Run Morocco?

13th Sep 2018 | By Editor

Ever wondered what it’s like to see Morocco from the perspective of a small child on a miniature motorbike? Probably not, but Monkey Run Morocco allows you to see this incredible country from more than one new angle...

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