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Morocco Week in Review 
March 30, 2019

Virtual Magazine of Morocco on the Web

 Moroccan American Network to Host Business Forum on ‘Morocco Day’ in DC

Carolina McCabe is an American studying Arabic in Rabat with the US State Department program NSLIY. Mar 27, 2019 Rabat

The Moroccan American Network will host its fourth Business Forum – CEO Summit at the Willard InterContinental Hotel, in Washington, D.C. The summit will focus on small business opportunities between the US and Africa. The day of the event corresponds with “Morocco Day,” celebrated March 29. In 2018, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser proclaimed March 29 as “Morocco Day” following a formal resolution by the D.C. Council. “Morocco Day is an opportunity to explore economic, cultural, and educational exchange opportunities that are mutually beneficial for the Kingdom of Morocco and the United States of America,” according to Antoine Battle, CEO of Diplomatic Communications.

Pope in Morocco: Highlighting Catholic-Muslim ‘dialogue of solidarity’

Cindy Wooden Mar 20, 2019 ROME

Pope Francis wanted to go to Morocco in December to draw attention to the need for international cooperation in assisting migrants and in alleviating the situations that force people to seek a better life outside their homeland. Protocol dictated that he could not fly to Marrakech just for the United Nations meeting on migration, so instead migrants will be one group that receives his special attention during a more formal visit to Morocco March 30-31.

Morocco's 'hidden' Christians to push for religious freedom

Morocco’s hidden Christian are looking to Pope Francis’ visit next week as an opportunity to push for religious freedom. Christians are a tiny minority in an overwhelmingly Muslim country.

Education in Morocco

Although more than 95 percent of school-aged children in Morocco are now enrolled in primary school, the education system in Morocco faces significant challenges. Drop-out rates are still high and only 53 percent of students enrolled in middle school continue on to high school and less than 15 percent of first grade students are likely to graduate from high school.  Low levels of daily attendance, teacher absenteeism, and a multi-lingual environment at school contribute to the low literacy rates in Morocco.  Those unable to complete a high school education have far fewer employment opportunities.

Study: Social Media Presents Romanticized Europe to Maghreb Youth

The study said that North African governments in the Maghreb must invest more efforts to “ensure a ‘better life’ for youth.”

Safaa Kasraoui is a journalist at Morocco World News. Mar 26, 2019 Rabat

A recent study from the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) found that social media is contributing to irregular migration from the Maghreb region. The European dream has been a goal for many young people living in the Maghreb region, including Moroccans. The study said that Maghreb migrants in European countries often share posts on social media, depicting Europe as a safe place and with better socio-economic opportunities than their home countries. “Through daily or weekly video blogs and other social media posts, Maghrebi emigres in Europe offer a mostly romanticised representation of the continent,” said ISS.

Google Translate Considers Adding Tamazight Language

The petition said that over 60 million people speak Tamazight across North Africa and the Sahara-Sahel region.

Safaa Kasraoui is a journalist at Morocco World News. Mar 22, 2019 Rabat

After demands to declare Amazigh New Year, known as Yennayer in Morocco, a public holiday, Amazigh (Berber) activists are now calling on Google to integrate Tamazight (Berber) into Google Translate. The French-based La Rando organization, managed by its Moroccan founder Karim Akachar, launched a petition to Google on Avaaz.

Moroccan MP: MPs Own Private Schools, Want Public Education to Fail

Balafrej demands resistance against what he called private sector lobbyists belonging to leading political parties.

Mohammed Amine Benabou is a B.Mar 27, 2019 Rabat

After weeks of protests by contractual teachers, Omar Balafrej, an MP of the Unified Socialist Party (PSU), stated in an interview with Moroccan news outlet Walaw that employing teachers under a fixed-term contract is “nonsense.” Contractual teachers have staged a number of strikes across Morocco over recent weeks demanding to be integrated into the public sector.

‘Study in the US Fair’ Brings 30 US Universities to Casablanca, Tangier

Moroccan students will get their questions answered regarding scholarships and programs offered by American universities.

By  Hamza Guessous  -Mar 26, 2019 Rabat

Approximately 30 American universities will participate in the “Study in the U.S. Fair” at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Casablanca and the Hilton Garden Inn in Tangier. Students can attend the Casablanca fair at 5 p.m. on March 27 and the Tangier fair at 11 a.m. on March 30 to learn about study opportunities in the US. The US consulate in Casablanca is hosting the fairs in partnership with the US Department of State’s EducationUSA network.

Ahead of Pope’s Visit, Morocco Celebrates Coexistence with Christians

As Morocco prepares to host the pope, the country finds in its historical archives moments of religious cohabitation and harmony to celebrate its Christian communities.

By Tamba François Koundouno- Mar 21, 2019 Rabat

An exhibition on peaceful cohabitation and religious tolerance opened yesterday in Rabat to display centuries of peaceful life between different religious groups in Morocco. Called “Christian Presence in Morocco: Living Together,” the program sought to put a finger on Morocco’s reputation as “a singular civilizational model of harmonious living together.” The majority of the documents scheduled for the 10-day event date back to the reign of Moulay Ismail (1672-1727) when, according to organizers, Morocco allowed freedom of movement and conscience to the “faithful of other religions, such as Christianity and Judaism.” ======================================

French Animation Director Ocelot to Feature Morocco in Upcoming Film

“The starting point is Morocco… in the 18th century,” said Ocelot at the Meknes International Festival of Animated Cinema (FICAM).

Zakaria Oudrhiri is a journalist, translator, and coder based in Rabat. Mar 26, 2019 Rabat

Award-winning French director Michel Ocelot is working on an animated film featuring Morocco and Turkey, reported UK-based news outlet Middle East Online (MEO) on Sunday. “The starting point is Morocco … in the 18th century,” Ocelot told Middle East Online at the Meknes International Festival of Animated Cinema (FICAM) taking place from March 22 to 27. The film “depicts… a female doctor who has been listening to tales orated by female storytellers in the palaces where she has been working,” he explained.

Morocco Nominates Tbourida Fantasia Festival to UNESCO’s Heritage List

UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list may add two important aspects of Morocco’s rich culture, Gnawa music and tbourida horse festivals.

Ahlam Ben Saga is a Cultural Studies graduate from university Mohammed V of Literature and Humanities in Rabat. Mar 25, 2019 Rabat

After submitting a request to UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Committee to add Gnawa music to its Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) list, Morocco has made a similar request for tbourida, a traditional horse festival, also known as the Moroccan fantasia. The Moroccan Ministry of Culture and Communication announced on Monday that it had prepared and submitted the file for tbourida in partnership with the Moroccan Royal Society of Horse Encouragement (SOREC).

Moroccan Archaeologist to Present at Major US Exhibition

Katya Schwenk is an intern at Morocco World News. Mar 15, 2019 Rabat

Moroccan archaeologist Abdallah Fili will travel to Northwestern University’s Block Museum of Art in the US to present his research on trade and gold in the medieval Sahara, from April 22 to 26. Fili is a professor at Chouaib Doukkali University in El Jadida, a city on Morocco’s Atlantic coast. The week-long symposium dovetails with the museum’s exhibition “Caravans of Gold,” which opened in January. The exhibition investigates medieval Saharan trade, uncovering overlooked ties between European, African, and Middle Eastern societies of the period.

Moroccan Contractual Teachers Strike for 4th Week for Equality

“The most dangerous thing is to feel unstable,” is the feeling shared among Morocco’s self-styled “forcibly contracted teachers.”

Safaa Kasraoui is a journalist at Morocco World News. Mar 25, 2019 Rabat

More than 10,000 of young Moroccans made their voices heard internationally as they flocked to Rabat to protest the government’s alternative decision regarding their status as contractual teachers throughout Saturday night and Sunday morning. The teachers, who describe themselves as “forcibly contracted educators,” decided to camp out in front of Parliament on Saturday night to show their determination. Anti-riot police used water cannons and police motorcycles to disperse the protests.Some teachers also said there was “violence” during the protests.

Morocco: Out of school rate, primary, total (%)

Out-of-school rate for children of primary school age (%). Total is the number of children of official primary school age who are not enrolled in primary or secondary school, expressed as a percentage of the population of official primary school age. Children enrolled in pre-primary education are excluded and considered out of school.

Highlights of Morocco: readers’ travel tips.

Serene hotels, exquisite Islamic gardens and mountain hikes are just a few of the country’s stars, say our tipsters

Winning tip: Le Jardin Secret, Marrakech

This is a recently renovated garden on Rue Mouassine, dating back to the 16th century. It’s a perfect place to escape busy Marrakech, with an exotic range of plants and an ingenious water system created in the 11th century, fed by an aquifer. The Islamic garden is split into four sections, laid out to geometric rules established as early as the sixth century BC in the Persian gardens of Cyrus the Great. A perfect relaxing place to spend a few hours. The entrance fee is about £4 and there is small extra fee of about £2 to climb the wonderful old tower.•

Morocco’s ‘Hidden Christians’ Raise Concerns over ‘Discrimination’ Prior to Pope Visit.

Seeking visibility and recognition of their rights, Moroccan Christians prepare to capitalize on Pope’s Francis visit to raise concerns on religious freedom in Morocco.

By Tamba François Koundouno - Mar 23, 2019
Rabat – Having kept a low profile until now, a number of Moroccan Christian associations want to use the much-publicized pope Francis visit to demand the institutionalization of their religious rights.
The groups’ spokespersons say they want to “be both Moroccan and Christian.”
A “tiny minority in an overwhelmingly Muslim country,” Reuters reported on March 22, Moroccan Christian converts see in the pope’s visit an opportunity to convey their demands in the country’s highest places.

Moroccan Digital Media: More Clicks, Less Respect

Is the boom in digital media too much of a good thing?

Saad Eddine Lamzouwaq is a reporter who worked as an assistant to several TV correspondents in Morocco. Mar 24, 2019 Rabat

Morocco has never had as many media outlets as it has today. The emergence of thousands of news platforms, mostly digital, is something to be celebrated. That is especially so in a country where the media scene was for decades dominated by the state-run television and radio company and a handful of newspapers acting as the mouthpieces of political parties. But there are serious questions about how much this boom is affecting society, whether positively or negatively. Around 2010 and 2011, digital outlets were making their baby steps. At the time, privately owned newspapers and magazines had long dethroned papers run by political parties. Private radio stations also added a flavor of diversity to the broadcast sector after decades of monopoly by the state.

Contemplating college applications, from Morocco: A personal essay

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Did you apply to Harvard?” “Why is UC Berkeley so expensive?” “What was your SAT score?” The summer had barely begun and I was already inundated by these ever-so-nauseating questions. Three days before, I had landed in the capital city of Rabat, Morocco, and began exploring the bustling streets of market stalls and the winding lanes of street side cafes. In all the fun of scavenging through markets for wares, picking off scabs of intricate henna from my fingers and watching pink-streaked sunsets framed by palace walls, I almost forgot that Monday morning I would have to pull on a blazer and head to work. After all, I had signed up for this barrage of college questions. I may have just graduated from high school, but here I was, about to endure the college process once again — at least secondhand.

My internship in Morocco was at a test-taking and college preparation service, and was locally owned by a family who had all graduated from prestigious American universities. Each day I taught in the glass-paned office decorated by banners from Harvard, Yale, MIT and the like. Every surface was scattered with advertisement booklets, featuring glowing pictures of accepted students and promising bourses complètes, or full scholarships. =

Oxford: Vocational Training, Industries to Increase Morocco’s Economy

Can Morocco’s Industrial Acceleration Plan 2014-2020 help decrease unemployment?

By Safaa Kasraoui is a journalist at Morocco World News. Mar 21, 2019 Rabat

A new overview of Morocco’s economy for 2019 from the Oxford Business Group has presented a positive view of Morocco’s plans to address unemployment and other issues challenging the country.
Despite increasing external debt, Oxford Business Group forecasted a flourishing future in Morocco’s economy, thanks to aeronautics and several other industries. For Oxford, “a rapidly improving business environment and infrastructural base, the gradual liberalisation of the local currency and increased investment into export-oriented industries are all set to raise living standards and drive the emergence of a large national middle class.”

The Moroccan Economy in Brief: Friday, March 22, 2019

Morocco-India: A sustainable economic partnership is emerging:  The sixth session of the Morocco-India Joint Commission was held on Wednesday in New Delhi to take stock of the evolution of bilateral relations and examine ways to establish the innovative vision that the two countries wish to give to their cooperation framework. The session was chaired by the Minister of Industry, Investment, Trade and the Digital Economy, Moulay Hafid Elalamy, and the Indian Minister of State for Trade, Industry and Food, Chhotu Ram Chaudhary.

25 magical photos of Morocco

See why the North African nation is one of the world’s fastest growing travel destinations.


Morocco is one of the world’s fastest growing travel destinations, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, and for good reason. This North African country around the same size as California boasts astounding diversity: epic mountain ranges, ancient cities, expansive desert, Roman ruins, and stunning coastlines along both the Atlantic and the Mediterranean.
Members of our Your Shot photography community made the pictures in this gallery, which transports us from the busy streets of Marrakech to the rolling dunes of the Sahara and to the peaks of the High Atlas mountains—and beyond.
Join the Your Shot community to share a photo of somewhere that's meaningful to you

The Wonders of Morocco

by Gregg Jacobs, contributing writer

We all have our favorites stops when we visit Epcot's World Showcase. When I go, I always have a ham and cheese croissant and whatever French pastry that strikes my fancy at France's Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie. I visit Japan's Mitsukoshi Department Store, stroll past the bonsai trees and reminisce about my trip to the real Japan a few years ago. The "oops, how did I get outside again?" feel of the marketplace in Mexico's pyramid always makes me smile, no matter how many times I visit.

I'm sure you have your own must-do list when taking your walks around World Showcase. I'm also willing to bet that the bazaar within the Morocco pavilion is on very few of your lists. Morocco, while beautiful and interesting, is a country most of us don't know a lot about—and while we all get a glimpse of the pavilion as we make our way around World Showcase, the real treasures here aren't what you see along the lagoon, but rather, deep within the structure itself. On a recent visit, I took the time to the meander through one of the most impressive environments the Disney Imagineers have ever created, and was very impressed with what I found,

Ouarzazate Solar Power Station

The world's largest concentrated solar power plant. 

If you drive near Ouarzazate, Morocco, on a typical sunny day it’s nearly impossible to miss the gigantic tower glinting in the horizon. The shiny structure, surrounded by massive rays of sunlight, looks like a Moroccan version of the Eye of Sauron.

Morocco Travel Blog...the prologue

By all means, trust in Allah, but tie your camel first… ~ Moroccan Proverb

Ahlan people! 

A while ago, the lure of tagines, mint tea and medinas led us to set our travel sights on Morocco. However, for various reasons it never eventuated. We came very very close last year, but our travel window slipped into June, by which time it was Ramadan and the heat would have been quite intense in the south of the country… so we reluctantly gave up that plan, again.

How not to get shot or arrested in Morocco

Avoid a faux-pas with our tried and tested travel tips. James Booth 25 Mar, 2019

A fragrant melting pot of Arabic, Andalucian, Berber and French culture (and spices), Morocco is a country of incredible beauty and culture. But when you cross the Gibraltar Strait and enter Morocco, you’re not just leaving Spain—you’re leaving Europe. Of course: you can get yourself into trouble in a London nightclub, a Parisien pub or at a Barcelona boat party, but—generally speaking—you have a good idea of how debaucherous you can get without majorly irritating anyone. However in Morocco, unless you keep a copy of The Lonely Planet in your bathroom and Tripadvisor cheat-sheets glued to your bedroom walls, it’s not as obvious what the rules of etiquette are.

Morocco's vulnerable cedar trees are being cut down illegally


The Atlas cedar, a species that covers 134,000 hectares of land in Morocco and is already threatened by climate change, is a common target of illegal logging. But activists are now using social media to document the destruction of the trees, which they say highlights the lack of resources needed to preserve the Atlas ecosystem. The photos of uprooted trees and jagged stumps are a stark reminder of the illegal trade of the Atlas cedar, a species native to the mountains of the same name that span the northern edge of Morocco, and whose timber commands high prices on the market. Our team came across several videos showing felled cedar trees in Tounfit, in the Middle Atlas mountain range in central Morocco.

Tuberculosis Infects 30,000 Moroccans Each Year, Mostly in Major Cities

Despite Morocco's efforts to reduce tuberculosis, thousands of Moroccans—especially the socially vulnerable—die from tuberculosis each year. What is Morocco’s plan to eliminate the disease?
Ahlam Ben Saga is a Cultural Studies graduate from university Mohammed V of Literature and Humanities in Rabat.

Mar 27, 2019 Rabat

Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the most prevalent airborne diseases in Morocco, affecting more than 30,000 people every year, according to Moroccan Minister of Health Anas Doukkali.
Following World Tuberculosis Day on March 24, Doukkali announced on Monday—during a national meeting to prepare an action plan to end tuberculosis in Morocco by 2030—that the annual TB case rate is 87 cases per 100,000 people. Tuberculosis is most likely to affect people aged 15 to 45. Pulmonary tuberculosis, a contagious bacterial infection of the lungs, makes up half of the TB cases in Morocco.

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