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Morocco Week in Review 
September 19 2020

Virtual Magazine of Morocco on the Web

Cathartic Returns to Morocco: Mark Apel, from Peace Corps to Farmer-to-Farmer

By Maravi Post Reporter Monday, 14 Sep 2020 Ellen Hernandez is an assistant professor of English at Camden County College in New Jersey, USA. Katie Bercegeay is the Director of Development at the High Atlas Foundation, and a former Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco

Upon hearing the words “Hamdullah wa inshallah,” Mark Apel is transported as if in a time capsule to the many times he and Yossef Ben-Meir, President of the High Atlas Foundation (HAF), uttered them in gratitude for the food set before them or in hope for something good to come of their efforts as Peace Corps Volunteers. “It makes you more mindful of the moment,” he remarked in a recent interview conducted by Yossef for HAF.

Mark was born in France, son of an airman, whose family returned to the U.S. where he grew up in a suburb of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Two months after graduation from Penn State in 1982, he joined the Peace Corps and came to Morocco. There, he was able to use his degree in environmental resource management and specialization in wildlife management as a fisheries volunteer. He had originally aspired to be a veterinarian, but his keen interest in wildlife, parks, and protected areas led him to this more holistic discipline…………………

A Peace Corps volunteer’s return to Morocco

September 14, 2020 [ed. note: Same above story]

A Generation and a Day in Development Life – HAF Celebrates 20 Years

Viewpoint by Dr. Yossef Ben-Meir. The writer is President of the High Atlas Foundation in Marrakech, (& RPCV Peace Corps) Morocco. MARRAKECH (IDN)

As so many of us ask when we commemorate an anniversary of decades: where have all the years gone? Have we done all we can? Have we been of true service? Did we do right? We also may wonder on these occasions what might the future hold. Will our dreams – our Moroccan dreams – come true? Will every village and neighbourhood come together, with every young person, every elderly, every woman and a man from all circumstances and be part of designing and deciding the future course of their community? And will the High Atlas Foundation (HAF) be of the best service it could as the Moroccan people create the change they seek?

It is the 20th year anniversary of the High Atlas Foundation and its mission in Morocco – an organization born from the service of Peace Corps Volunteers and dedicated Moroccan friends. With every entity that endures across time, there seems to be a miraculous component--that through unpredictable events, there remains continuity. The mission of HAF is as fixed as the universal principle upon which it is based: the people - those who are impacted by development decisions and actions - are the drivers of lasting change. We are dedicated to the premise that sustainability is manifested by and for local communities.
This means that HAF commits to inclusivity and empowerment so that people are confident as they make decisions that reflect what they need; projects that are the priorities of the people and that cut across the different sectors of life; and partnerships – because of the wider and deeper the commitment, the greater the likelihood of implementation and endurance.

After some millions of growing trees later, thousands of families drinking clean water, thousands of people experiencing capacity-building so that they manifest change around them, we have also learned abiding lessons. Ripples of good intentions and of people's projects over time create outcomes that, when observed, help us to realize there is an incalculable amount of impact out there. The impact is experienced by children and grandchildren and will be experienced by generations to come. Development, like planting a tree, is an endeavour that naturally seems to cross into faith.
Sustainability is an operational concept involving the consideration of a multiplicity of factors that require consideration in the planning of development--economic, cultural, technological, financial, environmental, geographic, historical, and gender-based factors. However, sustainability may very well be, after all, the ongoing generation of good effects that are so widespread and so deep in the heart and so across time that they belong to no one but to the people who feel the bounty, power, and ability in the moments of their lives………………



On Wednesday, September 16, 2020, Mr. Saaïd Amzazi, Minister of National Education, Vocational Training, Higher Education and Scientific Research, Mr. Driss Ouaouicha, Minister Delegate in charge of  Higher Education and Scientific Research, His excellency Mr. David T. Fischer, U.S. Ambassador, presided the ceremony of the official kick-off of the activities of the Higher Education Partnership – Morocco (HEP-M).
This $5 million program initiative, which is the fruit of over a decade of strong partnership efforts between the Ministry of National Education, Vocational Training, Higher Education and Scientific Research and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), will contribute to strengthening the Ministry’s efforts in implementing the Education Bill “Loi Cadre” 51-17 related to Education, Training and Scientific Research, particularly the section about the initial training of primary school teachers. The HEP-M program will be implemented over the next four years by Arizona State University’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, working with universities, and teacher training institutions (CRMEFs) across Morocco, along with the aid of experienced technical assistance and private sector agencies…………….

Illiteracy in Morocco: 1 Million Moroccans Benefit from Literacy Programs

Under King Mohammed VI, Morocco has significantly increased efforts to combat illiteracy.

By  Taha Mebtoul  - Sep 9, 2020 Rabat

Morocco’s National Agency for the Fight against Illiteracy (ANLCA) recorded 1.022 million beneficiaries of literacy programs during the 2019-2020 school year.
The number of beneficiaries of literacy programs in Morocco increased by 9.3% in 2019 compared to 2018. Head of the Government Saad Eddine El Othmani announced the figures Tuesday at the 6th session of the Board of Directors of ANLCA in Rabat. El Othmani highlighted the various national and international coordination that ANLCA pursued to achieve its goals of reducing illiteracy in Morocco. The agency’s objectives are part of Morocco’s 2017-2021 roadmap for the reinforcement of the quality of education. The head of government also highlighted the special circumstances of COVID-19 that forced ANLCA to suspend its efforts to combat illiteracy in Morocco since March 16. The suspension, however, was a preventive measure that aimed to preserve the health of beneficiaries, El Othmani said.

El Othmani shed light on the mechanisms of remote education that ANLCA has adopted during the COVID-19 crisis. He highlighted the mobile applications “Alpha Nour” and “Alpha Taahil” and their role in enlarging the number of beneficiaries of literacy programs despite the suspension of school.
He called on ANLCA to accelerate the launch of new literacy applications, particularly those for seafarers that are being prepared in coordination with the Department of Maritime Fisheries at the Ministry of Agriculture. Other applications are under construction in coordination with the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) agency. The applications are for the benefit of farmers as part of the operation of the ownership of collective lands in the Gharb and Houz areas………………………………..
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In Pictures: Morocco village riffs on Jimi Hendrix legends, myths

There are no soundtracks or images from his journey to Diabat but countless myths surround his fleeting trip.

16 Sept 2020

Fifty years after guitar legend Jimi Hendrix's death, a village on Morocco's Atlantic coast pulsates with his memory. Some there claim to have seen him, others to have spoken with him. "I saw him here. He was young and carried a guitar on his back," said Mohammed Boualala, who is in his 60s and grew up in the small settlement of Diabat before joining the army.

In the summer of 1969, Hendrix, the pioneering US guitar wizard whose hits included Purple Haze and Hey Joe, made a brief stop in Essaouira, a former fort town and latter-day tourist magnet located five kilometres (three miles from the village). There are no soundtracks or images left from the rock icon's journey, but countless myths surround his fleeting trip. "He visited friends who were staying in the village. It was the last time that we saw him," sighed Boualala, clad in traditional brown qamis tunic. "They say he is dead but only God knows."

Hendrix choked on his own vomit in a hotel in London on September 18, 1970 after swallowing sleeping pills and drinking red wine. Images celebrating the American musician are a permanent fixture in Diabat's white houses, nestled in coastal sand. With its Cafe Jimi and the Hendrix Inn, the village has an air of sanctuary, half rock and half flower power.
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Morocco: Reviving a Monastery for Community Development

By MaraviPost  /   Friday, 11 Sep 2020  By Lamia Radi Rabat, Morocco

In Morocco’s Middle Atlas Mountains near the town of Azrou, travelers come for hiking or to see the famed Barbary macaque apes in the Cedar Forest. Near Azrou, nestled high in the mountains and overlooking the green valleys below, the Toumliline Monastery was established by a group of French monks in 1952 because it was “suitably remote for contemplation,” as noted by a Time’s journalist in 1969. Pressured at first by colonial authorities to try to convert the local Amazigh tribesmen to Christianity, the monks refused, explaining that it would cause the people to be “outcasts in their own country.” Instead, they planted an orchard.

Morocco has long been a place where East meets West. There are churches, cathedrals, and other Christian sites. Yet, due to the changing political climate of the 1960s, the once thriving monastery of 40 dwindled down to 7 and to three and finally closed in 1968. Before that, it was a place open to people of all beliefs. The monastery welcomed students and local villagers for practical training in how to deal with differences of opinion. It was the site that brought together those of the Abrahamic faiths – the “Three Religions of the Book” – to find shared values and common ground. From the French Jewish philosopher, Emmanuel Levinas, to the local farmers, hundreds of people from different religions, ethnicities, continents, and social statuses gathered to debate how different faiths could live together and interact for the benefit of the majority………………
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The Resurrection of Agadir Oufella, a Lost Moroccan Landmark

The restoration of Agadir Oufella, one of Morocco’s great historic landmarks, is an important event for all Moroccans.

By Jihad Dardar - Sep 13, 2020

Sixty years after a devastating earthquake left the national Moroccan heritage monument of Agadir Oufella in ruins, the site is now undergoing restoration as part of the 2020-2024 Agadir Urban Development Program.  The program aims to carry out many projects in Agadir that will develop the city, improve the living conditions of the population, and promote the city’s attractiveness as a national and international tourist destination. During the launch of the Agadir Urban Development Program, Morocco’s Minister of the Interior, Abdelouafi Laftit, pointed out many strong notes that the program is targeting, including the development of several structuring projects. The Wali of the Souss-Massa region, Ahmed Hajji, said a key aspect of the program is protecting, promoting, and enhancing the city’s cultural heritage. This is where the restoration of Agadir Oufella comes into frame…………….
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Morocco: torn between freedom and an anti-change society

October 2019 was marked by a milestone in the Moroccan agenda; a new movement that proclaims freedom of one’s body and one’s love orientations.

Following the arrest of Moroccan journalist Hajar Raissouni and allegations of illegal “abortion” and “non-marital sex”, close sources claimed that the journalist is being falsely detained along with her fiancé as part of a political cold war and reckoning because of Raissouni’s political stands as a journalist. Although the journalist has been given parole and released last week, the movement is still going strong and heavy. What started as an online outrage by users on Facebook as a reaction to the news, quickly began a national movement urging younger people to participate in a petition that aims to abolish article n°490 of the Moroccan criminal code: “Are punishable by imprisonment for one month; all people of different sex who have sexual intercourses out of wedlock”.

United by one goal that is freedom of bodies and minds, female writers, activists and journalists have all chanted one mantra “We, Moroccan citizens, declare that we are outlaws” and “all outlaws, until the law changes”, even calling said law to be “obsolete” and “outdated”.

What struck me most about the subject, is the different dimensions and depths it takes. While following people’s opinions on the movement I found that the only people that are talking are women. They’re the ones who are launching petitions, demanding change and asking people to sign. Isn’t this a universal issue? Or is it because we are the side that ultimately carries the fatal consequences of the act of love, be it pregnancy or shame by society? ……………..
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Morocco Should Adopt an Asynchronous Online Learning Framework

The proposed application would provide students the opportunity to learn anywhere, regardless of internet connectivity, at their appropriate pace, and through methods that engage an array of learning styles.

By Hicham Dahmani  - Hicham Dahmani is an M. Sep 13, 2020

Morocco’s COVID-19-induced transition to remote education revealed the promise of adopting a community of asynchronous online learning framework. The main hindrances to online learning in Morocco are the lack of accessible digital learning materials, weak or inaccessible bandwidth connectivity, and inappropriate or inaccessible learning technology tools. When one of these factors hides, it foretokens online learning failure.  A community of asynchronous online learning (CAOL) framework is important to surpass the issue of a failing remote education in Morocco. So, what is this framework, what are its components, and how does it work?

CAOL framework

My proposed community of asynchronous online learning framework for Morocco would take the form of an application void of the need for bandwidth connectivity. The framework addresses four factors to better function and impact students’ learning: Affordability, materiality, flexibility, and assessment. These components meet socioeconomic circumstances, knowledge construction, interaction, and evaluation perspectives…………….
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Dr. Abdesselam Ferrati Urges Soft Skills in University Education

A Moroccan university professor makes the case for integrating soft skills development into higher education to better prepare graduates for a modern work environment.

By Jihad Dardar  - Sep 13, 2020

In a world where hard and technical skills are straightforward to study, it is more important than ever for Moroccans to also learn soft skills in their university education. When hiring, employers do not just look at applicants’ technical knowledge. They will also ask about soft skills and personality traits that differentiate a candidate from other applicants. Most applicants that secure job offers are the ones who make sure to illustrate not just their hard skills and training, but their soft skills and personal characteristics and habits. So what are these soft and hard skills, and why are soft skills so important to incorporate in Moroccan university curricula?

Defining soft skills and hard skills

“Hard skills [means] the knowledge and the technical expertise needed for a certain job. They are usually job-specific and are learned at schools or colleges (through education and training),” Mohammed V University Professor Abdesselam Ferrati, Ph.D. told Morocco World News in an interview. Hard skills are usually what applicants focus on when developing their resume or when applying for a specific position. Of course, having the hard skills the recruiter is asking for is important, otherwise, you will not be ineligible for the job.

However, among the many technically qualified applicants that apply for the same position, you will need your resume to stand out. This is where soft skills play a big role in helping university graduates in their professional careers. “Soft skills are the psycho-social abilities, interpersonal skills, and the personal character attributes that every individual has. They refer to all interpersonal, social, and communication skills that enable people to think critically, solve problems, and communicate well with others,” said Ferrati, whose scope as a professor includes business communication. These skills have become crucial for any person’s professional life. Applicants that have a good set of soft skills on their resume are more attractive to employers than those who only have technical skills. The recruiter looks for the person that not only will do their job but add value to the company………..
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Fight Against Covid-19: Morocco's Multidimensional Strategy Highlighted Before HRC

14 September 2020 Geneva

The multidimensional strategy adopted by Morocco to fight the Covid-19 pandemic and the solidarity actions undertaken by the Kingdom in favor of African countries were highlighted, Monday in Geneva, during the 45th session of the Human Rights Council (HRC). Presenting Morocco's statement under the "Interactive Dialogue" on the Oral Report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on Covid-19, Morocco's Permanent Representative in Geneva, Omar Zniber, highlighted "the multiple measures undertaken in Morocco in the fight against COVID-19, prioritizing, the health of citizens, over any other consideration, in a difficult global economic context.  "Also, and despite the challenges posed by this unprecedented situation, Morocco has, in accordance with its international commitments to promote and defend human rights, included all categories of people settled in Morocco in the same logic, granting them the rights guaranteed to nationals in terms of access to care and support," he added.

Faithful to its unwavering commitment to true solidarity in all circumstances, Morocco has provided support to its continent of belonging by conducting an aid operation for the benefit of several sister African States and the African Union Commission, thus creating a real air bridge between the different regions of the continent, he stressed.  In another vein, Zniber drew attention to "disinformation, and the uncontrolled flow of information, which in this particular context can be extremely damaging," emphasizing the need for journalists and the media to be more rigorous.

Moroccan Cinema: The 9 Best Moroccan Movies of All Time

This is a list of the best Moroccan movies of all time that will either get you more acquainted with Moroccan cinema or hit you with nostalgia.

By  Jihad Dardar  - Sep 13, 2020

Over the years, Morocco’s burgeoning cinema has produced some enthralling movies, with the best Moroccan movies making it to several festivals such as the Cannes Film Festival.  In addition to giving Morocco a spot in the global cinematic spotlight, some of these movies made Moroccans give their country’s young film industry a chance—both by watching and supporting Moroccan artists driving and inspiring the still adolescent Moroccan industry.  The story of Moroccan-made movies, however, goes beyond the limited and limiting confines of exclusively “Moroccan” films. Because of its gorgeous and diverse landscape, the North African country has become a go-to destination for some of the most influential names in the cinematic universe. For decades the country has been home to countless Hollywood and international movie sets………………….
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Moroccan Lifestyle: 5 Tips for a Healthier Mind and Body

Mirroring certain aspects of Moroccan culture can be very beneficial in your own personal and professional life.

By  Jihad Dardar  - Sep 13, 2020

Every country is differentiated by its culture, lifestyle, and etiquette, and Morocco is no exception. Moroccan lifestyle is unique and includes elements that you can adopt for a better and healthier way of living.  Morocco’s diversity fostered a multitude of different ways of life that date back centuries and that come from different groups of people. The Moroccan lifestyle today draws from this diversity as well as Islam, the dominant religion in Morocco.

The way of life in Morocco is very different from that of the West and has benefits that you may not be aware of. Here are five characteristics common among Moroccans that you can incorporate into your own life.

Being friendly and sociable

Morocco is famous for its hospitality, and Moroccans are known to be amicable and sociable people. If you visit Morocco, you will notice most locals stop and greet each other with a gentle handshake or cheek kisses (only if it is with the same sex). Moroccans almost always engage in small talk, inquiring about heath, the family’s well being, about what is new in their lives, and ask each other to pass greetings to the rest of the family. More often than not, the first time you meet a Moroccan, they will be very social with you and engage in long conversations about almost everything. They may even invite you to their house for tea or lunch.

When visiting someone’s home, Moroccans always make sure that they bring a gift with them, such as sugar or pastries that they prepared themselves or bought from a bakery. Moroccans will also often give their neighbors gifts, share their food, and invite them over to socialize and unwind over a meal. Moroccans’ friendliness makes them great hosts……………………..
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Morocco Joins UNESCO Committee for Safeguarding Intangible Heritage

Morocco has several UNESCO World Heritage sites.   

 By Safaa Kasraoui - Sep 11, 2020 Rabat

The UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has elected Morocco as a member of the Intergovernmental Committee for Safeguarding its Intangible Cultural Heritage. Morocco’s Ambassador to Belgium and Permanent Representative at UNESCO Samir Addahre will join the committee for a term of four years. His presence will mark Morocco’s first representative on the cultural heritage committee. Morocco is now one of 24 States Parties active on the cultural heritage committee. The committee renewed half of its members during the eighth session of the General Assembly of the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Heritage.  The session took place from September 8-10 at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris. Saud Arabia, Sweden, Brazil, South Korea, Switzerland, and Rwanda also joined the committee. The committee will make recommendations on measures to safeguard intangible cultural heritage, providing advice on best practices and promoting the objectives of UNESCO’s conventions………………….
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"Morocco's Strategy against Terrorism", Reference Book by Mohammed Benhammou

Published by French Publisher "L'Harmattan"

02 September 2020 Paris

"Morocco's Strategy against Terrorism" is the new book by president of the Moroccan Center for Strategic Studies (CMES), Professor Mohammed Benhammou, which has just been published by French publisher "L'Harmattan".A reference work on the matter, this book is for specialists in strategic and geopolitical issues and it sheds light on the Moroccan strategy for preventing radicalization and combating terrorism. The book by Prof. Benhammou, also president of the African Federation for Strategic Studies, tackles the threat in a regional context marked by recurring uncertainties, particularly in terms of security. This work also assesses the progression of threats in the strategic depth of Morocco represented by the Sahel-Sahara and West Africa………….
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