About the program

The Presidential Internship Program (PiP) at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane (AUI) was established in Fall 2016 with the aim of providing recent graduates from US-accredited, American-style “Liberal Arts” universities around the globe the opportunity to learn about Moroccan culture and language, while working at an American-style “Liberal Arts” university nestled in a pristine, peaceful region in the Middle Atlas Mountains of Morocco.

Presidential Interns will spend one academic year working at AUI where they will develop crucial interpersonal and office-related skills. During the application process, interns are able to select from a variety of full-time positions, and are ultimately matched with the office that best suits their personal interests and professional qualifications.

Al Akhawayn University welcomes applications from candidates of all cultural backgrounds. The internship itself is designed to allow graduates of all nationalities the opportunity to live and work in Ifrane, and to experience both Morocco and the wider MENA region. 

The perks of being a presidential intern include:

  • A rent-free and fully furnished apartment located in the downtown AUI faculty housing right off of the town-center (utilities included).
  • A settling-in allowance of 500MAD in addition to the first stipend installment.
  • A monthly stipend of 3000MAD for living expenses.
  • Health insurance and access to the AUI clinic.
  • Access to the campus’ Mohammed VI Library, the fitness center, the restaurants and café, academic buildings, and our extensive bus system.
  • Access to professional development and one course a semester (of the intern’s choice).
  • Organized trips around Morocco with various student organizations.
  • Opportunities for service and volunteering.
  • 15 days of leave (vacation and sick days) in addition to official AUI staff holidays.

Still Have Questions? Let Us Know!
To contact us with any further questions, please email us at pip@aui.ma. We’d love to hear from you!
We’re also active on social media. Feel free to reach out to us on our Facebook account, or else check us out on Instagram at “auipresidentialinternship.

alumni profiles


Alison elder

Alison Elder was the first Presidential Intern for the Hillary Clinton Center for Women's Empowerment (HCC).  Prior to working at the center she served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in southeastern Morocco for 2.5 years. Originally from Lubbock, Texas, Alison received her undergraduate degree in International Studies and English with a minor in Arabic Studies from Texas A&M University.  Currently a graduate student in Geography at the University of Arizona, her research explores the nexus of irrigation agriculture, water sustainability, and economic opportunity for rural people in southeastern Morocco. Additionally, she is a Peace Corps Coverdell Fellow and graduate research assistant for a National Science Foundation Sustainable Water for Arid Communities project.


jessica jasso

Jessica Jasso was the Presidential Intern in the Office of Student Affairs during the 2016-17 academic year. Mexican-American, and born and raised in Dallas, Texas, Jessica attended John Cabot University in Rome, Italy, where she received a BA in International Business. During her time at AUI, Jessica served as a Resident Assistant where she was able to influence a variety of projects within the housing unit and resident assistant program. Prior to working at AUI, Jessica worked remotely for Paranoid Fan, a tech startup based out of Dallas that provides mapping services for different sports teams worldwide, as well as tools and data to partners that enables them to better understand their consumers so that they can then make informed business decisions based on real-time patterns and behaviors during sports events.

Jessica is currently an Operations Associate at the Techstars HQ in Boulder, Colorado, a worldwide network in over 150 countries that helps entrepreneurs succeed through accelerator programs. Her current role involves assisting with the launch of the first fully virtual accelerator program, “Techstars Anywhere”. When she is not working she is usually traveling as she enjoys learning about new cultures and trying new foods.


Marina lorenzini

Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Marina Lorenzini attended Franklin University Switzerland in Lugano, Switzerland where she majored in Art History with a double minor in History and Italian Studies. As an undergraduate student, Marina primarily focused on Modern and Contemporary Visual Art, Ancient and Medieval Mediterranean History, and International Antiquities Law. She also studied Italian, Latin, German, and Arabic, and has pursued the latter since graduating—she studied Arabic at the Qasid Institute in Amman, Jordan in May of 2016, and is currently studying part-time at the University of Pittsburgh in order to complete an Arabic Language & Linguistics Certificate.

Since graduation, Marina decided to enter the nonprofit world, focusing her efforts on relations between the United States and the MENA region. She began her professional career at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane (AUI) as a member of the Presidential Internship Program’s (PiP) first cohort. Throughout the 2016-17 academic year, Marina worked in the Office of the President where she worked on various projects that contributed to AUI's NEASC accreditation. She also enrolled in three classes at AUI, while simultaneously serving as a TA for two additional classes.

Upon the completion of her contract, Marina accepted a position as the Communication and Development Manager at the American Middle East Institute where she still currently works. There, she focuses on realizing international trade and development partnerships in the natural resources, technology, medical, and higher education fields.

Looking forward, Marina hopes to study law in order to work with international policy pertaining to MENA Region antiquities.


khairunnisa usman

Khairunnisa Usman  خير النساء عثمان or Nisa was the Presidential Intern for the Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness (OIRE) during the 2016-17 academic year. Born and raised in Jakarta, Indonesia, Nisa received her undergraduate degree from The College of Wooster, Ohio, where she majored in Economics. Prior to working at OIRE, Nisa was a Research Intern for the Indonesian Embassy in Washington, D.C. Nisa is also an AFS Exchange Program alumna, having been a high school exchange student in Arlington, Virginia in 2010-11.

Nisa is currently a business consultant at AIP-Rural PRISMA, an economic development program that aims to increase Indonesian smallholder farmers’ income by improving their competitiveness and access to new markets, better inputs, know-how, and technology. Despite the “business consultant” title, Nisa spent most of her days puttering around in undeveloped, rural, parts of Indonesia. She chats with pigs and cattle farmers, feed retailers, livestock traders, and many other market actors to develop financially beneficial and sustainable business models not only for farmers but also for all market actors involved.


olivia snow

Born in the golden age of cassette tapes and Disney on VHS, Aladdin was one of Olivia Snow’s favorite movies growing up. She knows what you’re thinking—no, no Olivia, don’t go down that rabbit hole! Aladdin is a Disney-fied, completely inaccurate, stereotype-creating, poor rendition of Middle Eastern folk tales from One Thousand and One Nights! She hears you. However, despite the less-than-idyllic founding for her intrigue, it developed into a greater passion for Islam’s influence on art, culture, and food in the MENA region.
During the course of her time at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane (AUI) with the Presidential Internship Program (PiP), she worked to make improvements to the school website, both in content and in formatting. The Office of Development and Communication was truly wonderful in allowing her to get involved in this process, along with the efforts behind the University’s internal and external communications. The best part of the program for her was that it gave her the ability to truly explore Morocco. From surfing trips with the AUI Nautical Club to sheep shopping with coworkers for Eid al-Adha, AUI’s PiP gave Olivia a tangible connection to the amazing country that Morocco is.

Since leaving AUI, Olivia has been working for a travel group that allows her to come back and visit Morocco whenever she can!


SARAh taylor

Sarah Taylor completed her BA at Davidson College where she double majored in Political Science and French. During her time as a Presidential Intern at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane (AUI), Sarah completed entrepreneurship and annual report projects for the Vice President for Academic Affairs (VPAA), assisted with events for the Hillary Rodham Clinton Center for Women’s Empowerment (HCC), and conducted development research for then-AUI professor Dr. Heffner. Since returning to the United States, Sarah has been working at a girls' empowerment nonprofit (Ruling Our eXperiences), producing content for the international wellness nonprofit Global Women 4 Wellness, and contributing to women's rights advocacy research for Innovation Ohio's Women's Public Policy Network (WPPN).

When she's not working and volunteering, Sarah travels the world (24 countries and counting), bakes, and reads voraciously. By June 2018 she will become a certified yoga teacher. Post-June Sarah hopes to work in women's rights advocacy and ultimately to attend a JD/MPP program in the United States.


meet the interns



Carrie Robinson is currently serving as the Presidential Intern for the Community Involvement Program and the Office of Interfaith Life. Carrie grew up in Dublin, Ohio and graduated from DePauw University with a double major in Anthropology and Religious Studies. Carrie's senior research focused on post 9/11 Islamophobia in the United States. Carrie hopes spend her term at AUI traveling, continuing with Arabic classes, and helping to strengthen the relationships between various religious groups both on campus and in the local community. She is currently attempting to learn how to cook so please pass along some tips!



Erin Worden is excited to serve as the Presidential Intern for the Hillary Clinton Center for Women's Empowerment. Originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Erin graduated from Denison University with dual degrees in English Literature and International Studies. Her undergraduate research focused on gender and forced migration, particularly studying sexual violence experienced by MENA-native refugee women in Greece. While at AUI, Erin especially looks forward to deepening her engagement with gendered displacement and strengthening the HCC’s outreach programs. Erin also plans to expand her Arabic skills beyond ‘yallah,’ ‘inshallah,’ and ‘habibi,’ in addition to mastering the perfect tagine and traveling around Morocco.



Liam Reilly is the new Presidential Intern in the Office of Development and Communications. A native New Yorker, Liam studied Comparative Literature at Kenyon College with an onus on post-colonial Anglophone-Irish and Francophone literatures. From taking part in various initiatives at Al Akhawayn University, to travelling the country and meeting new people, Liam is very excited about his year in Morocco. A few things Liam chose to share about himself: his passions include writing, cooking, and listening to music (of all kinds—he appreciates recommendations if you have any); sometimes he likes to lounge about on Sundays; he appreciates all puns (especially the bad ones), and he loves movies. Liam looks forward to meeting everyone, so introduce yourself if you haven’t!



Nanuka Chachibaia is currently serving as the Presidential Intern for the Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness (OIRE). Nanuka is originally from Tbilisi, Georgia but has lived abroad most of her life in such places as England, Germany, Libya, the UAE, and Switzerland. Nanuka graduated from Franklin University Switzerland in 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in International Relations and a double minor in Communication & Media Studies and Germanic Studies. Nanuka’s studies focused on Eastern Europe and her undergraduate thesis was entitled “A Discourse Analysis of Russia’s Securitization of Georgia and its “Near-Abroad” Under the Leadership of Vladimir Putin.” While at AUI, Nanuka hopes to continue working on OIRE’s strategic plan and to ensure the perpetuation of excellence at the University, especially given its recent accreditation. Nanuka also hopes to learn basic French during her time in Morocco, and to make use of it while exploring the country.



Sara Stokes is the Presidential Intern working in the Center for Learning Excellence. Born and raised in Decatur, Illinois, she attended the American University of Paris where she earned a degree in Literary Studies and the Creative Arts. Her final portfolio included analyses of texts by Dostoevsky, Dante, Wright, and Highsmith, as well as her own short fiction and prose poetry. Sara looks forward to growing professionally and personally, while indulging her love of travel and language.


Presidential Interns begin their time in Ifrane by attending the new-staff and international-staff orientations in late August 2018 so as to get their feet on the ground. The first day of work takes place some days later on Monday, September 3rd once the interns have acclimated themselves to their surroundings. Over the course of the first semester, interns will work closely with their offices to meet deadlines, and in late December, each intern will undergo an evaluation by their supervisor in order to determine whether their employment contract will continue throughout the year.

Interns’ schedules depend on the office in which they are placed, though most offices typically follow the administrative schedule (Monday through Friday, from 8h30 to 17h30). Some positions operate using alternative schedules or require overtime and weekend work during times of heavy activity. However, even interns operating on the administrative schedule are sometimes asked to stay later depending on the time of year and the supervisor/team’s needs.

Interns interested in enrolling in Arabic or another course through the University must coordinate with their respective office.



The application process for the 2018-2019 program is due May 27th, 2018 at 23:59 EST and applicants should expect to have a final offer by June 30th, 2018 at the latest.


Applications Due May 27th, 2018
Skype Interviews Early June 2018
Second Interviews (via Skype) Mid-June 2018
Final Notification By June 30th, 2018 
 Arrival in Ifrane August 24th–26th 2018
First Day of Work  August 27th 2018



apply now



contact information

Cherif Bel Fekih
Director, Presidential Internship Program
Executive Director, Office of Institutional
Research and Effectiveness
Tel: +212 05 35 86 31 35
E-mail: c.belfekih@aui.ma

The Presidential Interns
Tel: (+212)-35-86-3555
E-mail: auipip@aui.ma

Sanaa Mokaddeme
Manager of the Office of the President
Tel: +212 05 3586 2008
Fax: +212 05 3556 7142
E-mail: s.mokaddeme@aui.ma