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Morocco Week in Review 
September 28, 2019

Virtual Magazine of Morocco on the Web

Clintons Enjoy Traditional Moroccan Breakfast in Marrakech

Just a few days ago, the couple strolled through Marrakech’s iconic Jemaa El-Fna square, a staple for all visitors to the ochre city.

By Juliette Owen-Jones is a journalist and editor at Morocco World News. Sep 23, 2019 Rabat

The former US President Bill Clinton and his wife, former presidential candidate Hilary Clinton, continue to make the most of their visit to Marrakech for the birthday of Moroccan billionaire Marc Lasry. This morning, the influential couple visited a traditional weaving cooperative. While there, they enjoyed a traditional Moroccan breakfast of msemen (Moroccan pancakes), black olives, and Morocco’s iconic mint tea. Just a few days ago, on September 20, the couple strolled through Marrakech’s iconic Jemaa El-Fna square, a staple for all visitors to the ochre city. They posed with a snake and later looked at traditional Moroccan wares in the souk……………….
Clintons Enjoy Traditional Moroccan Breakfast in Marrakech

In Pictures: Bill and Hillary Clinton Make the Most of Marrakech

The Clintons are in town for the birthday party of Marc Lasry, a billionaire born in Marrakech.

By-Juliette Owen-Jones is a journalist and editor at Morocco World News. Sep 20, 2019 Rabat

This weekend, former US President Bill Clinton and his wife Hilary Clinton, who ran for president in 2016, are in Marrakech to celebrate Moroccan billionaire Marc Lasry’s birthday. The powerful couple could be seen this morning in Marrakech’s iconic Jemaa El-Fna square, a staple for all visitors to the ochre city. The couple posed with a snake and later looked at traditional Moroccan wares in the souk……………
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King Mohammed VI Emphasizes Role of Human Development in Morocco’s Future

"Investing in the intangible aspects of human development - of which early childhood is a key stage - constitutes a solid basis as well as the proper starting point for building a country for the future,” said the King.

By  - Juliette Owen-Jones is a journalist and editor at Morocco World News. Sep 19, 2019 Rabat

King Mohammed VI has spotlighted the role human development will play in Morocco’s future in a message sent to participants of the first National Conference on Human Development, which opened on Thursday, September 9. The conference is being held under the theme “Early childhood: a commitment for the future.” In his message, the North African King emphasized how important early childhood is, not only for individual development, but for the nation. “I am sure you realize that investing in the intangible aspects of human development – of which early childhood is a key stage – constitutes a solid basis as well as the proper starting point for building a country for the future,” he said.“This is one of the main challenges which we are seeking to meet so as to open up promising prospects and offer job opportunities to upcoming generations,” the King added in the message, read at the event by Morocco’s Interior Minister Abdelouafi Laftit. Although Morocco has implemented steps forward regarding early childhood issues by reducing mortality rates among children and pregnant women, improving nutrition, and widening access to primary education and healthcare, the King pointed out that there is still a long way to go………………
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Straight Talk on Morocco’s Youth Climate Activism

As a global climate strike dominates Western headlines, Fadoua Brour of the Moroccan Youth Climate Movement shares her views on the ambitions and limitations of Morocco’s youth voice.

By Perri Huggins - Sep 20, 2019

Rabat – Today, millions of students and workers are striking worldwide to demand legislative action on the climate crisis. First rising to public attention in the 1980s, global warming and climate change have since become a topic of contentious political debate. Young people and workers who will suffer greater climate impacts are demanding that politicians address the emergency in an unprecedented wave of climate action.
Fadoua Brour, president and founder of the Moroccan Youth Climate Movement (MYCM), kindly granted me an interview in between meetings at New York’s Bard College, where she is pursuing a dual MS/MBA in environmental policy and sustainability. 
Brour founded MYCM in 2012 to introduce youth to the climate debate and to build an understanding of climate change and its impacts. During a time of political upheaval in the Arab world, many climate activists hoped to harness popular political will to address the human rights challenge of our times. MYCM is a member of the Arab Youth Climate Movement, an independent international body representing voices from over 15 Arab countries. ………………….
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The STEAMuseum: Connecting Chicago and Casablanca

Chicago Sister Cities International’s STEAMuseum project connects students in Chicago and Casablanca to create digital exhibits for what will eventually be a global online museum. The goal of the STEAMuseum project is to challenge students to collaborate and get to know one another, and in the process develop a new kind of cultural digital space that engages their generation. STEAMuseum builds on a longstanding sister cities arrangement between Chicago and Casablanca, where Neighborhoods Association IDMAJ is serving as the partner for the project.
The topic of the first museum exhibit was inspired by the discovery of a Spinosaurus fossil, an enormous dinosaur that rivals America’s T-Rex, in Morocco in 2008. The comparison to the T-Rex gave educators in the program an opportunity to explore and compare ancient worlds, teaching important lessons about biodiversity and climate change, topics that are essential to solving today’s global environmental crises.
Over the course of the project, U.S. educators traveled to Morocco, and Moroccan educators visited the United States in order to receive technology training, build and refine the program’s curriculum, and meet with students enrolled in the program. The trips also helped them bond as a team and reinforced their passion for internationalizing their classrooms.

“Students were encouraged to travel to the Arab world after they connected with students [in Morocco,]” said Fadi Abughosh, Arabic teacher at Lindblom Math and Science Academy (LMSA) in Chicago. International travel can be expensive or inaccessible, he said, making virtual exchange the best way for his students to have an international experience. He noted that the program has helped his students discover new cultures and develop communication and language skills…………..
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The Seven Best Sets of Morocco's Oasis Festival 2019

9/17/2019 by Katie Bain

The fifth incarnation of the Marrakech electronic event delivered on its reputation as an elegant, artful and international affair.

First, a few things you will not find at Oasis Festival: long lines for anything, over-aggressive security, price-gouging on drinks, garbage on the ground or a stagnant lineup featuring everyone who always plays at every other festival you ever go to. Things you will find at Oasis Festival include, but are not limited to, traditional Moroccan tea service, hookah, a large bronze camel, Yasiin Bey (the former Mos Def) playing on a patio-sized stage by the pool, several other pools, free-roaming cats, an impeccable sound system, and a friendly and very well-dressed crowd of local Moroccans and international attendees, from Northern Africa, Europe, the States and beyond, descending upon Marrakech to enjoy some of the scene's best and most beloved artists playing alongside an immaculately selected crew of rising artists repping Morocco’s burgeoning electronic scene. Also: clean porta-potties. …………….
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Morocco’s Music Advances Sustainable Development

One oasis community shows how music can support locally prioritized development.

By Perri Huggins - Sep 21, 2019 Rabat

A raging fire is burning in the jungle. It’s such an overwhelming disaster that all of the animals are watching the conflagration in shock.  A hummingbird says, “I’m going to do something about the fire.”  It flies to the nearest stream and takes a drop of water. It races back to the fire, where it drops the water onto the flames. Back and forth it goes, over and over, while the larger animals — like the elephant whose trunk could deliver so much more water — stand watching. …………………
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In Favor of Sensible Water Management in Morocco

If Morocco’s water resources are not managed with extraordinary care, the consequences could be devastating.

By  Moha Ennaji  - Moha Ennaji is Professor of Cultural and Gender Studies and President of the International Institute for Languages and Cultures in Fez, Morocco Sep 17, 2019 Fez

Last year, hundreds of thousands of people in the Middle East and North Africa, including Morocco, faced the worst water shortages in decades. More than 60% of the population in this region is concentrated in places affected by high or very high surface water stress, which means that water resources are heavily exploited at an unsustainable rate.

I have argued previously that “multiple factors have contributed to the current situation, including climate change, desertification, water pollution, and misuse of natural resources. Inadequate information, education, and communication exacerbate many of these challenges, as it reinforces a lack of awareness of – much less commitment to – environmentally friendly practices. Add to that inadequate disaster-risk reduction and management by governments – many of which are dealing with other conflicts and crises – and the situation has become truly dire.”

According to government statistics, Morocco’s water resources are among the weakest in the world, with the lowest amount of water per capita due to climate change. Water resources are estimated at 22 billion cubic meters per year, equivalent to 700 cubic meters per person per year.
The water issue is complex because it touches on geographic challenges, the problem of governance, climate change, and the demographic problem: Tourism is developing, agriculture and industry are growing, and cities are expanding. Water shortages in Middle East and North African countries could also help cause destabilization, according to a recent report by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Bank.

Because of repetitive droughts in the last three decades, each summer, a number of Moroccan areas suffer from lack of drinking water. Last August, many people suffered from the lack of drinking water when taps ran dry on Eid al-Adha…………..
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The Jajouka Master Musicians: A Universal Hymn To Tolerance And Peace From Morocco To The World – Analysis

September 16, 2019  Dr. Mohamed Chtatou

Morocco is a crossroad country, a country where different cultures, civilizations, languages, beliefs and religions meet and coexist in total harmony. It has been this way since the dawn of times. The country distinguishes itself by Amazigh/Berber, Arab, Jewish, Mediterranean and African cultural influences that Moroccan culture is hugely proud of nowadays and which is inscribed in gold in the Moroccan constitution of 2011 (1). To this cultural richness is added an interesting geographical diversity. In fact, Morocco counts various landscapes, from deserts to mountains to fertile plains framed by maritime coasts of 3,500 kilometers long.

At different periods of its millenary history, Morocco was invaded by the Phoenicians, the Carthaginians, the Romans, the Vandals, the Arabs, the Portuguese, the Spanish and the French. Even the Germans, angered by the sharing made during the Algeciras Conference of April 7, 1906, that had placed Morocco under the protection of major European powers (twelve, among which France, United Kingdom, Germany, Spain and Italy) under the guise of reform, modernity and internationalization of the Moroccan economy and did not give Germany any piece of the “Morocco cake”, came off to the Moroccan southern coast to show their dissatisfaction, by bombarding the city of Agadir on July 13, 1911 by one of its infamous gunboats bearing the name of Panther (2).

These multiple forced meetings with other cultures, languages and races have cultivated among Moroccans an advanced taste for the other and his civilization and, by consequence, an aversion for cultural diversity and tolerance…………..
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Zero Mika: The Vision of Plastic-free Morocco

Since 2016, Morocco has banned the production and use of plastic bags. The Zero Mika (zero plastic) campaign, with its pros and cons, is still evolving in order to make Morocco a plastic-free country.

By Kawtar Ennaji is a journalist and translator at Morocco World News, MA holder from King Fahd School of Translation Sep 19, 2019 Rabat

According to the Moroccan Ministry of Industry, Moroccan households consume about 25 billion plastic bags a year (2016). The ministry’s chart of plastic bags’ yearly consumption ranked Morocco second after the United States and ahead of Australia. Morocco accounts for 900 plastic bags per person.  After use, the plastic waste ends up dumped in the countryside as the country lacks a waste management system for recovery and recycling. Figures presented at the “Ecocean” seminar held in Tangier on June 27, 2019, showed that Morocco produces a massive amount of plastic waste leaking into the ocean. The figures place the country in the top twenty countries for ocean pollution. 51% of the waste that is found on Moroccan beaches is plastic waste…………
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Morocco project encourages youth to venture into farming

Unemployment is high in these remote mountains in Morocco’s Al Haouz province. Young farmers are migrating to cities and climate change is raising concerns about declining harvests. To make matters worse, agricultural techniques handed down from generation to generation remain obsolete. But now, agricultural cooperatives have been formed with support from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Moroccan government.

If we could replicate this project, young people would breathe new life and boost agriculture in the mountain areas…… “In the past, our parents used to handle trees in an ineffective way, randomly. They planted apple trees, but they earned nothing”, Abderrahman Aissaouin, President of the Touffaha cooperative said. For many young people in Al Haouz, cooperatives have improved their production techniques. About 33,000 smallholder farmers and herders are involved in the project.

“Before joining this cooperative, I had left the village. I was working in the city. But when the cooperative was being formed, I got a call from my friends, thank Allah. Since 2014 I have been back in my village”, said Brahim Laaouina, a member of the Agadir Igoudar cooperative. The programme aims to increase participation of women and young people and also engage them in value addition of products.

Abdellah Mendili is the Provincial Director of Agriculture based in Marrakech. “If we could replicate this project, in my opinion, young people could find themselves in the fabric of the economy and they would breathe new life and boost agriculture in the mountain areas and through them, the mountain areas will become a source of wealth creation instead of an area of poverty and unemployment”, he said.
The country’s mountainous regions, the steppes and arid south are among the poorest parts in Morocco.

Morocco’s Everyday Sustainability

Morocco’s poor waste management system has cluttered the country’s souks, gardens, and beaches with garbage. But are Moroccans as wasteful as this visible pollution would suggest?

By Morgan Hekking - Sep 23, 2019 Rabat

My college semester living with a Moroccan host family taught me much that I would have never learned otherwise.  It taught me how to bond with people despite a language barrier, how to communicate with only facial expressions and awkward noises, how to live out of a suitcase, and above all, how to leave my comfort zone—and embrace being uncomfortable. These are all fairly cliché, of course, as are most study abroad life-lessons.

Is a Visit to Morocco ‘a Visit to the Patriarchy’?

By Madeleine Handaji - Sep 23, 2019 Rabat

When I was 16, a middle-aged man stopped me on a street corner, ostensibly asking for directions. It soon became clear that he had no interest in finding the nearest metro station. Calling me “beautiful,” he asked for my phone number, and when I refused, he literally chased me to the restaurant where I was meeting friends.
At 18, I was groped by a stranger outside a nightclub, and at 23 verbally and physically harassed by a colleague in the school I worked at.
At 26, a riot policeman grabbed my breasts and called me a w***e during a stop and search. And at 27 I was chased through a market by a stranger wanting to “talk.”
I am not alone. According to, 75% of women globally have experienced sexual harassment. It is a serious issue, not to be taken lightly, and it is a global one.
The first incident took place in Madrid, the second two in London, the third in France, and the most recent in Casablanca. Have these incidents led me to believe that all Spanish, English, French, and Moroccan men are perverts? No, because that would be a gross generalization, and it would be xenophobic.

Asma Lamrabet Unveils Reasons for Leaving Morocco

“I hope this short message will reassure them, and I sincerely apologize if my previous post was a bit confusing.”

By Morocco World News - Sep 21, 2019 Rabat

Following her announcement that she was leaving Morocco for a new experience abroad, prominent Moroccan feminist Asma Lamrabet has provided more details about her new adventure. Some news reports and critics voiced speculations that her departure was motivated by a string of obstacles tied to her political and intellectual orientations. Lamrabet rejected the speculations, saying her decision was “voluntary” and based on her desire to experience a new culture.

Signed Language Diversity in the Arab World 

Since the middle of the twentieth century, scientific research has demonstrated that signed languages are full linguistic systems, unrelated to and independent of the spoken languages in their environments. The bulk of linguistic and anthropological research on deaf communities and signed languages has been concentrated in the USA and Western Europe, while hardly any attention has been paid to the Middle East and North Africa. In this talk on signed language diversity in the Arab world, I discuss pathways of signed language migration, the linguistic structure of signed languages, and the importance of language rights as human rights for deaf signing communities. This video was recorded on November 29th, 2018, at the Tangier American Legation Institute for Moroccan studies.
Watch it here:

First Impressions

By International Morocco  - September 24, 2019 By Mike Bernhardt (Travel Writer, visit his website )

We’ve been in Rabat for 2 days now, still adjusting to the 8-hour time difference. Yesterday, we had a pleasant all-day walking adventure. One thing I’ve been struck by is the contrasts in the ways women dress. One might see a woman in a kaftan and hijab, walking by another woman in torn jeans and long, flowing hair. Many women wear a hijab with western clothes. And we see them socializing together, not separately. I find myself wondering if there is a deeper cultural significance than just how strictly they practice Islam. Or maybe I just have preconceptions to let go of. Yvonne talks about culture being like an iceberg: What is visible is a very small part of it.

Speaking of culture, we read on travel forums and in guide books to be careful about showing affection for each other. They said that that the cities are more modern, but that women and men don’t touch in public. As it turns out, this doesn’t seem to be the case at all. We’ve seen lots of couples holding hands or arm in arm as they walk, and even a few smooching at the beach when they thought no one was looking.
We walked 6 miles through Rabat, from our hotel in the central part of the city, past the king’s palace and a huge mosque, to the medina (old walled city), to the beach, to the Oudaïas Kasbah, back through the medina and then off to dinner before taking a taxi back to our hotel………….

Al-Qarawiyyin’s Chandelier Returned to Morocco

By Ezzoubeir Jabrane  - September 11, 2019

Al-Qarawiyyin Mosque’s Big Chandelier was returned to Morocco after it appeared at the Louvre Museum in Paris France. Moroccans have expressed their discontent on both social media and the real world as Al-Qarawiyyin’s Big Chandelier that ‘went missing’ in 2014 reappeared at the Louvre. The information that came out earlier this week reveal that contrary to what is circulating, the chandelier was not ‘stolen’ but merely exhibited in an exposition at the mentioned museum. The Ministry of Religious Endowments and Islamic Affairs stated that the 11 century old chandelier has now been returned and it is currently in the Batha Museum in Fez.

In response to a question about the veracity of the claims that it was stolen Mohamed Ba Haja, regional delegate of the Ministry in question said last Sunday that the Big Chandelier was not stolen but transferred beside 300 other Moroccan artifacts to the French museum to take part in the exposition, dubbed Medieval Morocco. The exhibition, which ran from 4 March to 3 June 2015, was under the patronage of Princess Lalla Meriem, who represented King Mohamed VI, and saw the attendance of the then French president François Hollande. The source goes on to say that the chandelier weighs about 1700 kg (3747 lbs) and has a diameter of 2.10 meters (6.8 feet) and a height of 2.35 (7.7 feet). Therefore, its dismantling and reinstallation require a specialized firm…...
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Morocco Recovers 20 Human Remains Dating Back to Stone Age

By  International Morocco  - September 23, 2019

Morocco’s Ministry of Culture and Communication has stated on Sunday 22 that the University of Bordeaux in France has returned 20 artifacts dating back to the stone age to Morocco. These artifacts, according to the communique of the ministry are human remains dating back to the stone age that were discovered during excavations in Rowazi cemetery in Skhirat near the capital Rabat in 1979.The ministry explained that these artifacts will be an important reference at Morocco’s National Institute of Archeology and Heritage as It will benefit students and researchers specialized in the prehistoric period. It added that agreements will be signed between Morocco and France in order to cooperate in this area. The Ministry of Culture and Communication also revealed that a prehistoric park will open in Casablanca, where these remains will be exhibited for the public. The archeological excavations in 1979 in Skhirat took place in the framework of Moroccan-French archaeological co-operation resulted in the discovery of the most important neolithic funerary collection in the northern part of Morocco comprising at least 87 tombs and 14 archaeological sites………..

AIDECO: Moroccan NGO Striving to Create an Impact

By Ezzoubeir Jabrane -  June 18, 2019

The Anbdour and Imin’tizeght Association for Development and Cooperation (AIDECO) is an association that was created in the village of Imin’tizeght/ Anbdour near Tafraout city in the province of Tiznit in 2000. AIDECO’s aim is threefold: contributing to the human and socio-economic development of the region, creating a territorial dynamic and serving as its force, and prompting the local population to be an active agent in shaping its own future.

To attain these aims, the association recurrently sets forth new objectives for itself, centering upon responding to the various problems facing the populations of the region and participating in initiatives that target the development and improvement of the standard of living. These objective include: Assisting populations in accomplishing local initiatives, developing the skills, knowledge and culture as a whole and offering professional trainings while fighting analphabetism, promoting a community and team spirit that encourages its members to support one another, and to promote awareness and preservation of the environment that sustains the population.

The efforts in the direction of achieving these objective have resulted in the realization of numerous concrete projects that benefited the local population. Among these are the establishment of an entire water management system in the village, investing in a local female cooperative (Al Baraka) that specializes in the extraction and sale of Argan oil, the inauguration of a social centre, Messaouda Bent M’Barek. AIDECO also organized the hosting of research students and tourist and organized various cultural, sportive and artistic festivities, as well as hikes in the framework of sustainable and socially responsible tourism.………………..
Contact AIDECO : Email: Website: Phone: +212662806178 +212673406403 Postal Adress : BP 304 Tafraout Centre
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Morocco Hosts African Solar Decathlon, World Largest Varsity Student Competition

Over 1200 students representing 58 universities from the USA, Europe, Asia and Africa are taking part in the African Solar Decathlon 2019 currently held in the green city Mohammed VI of Benguerir, Morocco. This international competition (Sept.13-27) challenges collegiate teams to design and build solar-powered houses that are highly energy-efficient, affordable, and comfortable to live in. The winner of the competition is the team able to score the most points in 10 contests. These include architecture, engineering & construction, market appeal, comfort conditions, appliances, sustainability, home life & entertainment, communication & social awareness, electrical energy & balance, and innovation…………..

Marrakech to Host ‘L’Etape Morocco’ Bicycle Race by Tour de France

On October 20, Marrakech will host the first “Etape Morocco” cycling race by the Tour de France.

By Morocco World News - Sep 20, 2019 Rabat

Marrakech will host the first “L’étape Morocco” race by the Tour de France on the African continent, on Sunday, October 20. This first event of L’Etape races illustrates Tour de France organizers’ desire to develop cycling. They describe the race as “an event offering enthusiasts the opportunity to participate in the legend of the Tour de France, a race that, every year, is followed with passion by fans around the world.”
“For the first time, the cycling lovers will set foot, or should we say ‘wheels’, on the African continent,” says the race’s official website.
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