Al Akhawayn and Harvard Students Bridge University Cultures Between Cambridge and Ifrane


Ifrane, March 18, 2011 – For the second year running, a group of seven Harvard students has spent a week at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, staying on campus with Al Akhawayn students and attending classes and special seminars throughout the week of March 13-18, 2011. And from March 21-25, eleven Al Akhawayn students will visit their Harvard counterparts in Cambridge, Massachusetts, exploring American university life and studying globalization with a focus on Africa. 

The special reciprocal program, part of the Harvard College Students in Africa Initiative, provides students on both sides of the Atlantic with an exploration-based academic and cultural exchange. During the visit to Al Akhawayn University, the Harvard students stayed with their Moroccan host students in their dormitories and experienced daily campus life. They also attended lectures on “The History of the Arab World” and “History and Culture of the Berbers,” participated in a Moroccan cooking workshop hosted by the University restaurant, and traveled to Volubilis, Meknes, Fez, and Rabat, where they were briefed at the Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

The Al Akhawayn students who will visit Harvard include Tachfine Baida, Amal Bourhrous, Bemah Kone, Driss Lahjouji, Iman Moussaoui, Kawtar Amrani, Lamyaa Eloussi, Mariam El Mezouar, Mohamed Wael Khobalatte, Salma Gaouzi, and Soumaya Graine. They are being accompanied by Professor Jeremy Gunn, Associate Professor of International Relations at Al Akhawayn and a Harvard University alumnus (PhD, 1991).

The Harvard College Students in Africa Initiative (HSAI) is an undergraduate, student-run cultural exchange program between Harvard and undergraduate campuses in Africa. The exchanges are built to develop mutual understanding of the beauty of the cultures, landscapes, and history as well as a mutual understanding of the difficulties of society, economy, and government within all participating countries. The HSAI was founded in 2008 and had its first exchange in 2010 with a conference at the Harvard campus in February and one at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane in March, 2010.