Al Akhawayn: Rich History in Educating and Empowering Wome


For years, Bill and Melinda Gates have continuously spoken out in support of and fought for women's rights, and the overall empowerment of women all over the world. In another event of showcasing their continued support for the cause, last month the Gates family released their annual letter, this year's being centered around how the increased education of women can have many positive benefits. In the letter, the Gates point out studies that have proven that if women are given just a few more years of schooling to equal that of their male counterparts, the overall lifetime earnings of women could increase by as much as $30 trillion. The letter goes on to point out that women tend to contribute 90% of their income to their family; men only contribute 35% of their income. In addition to the financial incomes, UNESCO stated that "ensuring that girls stay in school is one of the most effective ways of averting child marriage and early babies." 


AUI shares the same goals as the Gates do in improving the lives of as many women as possible. In 1999, AUI and former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton collaborated and founded the Hillary Clinton Center for Women's Empowerment at AUI (HCC), and the University has continued to support women's empowerment ever since. The HCC is the foremost center for grassroots outreach and interdisciplinary scholarship on gender and women's rights issues in North Africa. Its scholars and scholarship focus on the contemporary and historical forces that shape current gender discourses in the region. The HCC has continuously coordinated programs for distinguished guest speakers, scholars-in-residence, training, conferences and campus and community outreach since its opening 20 years ago, and will continue its history of empowering women in the region and all around the world for many years to come. In 2002, as a result of a tripartite convention with the Society of Friends of Al Akhawayn in Saudi Arabia and the King Fahd Middle East Studies program at Arkansas University, the Azrou Centre for Community Development was created.  The Azrou Center contributes to the empowerment of women and men in the Azrou region, by providing socio-educational, professional, and medical services through non formal education for school age children, adult literacy classes, vocational and professional training certification, medical visits, and sustainable community development awareness programs.


AUI and the Gates family share the same vision of empowering women, and are fighting the same fight with the same mission. Friday, March 8th is International Women's day and AUI, the HCC, and the Azrou Center are all celebrating the greatness of women and supporting the continuous cause of the empowerment of women all around the globe. 


You can read more of Bill and Melinda Gates' annual letter here: