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Morocco Week in Review 
August 29, 2020

Virtual Magazine of Morocco on the Web

Funding Opportunity Title: “Youth Outreach for Bicentennial of U.S. Legation in Tangier” Cooperative Agreement 2020

Funding Opportunity Number:     PAS-MOROCCO-FY20-08
Date of Posting Award:             August 15, 2020
Deadline for Applications:          September 13, 2020
CFDA Number:                        19.040
Total Amount Available:            $75,000 – $85,000
Number of Awards:                  One

The U.S. Mission in Morocco’s Public Affairs Office is pleased to announce a competition to award a cooperative agreement in connection with planned youth outreach in key Moroccan cities celebrating the bicentennial of the U.S. Legation in Tangier. The Public Affairs Office invites proposals from Moroccan or American non-profit organizations operating in Morocco to organize a series of innovative activities, outlined below, to engage Moroccan university students and young professionals in target locations around the themes of prosperity, security, and cultural exchange. Activities should emphasize the shared history, values, and mutual benefits of the U.S.-Moroccan relationship. The awardee will work in close cooperation with the U.S. Embassy to plan and execute this program.
The year 2021 will mark the 200-year anniversary of the founding of the American Legation at Tangier, the oldest U.S. diplomatic property in the world. The bicentennial celebration will serve as the catalyst for a year-long campaign entitled 200 Years of Friendship: Prosperity, Security, and Cultural Exchange” which will highlight the history, strength, and mutual benefit of the U.S.-Moroccan partnership and the reach of our economic, security, and cultural cooperation.
The capstone of these bicentennial activities will be a U.S.-Government sponsored museum exhibit focusing on the U.S.-Moroccan partnership, which will be on display at the National Library in Rabat beginning from mid-May and then move to Casablanca from mid-September through the end of 2021. The exhibition itself will be broken into 4 topic areas: U.S.-Moroccan diplomatic history, American artists influenced by Morocco, Operation Torch and the WWII years in the Legation, and Moroccan influences on U.S. popular culture. The awardee will not be responsible for organizing this museum exhibit, but will incorporate its themes into outreach activities.

The awardee will develop and implement, in close cooperation with the Embassy, youth-focused bicentennial outreach that is tied to museum exhibit themes and encompasses the following activities:
·        “Bicentennial Talks”: A series of four speaker programs/lectures/workshops aimed at youth audience that showcase the U.S.-Moroccan economic, security, and cultural partnership in fresh and engaging ways. Each speaker program should take place at the museum exhibit venue in Rabat or Casablanca, as well as at least two additional cities, with a focus on Tangier, Marrakech, and Oujda (the location, respectively, of the U.S. Legation and American Spaces). The awardee should incorporate one visiting U.S. speaker (to be selected and contacted by the Embassy) as the keynote speaker for each program and should consider the participation of additional Moroccan experts on panels and in workshops.
·        Two youth-focused competitions tied to the theme “200 Years of Friendship.” These could take the form of a debate, essay, photography, short film, or other contest.
·        Three receptions held at the museum exhibit venues which will connect Embassy personnel and visiting speakers with different groups of emerging Moroccan leaders.
·        Promotion of the museum exhibit and related bicentennial activities to target youth groups via social media and billboard advertising.
All activities should take place between May 2021 and January 2022 and should include contingency plans in case of restrictions due to health conditions
All proposals must be submitted to the U.S. Embassy by September 13, 2020 to this email address – no late proposals will be considered.
·        Number of awards anticipated: One.
·        Type of Funding: FY20 Smith-Mundt Public Diplomacy Funds
·        Approximate award amount: The amount may range from a minimum of $75,000 to a maximum of $85,000. Projects for lesser or greater values will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Funding may be renewed for up to an additional ………………..
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Milton commits to celebrating Human Rights Day

BRIDGET HIGDON Staff Writer Aug 13, 2020 Updated Aug 13, 2020

A former Peace Corps volunteer (Morocco), turned author, entrepreneur and social justice advocate, is on a mission to teach Vermonters about human rights.
After working last year with Gov. Phil Scott to solidify Dec. 10 as Human Rights Day in Vermont, Justin Bibee wants to help every town in the state adopt a resolution recognizing the day. At its meeting July 20, the Milton selectboard unanimously approved the human rights resolution Bibee sent to Town Manager Don Turner earlier this year. Human Rights Day is observed around the world every year on Dec. 10, the day the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Chaired by former first-lady Eleanor Roosevelt, a UN committee in 1948 drafted the document that proclaims everyone is inherently entitled to certain inalienable rights regardless of race, color, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

Morocco: Leadership - Al Akhawayn University Receives $ 1.2 Mln From Us State Department

Ifrane — Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane (AUI) has received a $ 1.2 million award from the US Department of State through its Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI). According to the AUI, this prize, entitled "Tomorrow's Leaders" rewards the "leadership of the University in Africa on the American educational model, which enjoys the institutional accreditation of the prestigious American agency NECHE (New England Commission for Higher Education) and which has demonstrated its effectiveness in training the leaders of tomorrow". This distinction, which has just been signed by the President of the University, Amine Bensaid, will allow the continuation of the "capacity building" of professors, staff members and student support units of Al Akhawayn, with the aim of boosting the number and quality of leaders from the University's academic courses……………..
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California to Morocco: A Student’s COVID-19 Diary of Self-Discovery

Unexpected challenges can spark the most valuable insight.

By Nejra Kravic  - Aug 23, 2020

Months before I moved to Morocco and COVID-19 hit, I was an international student struggling to find my place. I remember feeling incredibly unsettled in the small town of Claremont, California, where I was finishing up my sophomore year of college as a Media Studies major. The city’s pristine streets, elm tree lawns, expensive cafes, and niche boutiques that closed their doors as early as 5 p.m. were nothing like my hometown of Sarajevo. Wrecked by several wars, Sarajevo oddly seemed stuck in time. I was used to its unique rawness; a disarray of abandoned buildings, and rows of Austro-Hungarian and socialist style apartment complexes overlooking a muddied river. I remember walking out of coffee shops with my hair smelling like smoke, the thundering sound of a tram passing nearby, and the cold winter breeze on an early December morning hitting my cheeks as I made my way to school.

California: My dream that became my headache

To me, Claremont represented wealthy America. I found it hard to navigate a myriad of Mediterranean houses and perfectly maintained front yards on my way to campus. The land was flat, and the streets were named after famous Ivy League schools. I would occasionally see its residents, primarily older, wealthy, and white Americans, at the local bank and supermarket. My peers also came from privileged backgrounds, and I was one of the few students on financial aid.  
The lush green campus of my school required significant upkeep, and I would hear workers mowing the lawns and trimming the bushes early in the morning. Staff made sure we had enough toilet paper and food in the fridge, and cleaned communal spaces on the daily. I ate at the dining hall and regularly purchased expensive coffee, while complaining about writing papers and not having a single room………………
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1442 Hijri New Year: Tracing the Roots of the Islamic Calendar

While Muslims around the world are celebrating the new year, we take a look at how the Islamic calendar came into existence.

By  Yahia Hatim  - Aug 20, 2020 Rabat

Moroccans and many Muslims around the world are set to celebrate the first day of the new year of the Islamic calendar, also known as the Hijri calendar, on Friday, August 21. Friday marks the beginning of year 1442 of the Islamic calendar and is a public holiday in most Muslim majority countries. First established in the year 622 AD, the Islamic calendar consists of 12 lunar months, totaling 354 or 355 days per year. In most countries, the calendar’s main use is now in determining the dates of religious events, such as Eid al-FitrEid al-Adha, and the holy month of Ramadan. However, several countries, such as Saudi Arabia, use it as an official calendar.

The Hijra

The first year of the Islamic calendar marks the “Hijra” (migration) of Islam’s prophet Muhammad in 622 AD from his birthtown, Mecca, to Yathrib, currently called Medina. The event holds special significance for Muslims, as it was after Hijra that Islam gained many followers. According to Muslim tradition, Prophet Muhammad fled Mecca after God warned him of an assassination plot against him. The prophet only told his closest companions, Abu Bakr and Ali, of his plan to escape………..
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The Return to School During COVID-19: A Moroccan Perspective

A longer-term experience with online learning requires revisiting the quality and accessibility of tools for students and educators.

By Hicham Dahmani  - Hicham Dahmani is an M. Aug 22, 2020

The Moroccan government, schools, and families should get ready for a different return to school this academic year, especially as COVID-19 cases are increasing. Online learning has been evolving at the expense of traditional learning, a fact on which the Moroccan ministry of education should take action. 
Relying officially on streaming classes on television, as happened in March 2020, proved ineffective and failed to target all students. So, what are the reasons behind the failure of online learning in Morocco, and what should policymakers and educators do to facilitate online learning for all learners? 

Three criteria are necessary for successful online learning

The new strategic vision for educational reform (2015-2030) the Moroccan Supreme Council for Education, Training, and Scientific Research developed encompasses incorporating online learning into an educational system, but not anytime soon (CSEFRS, 2014). One-third of the 15-year period allocated to this reform has elapsed without online learning set up in schools and universities in a manner that considers the impacts it has on knowledge construction at the learner’s appropriate pace…………………

Morocco to Adopt Remote Education in 2020-2021 Academic Year

The ministry will also offer in person education to parents wishing to send their pupils to schools instead.

By Safaa Kasraoui -  Aug 22, 2020 Rabat

Morocco’s Ministry of Education and Vocational Training has announced that the country will adopt a remote education system for the 2020-2021 academic year. The decision comes amid the worrying situation due to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. The ministry said that the decision concerns all levels across Morocco in the public, private, and foreign education system. The ministry noted, however, that in-person learning would still be an option for parents who wish their pupils to join schools instead. The ministry also vowed to implement all preventive measures in classes to contain the spread of COVID-19 and ensure the safety of students and educators. Meanwhile, the announcement emphasized that the preventive measures will include firm actions to contain the spread of the pandemic, including the wearing of face masks. Face masks will be mandatory starting in the fifth grade at primary schools. The ministry said that it will adapt the decision regionally or nationally depending on the development of the epidemiological situation………..
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Morocco: ‘e-learning’ to be implemented during next school year

Morocco’s Ministry of National Education, Vocational Training, Higher Education and Scientific Research announced on Saturday the implementation of “e-learning” as a teaching approach to start the new 2020-2021 academic year on 7 September. The approach will be enforceable in all public and private educational institutions as well as schools run by foreign missions. The ministry said in a press release that “school attendance” will be credited to learners when parents approve the option by setting up a feedback mechanism that allows such a choice. It clarified that the move is being made due to the alarming pandemic situation in Morocco, marked by a significant increase in the number of coronavirus infections, the high number of people in critical condition and the significant increase in death rates………….
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Morocco Prepares for Launch of First Digital Education Forum

Moroccans from all backgrounds are invited to participate in the four-day forum to discuss the future of digital education in Morocco.

By  Elizabeth Jay Allouche  - Aug 25, 2020 Rabat

The Moroccan Association for Guidance and Digital Education is set to launch its first four-day forum on digital education and training in Morocco on Wednesday.  The event, titled the “First Arab Forum for Digital Education and Training,” will run from August 26 to 29. The association will broadcast the seminar via their platform,, as well as on social media outlets such as Facebook and YouTube.  Since 2012, the Moroccan Association for Guidance and Digital Education has been “working to make digital educational content improve in quality in terms of content and format,” according to their website. …………..
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IDYR: The Art of Moroccan Boucherouite Meets Eco-Consciousness

Boucherouite, a craft handed down from generation to generation, took a modern turn when it met the ambitions of a young eco-conscious Moroccan.

By  Yahia Hatim  - Jul 30, 2020

Traditional Moroccan tapestry is one of Morocco’s most fascinating artisanal crafts. Colorful, hand-crafted rugs and carpets are available in all Moroccan traditional souks, captivating the curiosity of tourists. Colors, patterns, and materials used to craft the carpets differ from one Moroccan region to another. In the Atlas Mountains, the art of Boucherouite — crafting carpets from pieces of excess fabric, wool, or leather — was passed down through many generations and survives to this day. Fadwa Moussaif, a young eco-conscious Moroccan, saw in Boucherouite more than an art. She saw an opportunity to support women in the Atlas Mountains and a chance to promote sustainability in the fashion industry……………….
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American Singer Jennifer Grout Shares New Quran Recitation Video

Recently, the singer responded to criticism targeting her decision to remove the hijab.

By  Safaa Kasraoui  - Aug 26, 2020 Rabat

American singer Jennifer Grout has shared a mesmerizing new recitation of the Quran on her social networks. She shared on Friday a recitation of verses from Surah Qamar. In her video caption, Grout said she worked hard to imitate the recitation of Mohamed Siddiq El Minshawi, one of the best readers of the Quran in the Arab world. Jennifer Grout said she had to work on the Quran recitation for 22 hours to learn it…………………….
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Travel to Morocco: 8 Tips for an Unforgettable Visit to Marrakech

Knowing more about Morocco’s red city and what you can expect will help prepare you well for a memorable adventure in Marrakech.

By Jihad Dardar - Aug 23, 2020

Learning some top travel tips for Marrakech and knowing what to expect can make your visit to Morocco all the more enjoyable and remarkable. From one tourist season to the next, the former imperial city becomes an even more popular travel destination for its outstanding beauty and rich culture. The booming city is full of wonders and adventures. From its bustling souks, maze-like medina, and view of the snow-capped Atlas Mountains to its beautiful architecture and Moroccan food with a European twist, Marrakech has it all. Morocco’s red city might feel like a whole different world for new visitors, which can be overwhelming or intimidating. However, once you know what to expect, where to go, and how to act and dress, you will be able to enjoy the chaotic and lively energy of Marrakech, which only adds to its beauty. Preparing in advance will help you absorb the culture without worrying about confusion in your travel to Morocco……………………………

Hotels, Riads, Hostels, and Campsites: Where to Stay in Morocco

Traveling to a new environment might be overwhelming. Learning where to stay is a good start to having the best travel experience.

BY Jihad Dardar  - Aug 23, 2020 Rabat

Finding where to stay on your travel to Morocco might seem challenging. However, Morocco has no shortage of wonderful and diverse accommodations to suit any traveler’s preference. Whether you choose to stay in the heart of an ancient medina to experience the traditional Moroccan lifestyle or in the newer areas of cities, you will have plenty of options. Travel to Morocco offers a wide range of accommodations. You can find classified and unclassified hotels that vary in price point, famous traditional houses in the heart of the medinas called riads, houses and villas for rent, and other accommodations. Whether you stay in youth hostels or grand sultan palaces, the costs vary, so you can choose where is best for your stay in Morocco based on your own resources and priorities. It is also wise to reserve accommodations in advance, especially in major cities such as Marrakech, Tangier, Casablanca, Rabat, Fez, and Agadir. Following this guide will help you narrow that decision and give you an idea of the different places where you can stay during your travel to Morocco……………
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The Art of Embroidery: Moroccan Experts Share Advice for Beginners

Embroidery is an exquisitely detailed art form and its benefits go beyond its aesthetics.

By Jihad Dardar - Jun 28, 2020

Embroidery is an art that has existed for centuries and its applications are numerous. You can use the method of decorating fabric using a needle and thread for many purposes, from embroidering a unique piece of artwork to decorating your wall, to adding some decorative stitches to your shoes, clothes, or bags to renovate their looks. It is also an excellent tool to strengthen hand-eye coordination as well as a way to improve academic, emotional, and artistic skills. This art form might have been viewed as a uniquely feminine craft in certain cultures in the past, but now it is an equal opportunity handcraft that anyone can embrace and enjoy regardless of their gender. Hand embroidery is transforming into a modern trend from a traditional craft, with many popular clothing brands adopting the art in their creations and new collections. Many young artists are now engrossed in embroidery, using their creativity and imagination to take this art to new and exciting places……
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Marrying Love and Fashion: Wedding Dresses in Morocco

The various wedding dresses in Morocco are majestic, fascinating, and rich in regional heritage.

By  Jihad Dardar  - Jul 18, 2020

Each country has its own special wedding traditions and ceremonies, and Morocco is no exception. The traditional Moroccan wedding is full of fascinating customs and elaborate processes, from the henna party to the wedding food. Certainly, the most enchanting element is the wedding dresses a bride in Morocco will choose. Everyone gets dressed up for Moroccan weddings. Female guests wear all sorts of beautiful caftans and takchitas (Moroccan dresses) of various colors, textures, shapes, and ornamentations. The male guests usually wear suits, and the wedding staff also wear kaftans and suits. The groom starts with a suit and often changes it for a “jabador,” and later for a Moroccan male djellaba. Just like a wedding in any other country, the Moroccan bride is treated like a queen, and undoubtedly dresses the part. From the start of the wedding until the end of the night, the bride dons several different traditional Moroccan wedding dresses that represent different regions. The wardrobe choice tends to give special attention to the bride and the groom’s regions of origin………………………………………
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Morocco Ranks 43rd Globally for Mobile Internet Speed

Morocco moved up nine places with a 4G internet speed estimated at 39.32 megabits per second.

By  Safaa Kasraoui  - Aug 27, 2020 Rabat

Morocco ranks 43rd globally out of 138 countries for its mobile internet speed, data from American site SpeedTest shows. The website in charge of evaluating the performance of the internet across the globe unveiled data for July 2020 for 138 countries. The data shows that Morocco moved up nine places from the previous month, with a 4G internet speed estimated at 39.32 megabits per second (Mbps). Morocco also ranked first in North Africa. The country is seventh in the MENA region. The country’s fixed broadband internet ranked 117, moving up eight spots. Data shows the UAE topping the list with the fastest mobile speed, at 110.90 Mbps per second, followed by South Korea, China, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia. Netherlands is the sixth on the list, followed by Australia, Canada, Bulgaria, and Norway……………………………………………..
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Caftans: Morocco’s Treasured Traditional Garments Hit the Global Stage

Caftans are deeply rooted in the history of Morocco, and fashion designers such as Salmane Zerouali are constantly widening the varieties of the traditional dress.
By  Asmae Nakib  - Jul 12, 2020

Moroccan caftans are not only treasured traditional garments, but are also becoming high fashion pieces attracting the focus of high-end designers around the world. One such name is Salmane Zerouali, a Moroccan caftan designer at Pure Crystal in Dubai.  Born with a passion for traditional Moroccan clothing, he finds working on caftans is an opportunity to beautify and glorify the heritage of Morocco with creativity and pride.
In a typical setting, Moroccan women wear the traditional dresses, which come in various styles and colors, exclusively on special occasions such as weddings and eid celebrations. However, the world-renowned dress offers beauty so dazzling it also takes audiences’ breath at fashion shows across the globe.

The Principle of Legality: Without Law, There is No Crime or Punishment?

The principle is not without its critics, but Morocco has institutionalized it for the long term.

By  Khaoula Yagoubi  - Aug 23, 2020

Criminal texts, like other statutory legal texts, are characterized by their mandatory application and their ability to expire or amend. They must keep pace with the development of society, taking into account individual and collective interests. What the legislature considers permissible action now may enter into the circle of criminal acts with the issuance of a new law.  The legislator has the right to change their view of what is permissible or criminal in actions and words. Therefore, the individual must know about this restriction in order to protect their freedoms and rights and to live comfortably within the state of rights and law. 
Among the most important and dangerous methods the political authority of any state exercises is the criminal aspect, mainly represented in the power to criminalize and punish. This affects the rights and freedoms of individuals………………..

Siemens Gamesa ‘Looks Forward’ to Boosting Morocco’s Wind Energy

The Spanish company currently has over 72% of the wind energy market share in Morocco.

By  Yahia Hatim  - Aug 22, 2020

Spanish wind power operator Siemens Gamesa is hoping to reach an energy production capacity of one gigawatt (GW) in Morocco in the near future, Sonia Adnane, Siemens Gamesa’s head of communications and public affairs in Africa, told Morocco World News. “Today, we have 180 [megawatts] (MW) under construction in Midelt, as … part of the 850MW framework agreement in partnership with the National Electricity Office (ONEE). In that context, we are very much looking forward to starting the next ones, helping us to reach more than 1GW in the country,” Adnane said. Siemens Gamesa, present in Morocco since 2017, currently operates eight wind farms across Morocco, totaling 856MW and representing over 72% of the local market share…………………….

Morocco Opens Applications for Princess Lalla Meryem Innovation Prize

The princess aims to support home-grown initiatives that improve the lives of rural Moroccan women and people living in poverty.

By Morgan Hekking -  Morgan Hekking holds a BA in International Relations from Hobart & William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York. Aug 26, 2020 Rabat

The National Union of Women of Morocco (UNFM) opened on Tuesday applications for the Princess Lalla Meryem Prize for Innovation and Excellence.
Moroccan women aged 20 to 40 years old, from rural and peri-urban areas, may apply for the award until September 15. Named for the older sister of King Mohammed VI and eldest child of the late King Hassan II, applications for the prize opened on the eve of Princess Lalla Meryem’s birthday.  UNFM, whose president is the princess herself, established the innovation and excellence award during International Women’s Day celebrations this year on March 8. Unveiling the details of the prize, Prncess Lalla Meryem said she wants to promote a culture of innovation among Moroccan women and entrepreneurship among young people.  The prize rewards those who have developed creative projects to better their communities. In particular, the princess aims to support initiatives that contribute to societal development and improve the everyday lives of rural Moroccan women and people living in poverty.
Prizewinners will receive support in implementing their projects and special training on soft skills, such as communication skills and work ethic………….
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Morocco’s Beni Mellal-Khenifra Region Welcomes Fish Farming Boom

Farmers in the Beni Mellal-Khenifra region consider aquaculture to be one of the most beneficial sectors for combating eutrophication in local water reservoirs.

By Morgan Hekking - Morgan Hekking holds a BA in International Relations from Hobart & William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York.
Aug 25, 2020 Rabat

The Beni Mellal-Khenifra region, in central Morocco, is reaping the benefits of a flourishing fishing farming sector as traditional agriculture suffers the effects of drought.  The region is on its way towards becoming a Moroccan aquaculture hub that will improve the production of fish products in the region, Morocco’s state media reported.  The growing fish farming industry also supports traditional agricultural methods in the region.  Asian carp raised on fish farms consume harmful plants in water that is used to irrigate fields. By fighting the eutrophication of irrigation water, fish farming is helping to ensure a better quality of water for irrigation and to fight against the proliferation of macrophytes in irrigation canals. Farmers in the Beni Mellal-Khenifra region consider fish farming to be one of the most beneficial sectors for cleaning dams and water reservoirs, the source explained. The practice supports local irrigation systems and delivers better water for livestock.

Deploying Asian carp in the fight against harmful plants
The Asmak Nile Company of Beni Mellal is one of the most active companies in the production of Asian carp in the region. 
With 25 total breeding ponds, the company annually produces 60 tons of tilapia for human consumption and 2 million Asian carp to clean the irrigation basins………. 
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Morocco’s Montacir Laouina: Interweaving Architecture and Photography

“Photography is very experimental. Photography is about changing perception.”

By Elizabeth Jay Allouche -  Aug 22, 2020

In Rabat’s art-deco Cafe Renaissance an old acquaintance, Montacir Laouina, talks with me about Morocco through architecture, photography, and his attempt to navigate one using the other.  For Montacir the two are not mutually exclusive. One helps you understand the other, and vice versa.  When once asked about the function of a wall in architecture school, he responded, “to host the shadow of a tree.”  One quick glance at Montacir’s work from across Morocco, and it’s easy to see the role shadows, lines, and architecture at play in his photography. “Photography is very experimental. Photography is about changing perception.”
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