Al Akhawayn University celebrates the Amazigh Day
Ifrane, October 28, 2011 – Hundreds of Al Akhawayn students, staff, faculty, and guests turned up to the campus quadrangle to explore the richness of Berber culture in Morocco during the Amazigh Day held on October 27, 2011 at the campus of Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane.
Organized by Al Akhawayn student-run Aytmatn* Club, this second year of the Amazigh Day was highlighted by a panoply of activities taking place around campus throughout the day in collaboration with several cooperatives and craftsmen. The co-ops showcased handmade and local products (traditional shoes, local food products, handmade jewelry, and more) from the High and Middle Atlas regions. The University restaurant offered food specific to Amazigh culture, and a concert featuring famous Amazigh singers concluded the day.
A panel discussion on the theme of “Tamazight in a Multilingual and Multicultural Morocco” was the key activity of the Amazigh Day.
“The educational training given to Al Akhawayn students is not limited to academic or scientific training. We also aim at making Al Akhawayn graduates good citizens through the learning experience they get in extracurricular activities,” said Cherif Bel Fekih, Vice President for Student Affairs as he was praising the students’ initiative in organizing the cultural day.
Present during the panel discussion were El Houssine El Moujahid, General Secretary of the Royal Institute of Amazigh Culture**; Abdesslam Khalafi, Linguistics expert; Michael Peyron, former faculty at Al Akhawayn and expert in Amazigh language and culture; Mohammed Dahbi, Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences; and other guests, students, staff and faculty. The discussion revolved around the importance of promoting Amazigh culture and language in a multi-contextual country that is Morocco, Amazigh sites and tourism, and the historical, political, regional and national attention to and talks on Tamazight, as a language and a culture.
“Tamazight is a living language and a tool for communication and creativity… Tamazight culture is a branch of the national and cultural identity of all Moroccans,” declared El Houssine El Moujahid.
The Amazigh Day was organized within the framework of current national events including festivals, lectures, and workshops that aim at promoting and raising awareness on the diverse Moroccan cultural heritage.
*Aytmatn is a student-run club which literally means “the brothers” following Al Akhawayn name. It was created in March 2011 with the purpose of promoting the Amazigh language and culture among Al Akhawayn community.
**Royal Institute of Amazigh Culture is an academic institute of the Moroccan government in charge with the development and the promotion of Berber languages in Morocco. The institute is located in the capital Rabat. It was officially founded on October 17, 2001 under a royal decree of King Mohammed VI (Dahir (royal decree) number 1-01-299). The Institute offers advice to the Moroccan king and government about the measures that would help develop the Berber language and culture, especially within the educational system.