Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane - News Archive - 2010

News Archive - 2010

Director of Harvard’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies Visits Al Akhawayn 

Ifrane, December 16, 2010 – Dr. Baber Johansen, Director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University, visited Al Akhawayn University and Morocco this week for discussions with University faculty and administrators about possible collaboration and joint activities. 

During his two-day visit to Al Akhawayn, Professor Johansen remarked on the special potential the University has for being a leader in the international fields of Middle Eastern, North African, and Islamic Studies.   

“Your location, your breadth of knowledge and experience as reflected in your students and your faculty, plus your astounding facilities – are all most impressive and unique,” Johansen said. 

“I look forward to coming back soon and to continuing the conversation on how to turn our many excellent ideas into reality.”


Al Akhawayn and Illinois Wesleyan University Sign Partnership Agreement 

Ifrane, December 15, 2010 – Marking Al Akhawayn University’s first formal partnership with a U.S. university in the state of Illinois, President Richard Wilson of Illinois Wesleyan University visited Ifrane this week to sign a comprehensive framework agreement with Al Akhawayn University President Driss Ouaouicha. 

The agreement envisions a wide range of collaborative activities between the two institutions, including faculty, student, and staff exchanges and various joint projects. Al Akhawayn and Illinois Wesleyan are similar in many ways; both are small, highly selective, residential liberal arts institutions with international student populations, among other shared traits. 

On signing the agreement, President Wilson thanked President Ouaouicha for the opportunity to visit Al Akhawayn and see where Illinois Wesleyan students, faculty, and staff had been in previous years, and will continue to come in the future. “I am absolutely delighted, and it was so important to come to Morocco and visit this unique university first-hand,” President Wilson said. 

During a two-day stay on campus, President and Mrs. Wilson toured the University and the Ifrane region, attended campus events, and led a workshop with University executives about accreditation in higher education. 

“This partnership has been building for several years, and today’s agreement heralds the inauguration of a very rich collaboration indeed,” President Wilson said at the signing ceremony. 

“I couldn’t imagine this unfolding in a better way – we took our time to ensure that this relationship will embrace the entire university, on both sides. I know that our students, our faculty, and our staff will be absolutely delighted to come to Ifrane and to welcome our Al Akhawayn partners to Bloomington.” 

Illinois Wesleyan is located in the central Illinois twin cities of Bloomington-Normal, a community of 110,000 located about two hours south of Chicago and north of St. Louis. Illinois Wesleyan was founded in 1850 and has grown to become one of the leading liberal arts institutions in the United States, enrolling just over 2,000 undergraduates from across the U.S. and around the world. Its distinctive liberal arts curriculum is at the core of its 50 majors and programs, including the traditional liberal arts and programs in business, the fine arts, nursing, and eight pre-professional programs. More information can be found at www.iwu.edu. 

Al Akhawayn President Ouaouicha also praised the agreement. “Today marks a further deepening and broadening of the University’s connections with one of the best American liberal arts institutions. We have created a wide avenue for many possibilities to enrich our programs and people, to share experiences and learn together, and to build more bridges between Al Akhawayn and Illinois Wesleyan in the future,” Ouaouicha said. 


Sedgwick Visits Al Akhawayn for Roundtable Discussion 

Ifrane, December 14, 2010 – Conducting a spirited debate about “Religion and Modernity, Secularism and Fundamentalism,” Professor Mark Sedgwick of the University of Aarhus, Denmark, enriched the end of the semester at Al Akhawayn University for a group of about 30 students and faculty today. His visit to Ifrane was sponsored by the British Council, whose Morocco Country Director Martin Rose accompanied Sedgwick on the visit to Al Akhawayn. 

“I have heard so many great things about this University over the years, and it is truly a privilege to see it for myself and experience the vibrant intellectual life that exists in Ifrane,” Sedgwick remarked. 

The roundtable discussion was moderated by Dr. Abdelhamid Lotfi, Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs and Director of the Mohammed VI Library at Al Akhawayn. Also participating were faculty and students from all three schools, President Driss Ouaouicha, and distinguished visitor President Richard Wilson of Illinois Wesleyan University in the United States. 

Mark Sedgwick is an innovative researcher, thinker, and speaker on junctions for the transfer of religions and traditions in the late pre-modern and modern periods, focusing mostly modern Islamic and Western religious history as well as on terrorism and Arab political history. He has been associate professor of Arab history, culture and society in the Faculty of Theology at the University of Aarhus, Denmark, since 2007, and from 1999-2000 he was on the faculty of the American University in Cairo. 

Sedgwick earned his BA and MA degrees from Oxford University, and his PhD from the University of Bergen in 1999, where he wrote his thesis on “The Heirs of Ahmad Ibn Idris: The Spread and Normalization of a Sufi Order, 1799-1996.”


Accreditation Advances with NEASC Announcement of Al Akhawayn’s Eligibility 

Ifrane, December 10, 2010 – In an important step forward in its quest for international accreditation, Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane has been found eligible to apply for candidacy for accreditation by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). The announcement was made in Ifrane on December 9, 2010, by Dr. Barbara E. Brittingham, Director of NEASC’s Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (CIHE), during a meeting with University administrators, academic coordinators, and student representatives. 

The eligibility finding follows the recent October visit to Al Akhawayn by a NEASC assessment team, which evaluated the University’s eligibility report and recommended to NEASC that the University be approved as meeting the 24 requirements for eligibility. 

Having now been found eligible to apply for candidacy for accreditation, the University will move forward in planning and conducting an extensive self-study. This phase of the accreditation process may take as long as 18 months, and will involve considerable evaluation and assessment of University programs, processes, policies, and procedures. 

The self-study, which focuses on 11 major criteria and numerous sub-criteria, will then be evaluated by additional visiting teams of U.S. higher education leaders to determine if the University can then be considered a candidate for accreditation and enter the final stages of the process. 

Dr. Brittingham’s announcement and visit to the University coincided with the one-year anniversary of the accreditation of the University’s Language Center by the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation (CEA), which on December 9, 2009, marked another milestone in the University’s steady advance toward international standards of quality. 

Following the NEASC announcement, President Driss Ouaouicha said, “We are delighted with the news that NEASC finds Al Akhawayn eligible to apply for candidacy, and also with the knowledge that this important association has agreed to work with us and accompany us through the accreditation process.” 

“I join the rest of the University administration in thanking all students, faculty, and staff for their continuing engagement with this process, and look forward to everyone’s collaboration going forward,” he added. 

“We have crossed the starting line today, and have much work to do in the months and years ahead. While it will not be easy, or quick, I know that our unique spirit of collaboration and commitment to excellence will make the accreditation process a constructive one, and will result in a better Al Akhawayn University working more fully with international standards, for the benefit of future generations of students.” 

For more information about NEASC, about accreditation, eligibility, candidacy, and the self-study process, please visit www.cihe.neasc.org. 


Advancing, Innovating, and Educating for the Future 

Al Akhawayn Announces New Master’s Degrees in Key Economic Development Fields 

Ifrane, December 6, 2010 – Three new graduate degrees being launched by Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane are further strengthening its position as an educational innovator, as the University grows and develops in line with its 2010-2014 Strategic Plan. The new master’s programs in sustainable energy management, logistics and supply chain management, and information systems security also address some of Morocco’s most pressing economic development challenges. 

“We are delighted to announce three exciting new master’s programs in fields that are central to national and global development,” said President Driss Ouaouicha in a statement. 

“With top-rate faculty and facilities, combined with Al Akhawayn’s unique and dynamic curricula, we are confident that many students and professionals will see the opportunity our graduate degrees offer for professional development,” Ouaouicha added. 

Scholarships and financial aid are available for qualified candidates, and applications are now being accepted for Spring and Fall 2011 admissions. 

The three new programs have been under development for some time, and have been launched in coordination with the recent release of the University’s 2010-2014 Strategic Plan. By focusing on fields at the forefront of Moroccan and global development challenges, the new degrees respond to growing demand for high-level professionals to steer and manage many large, national development initiatives, such as the massive solar energy project, Maroc Numerique 2013, Maroc Vert, Tanger-Med, Tangier-Casablanca High-Speed Rail, the National Initiative for Human Development, and others. 

The Master of Science in Sustainable Energy Management program focuses on renewable energies production, transformation, distribution, and management and provides students with a well-balanced education in renewable energies science, engineering, and management.   The core courses of this program aim at offering the skills and expertise required for a comprehensive understanding of most recent technological, institutional, and economic issues related to renewable energy planning and development. This professional master’s program addresses the leadership gap problem in renewable energy-related companies by providing students with managerial skills that will allow them to monitor complex social-technical systems related to energy and environment. This 27-SCH (semester credit hour) program is designed to be completed in one and a half calendar years. This degree is offered through the Al Akhawayn University School of Science and Engineering, and applications are being accepted for Spring 2011. 

The Master of Science in Logistics and Supply Chain Management is designed to provide students with the knowledge and expertise in logistics, operations, and supply chain management needed for careers in manufacturing, transport, service, and retail industries. This program examines the chain of enterprises engaged in moving products, services, or information from initial suppliers, through various stages of transformation, to the ultimate client or customer. Upon completion of the program, graduates will be able to analyze supply chain organization, implement operations management systems, and put into practice Supply Chain Management and Logistics, including Strategic Supply Chain Management, Logistics Design and Planning, and Supply Chain Technology as well as Project Management. This degree is offered through the Al Akhawayn University School of Business Administration, and applications are being accepted for Fall 2011. 

The Master of Science in Information Systems Security is designed to provide students with expertise in the management of information systems security for the real world. They will be ready to apply best practices for implementing new technologies, dealing with current and evolving threats, incorporating new security tools and strategies, and managing all security aspects that will serve them well into their careers. Graduates will also be well prepared for the CISSP certification, the first information security credential accredited by ANSI ISO/IEC Standard 17024:2003. This 27-SCH (semester credit hour) program is designed to be completed in one and a half calendar years. This degree is offered through the Al Akhawayn University School of Science and Engineering, and applications are being accepted for Spring 2011. 

For more information about the new degrees and other graduate programs at Al Akhawayn University, or to apply, please visit www.aui.ma/admissions.

As winter weather sets in and the end of the semester approaches, Al Akhawayn students keep busy playing indoor sports, attending classes, studying in the warmth of the Mohammed VI Library, and preparing for final papers and exams in the comfort of University dormitories. 


Al Akhawayn Workshop Focuses on Innovative Project to Enhance Local Government with Wireless Networks

Ifrane, November 24, 2010 – As part of its ongoing commitment to advancing Morocco’s development, Al Akhawayn University hosted today the closing workshop of the Wireless Metropolitan Area Network @ Fez (Wman@Fez) project, an extension of the e-Fes (Electronic Fundamental Etat Civil System) initiative, launched in 2006 by Al Akhawayn’s ICT4D Laboratory to develop free, user-friendly online services to improve administrative relations between city councils and citizens. 

The Wman@Fez project’s success at building the first WiMax wireless community network in Morocco marks a major milestone in the digitization of local government services. WiMax is a broadband wireless transmission standard that can cover an area up to 50 km in diameter, and the Fez project allows all public institutions in the city to connect to each other through one Internet connection. Wman@Fez has so far benefited the cities of Fez and Larache, plus some cities in the Middle Atlas, including Ifrane, Boumalne-Dadès, among others. 

A local initiative with international dimensions and support, the e-Fes project has been acclaimed nationally and internationally as one of the best e-Gov projects in Morocco, Africa, and the Arab world. It has been implemented collaboratively by Al Akhawayn University, the Canadian International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the Wilaya of Fez, and the Agence Nationale de Réglementation des Télécommunications (ANRT) of Morocco.

E-Fes develops and implements technological platforms to provide government forms and documents (birth certificates, marriage contracts, etc.) online and free of charge to all members of a community, regardless of their social or linguistic background. The project, which will cover more cities in the future, has digitized several daily operations conducted in Fez city council offices, offering accessible and user-friendly services to citizens, and creating GIS maps of the experimental areas for common use. More than 600,000 documents have been retrieved so far through the system in Fez, and cooperation is ongoing with the Fez Court of Appeals to enable electronic signatures on official documents, shorten service-delivery time, increase and improve government-to-government communication, and stimulate demand by the local population. 

In remarks to the workshop, Adel El Zaïm, IDRC Senior Program Specialist for ICT4D programs in the Middle East and North Africa, praised the fast pace at which the project has evolved and declared that the objective of the IDRC is to develop competences and help youth be part of the development of their countries through the use of such technologies. “We will include all these initiatives and processes in a book that we will share with political and economic decision-makers, as well as the science community in Morocco,” he added. 

“Today, Morocco is the first North African country to have a high concentration of Internet users. Both the country and its citizens are advanced and open to adopting new technologies in their lives. Services like e-Fes and WiMax have been developed for local governments to be abreast of the fast pace at which Morocco is advancing, and to help it move forward,” said El Zaïm. 

Dozens of local and national government officials, development professionals, and international representatives attended the workshop. Among them were His Excellency Christopher Wilkie, Ambassador of Canada to Morocco; Mohammed El Moudden, Official Representative of the Prime Minister; Mohamed Berrada Ghziouel, First President of the Fez Court of Appeals; and Mohammed El Alaoui El Idrissi Titna, President of the Fez/Agdal district. Al Akhawayn University President Driss Ouaouicha welcomed the participants on the behalf of the University, and Al Akhawayn Associate Professor of Computer Science Driss Kettani, who heads the ICT4D laboratory, made a presentation about the project.


EU Ambassador Landaburu Praises Europe-Morocco Ties in Al Akhawayn Speech

Ifrane, November 12, 2010 – In his first visit to Al Akhawayn University on November 10, the Ambassador of the European Union to Morocco, His Excellency Eneko Landaburu, addressed an overflow audience of students and faculty, saying that among South Mediterranean countries “Morocco is probably the most important to the European Union.”

Ambassador Landaburu’s speech on “Morocco’s Advanced Status: Trade, Economic, and Political Implications,” touched on a variety of issues at the forefront of Morocco’s relations with Europe. He praised “the amazing confluence of approaches between Morocco and Europe in advancing development and democracy,” and hailed the “solidarity of purpose that binds us and that is rooted in our shared histories and deep traditions.”

The ambassador applauded Al Akhawayn University for its role in fostering international understanding and debate. In opening his address, Landaburu said that “as a Spaniard, as a Basque, and as a European, I am truly delighted to be here among other citizens of the world as this famous university.”

“While this is my first visit to Al Akhawayn University, I am sure it will not be my last – I am eager to return and to explore more ways in which we can collaborate,” he said.

In his remarks, Ambassador Landaburu lauded “the incredible richness of Moroccan culture,” and detailed the EU’s continuing support for investment and development in the country. In particular, Landaburu noted recent progress made on trade liberalization with respect to agriculture, while acknowledging continuing challenges in the area of trade in services.

In his welcome, School of Business Administration Assistant Professor of Marketing and Management Nicolas Hamelin noted the significance of the ambassador’s appearance as the “representative of the European Union, which is by far the largest foreign investor in Morocco and with enormous historical, political, and economic influences on the future of Morocco and its role in the world.”  Hamelin is advisor to the student Marketing Club, which invited Ambassador Landaburu to the University and co-organized the event.

During a spirited question-and-answer session with students following his speech, Ambassador Landaburu fielded questions about EU policies on visas, investment, the Moroccan Sahara, Ceuta and Melilla, and much more. Among his responses, Ambassador Landaburu noted that “while our ties are strong and we are committed partners in many important ways, the battle is not yet won; yet we are committed in our common quest for stability, security, and democracy.”

Ambassador Eneko Landaburu has been head of the EU delegation to Morocco since 2009 and has enjoyed a long and distinguished career at the highest levels of European diplomacy.

Since 1986, he has been Director General for Regional Policy and Cohesion, Director General for Enlargement, and since 2003 Director General for External Relations. He has also been a member of the Administrative Board of “Notre Europe,” chaired by Jacques Delors, an alternate member of the Board of Directors of the European Investment Bank, Director of the Institute for Research on Multinationals in Geneva, and a member of the Basque Parliament.

His appearance at Al Akhawayn University was sponsored by the Al Akhawayn University School of Business Administration, the Marketing Club, the Diplomacy Club, the Office of Student Activities, and the Department of Development and Communication (University Events).


Eugene Rogan, Edmund Burke Explore Global and Regional Topics in Fall Lectures

Ifrane, November 5, 2010 – Two leading international scholars of the Middle East and Morocco addressed the Al Akhawayn University community this October, as Eugene Rogan of Oxford University and Edmund Burke III of the University of California, Santa Cruz, delivered lectures and stimulated debate on a range of pressing global and regional issues.

In the second installment of the Al Akhawayn University Presidential Lectures on Globalization, Eugene Rogan of Oxford University discussed “The Palestinian-Israeli Peace Process and its Global Impact” with over 120 University students, faculty, and staff on Tuesday, October 26.

Rogan explored the history of the Palestinian-Israeli peace process, focusing on its global dimensions and impact. He analyzed the Obama administration’s current diplomatic efforts, the challenges emerging in the current negotiations, and how Palestinian-Israeli issues affect global affairs. In particular, Rogan offered a detailed account of the roots and context of international efforts to seek a “two-state solution,” observing that “the conflict in the Middle East has long had global dimensions, and a lasting and just solution to the problem is surely in the world’s interest.”

Rogan applauded Al Akhawayn University for providing a high-level platform for debate and discussion on such key international topics, and thanked University President Driss Ouaouicha for inviting him to Al Akhawayn.

“Al Akhawayn University is a prime example of how global engagement and a deep appreciation of historical contexts can come together to help forge a new generation of leaders for Morocco, the region, and the world,” said Rogan in his introductory remarks.

“We are indeed honored to have Professor Rogan here with us,” said President Driss Ouaouicha in introducing Rogan as part of the Presidential Lectures on Globalization series.

“Connecting the world to Ifrane, and Ifrane to the world, is a key University priority. Bringing such distinguished international speakers to campus through this series on globalization is a reflection of our commitment to excellence in learning, scholarship, debate, and analysis of key international issues,” President Ouaouicha said.

Exploring globalization’s impact in Morocco and around the world, Al Akhawayn University Presidential Lecturers address global issues from various perspectives. In particular, they discuss the ways in which changing cultural identities and economic development, especially as a result of new technology, are together defining a new “global culture” while challenging the notion of what “national” and “cultural” identity mean in the newly global age. Eugene Rogan was the second speaker in the series, following Tim Sparapani, Director of Public Policy at Facebook.

Eugene Rogan is a Faculty Fellow and University Lecturer in the Modern History of the Middle East at St. Antony’s College, Oxford, where he also serves as Director of the Middle East Centre. His most recent book, The Arabs: A History, has been acclaimed as “a masterful, thorough, and well-written survey of the entire sweep of modern Arab history,” and his previous book, Frontiers of the State in the Late Ottoman Empire, was awarded the Albert Hourani Prize by the Middle East Studies Association of North America.

Framing and providing wider context to Rogan’s presidential lecture, from October 12-14 Professor Emeritus Edmund Burke III of the University of California, Santa Cruz, delivered a series of three lectures on broader themes of  “Islam in World History,” “Environmental History of the Middle East and Water Management Systems,” and “The Mediterranean in the Cold War.”

Over the course of his three-day stay on campus, Burke discussed issue of development, politics, and identity with hundreds of University students and faculty. In all three lectures, he focused on Morocco’s key strategic role on the world stage throughout modern history, and on its rapid development in recent years.

No stranger to Morocco, Burke also commented on his return to Ifrane.  “I have been coming to Morocco for decades,” said Burke in an interview with Al Akhawayn News. “Al Akhawayn University is truly incredible and it is a privilege to be back and see how much it has advanced.”

“This campus and these students are a delight; Al Akhawayn is a very important laboratory and catalyst for the ‘new Morocco’, clearly a space where experimentation and the free exchange of ideas are having a major, positive impact on the country,” he noted.

Edmund Burke III is one of the leading scholars of Middle Eastern, Moroccan, and world history in the United States, and is a professor of history and the director of the Center for World History at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Among his many publications are Genealogies of Orientalism: History, Theory, Politics, Theorizing the Histories of Colonialism and Nationalism in North Africa: Beyond Colonialism and Nationalism in North Africa, and The Environment and World History, and Struggle and Survival in the Modern Middle East.

Burke earned his PhD from Princeton University, and was at Al Akhawayn University as part of a tour of Morocco organized by the Al Akhawayn University School of Humanities and Social Sciences, the Faculté des Lettres et Sciences Humaines, Université Mohamed V, Agdal, the Moroccan American Commission for Educational and Cultural Exchange (Fulbright-MACECE), and the Center for Cross Cultural Learning (CCCL), with support from the Cultural Office of the U.S. Embassy, Rabat.


Al Akhawayn Names Wafa El Garah New Dean of Business Administration

Ifrane, October 18, 2010 – Al Akhawayn University announced today the appointment of Dr. Wafa El Garah as its new Dean of the School of Business and Administration (SBA). A specialist in management information systems, marketing, and social networking, El Garah earned her PhD from the University of Central Florida, two MBAs from the University of North Texas, and has been a member of the Al Akhawayn faculty since 2004. 

In announcing the appointment, Dr. Abdelhamid Lotfi, Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs, said that “Dr. El Garah brings to this key position the trust of her colleagues, the respect of her professional peers, first-hand experience with the American educational system, knowledge of business and industry, and a strong vision for achieving the strategic goals of the school and the University.” 

“Al Akhawayn is indeed fortunate to have found within its own ranks such a leader to head the School of Business Administration at this important time,” Lotfi noted. 

Prior to her appointment as dean, El Garah had served as associate professor and as academic coordinator for post-experience masters programs in the School of Business Administration. She first  joined Al Akhawayn University in 2004 as an assistant professor, following three years as a teaching and research assistant at the University of Central Florida. 

Wafa El Garah earned her BBA degree at the International Institute for Higher Education, focusing on management science and computer information systems. She then went on to the University of North Texas, where she earned two MBA degrees, one in marketing and one in administrative management. She did her doctoral work and earned her PhD (2005) at the University of Central Florida, focusing on management information systems.

During her years at Al Akhawayn University, Dr. El Garah has published papers in top-tier peer-reviewed journals, has served as an advisor to student organizations, and has been actively involved in many University committees. She also developed and managed the “Business in the Arab World” seminar for the Euromed Global MBA program, and initiated an institutional partnership with Google that led to the Google Excellence Award at Al Akhawayn. 

El Garah’s recent scholarly activities include case studies involving the United Nations Development Program, and research on social networking and cloud computing. Over the years, she has worked with several companies on IT-based projects, new products, and marketing initiatives. 

On being named dean, El Garah said, “I am delighted and honored by this appointment. The Al Akhawayn University School of Business Administration has the potential to become the top business school in Morocco and the region, and I look forward to working with our faculty, staff, and students to take the SBA to the next level.” 

“We have a great group of faculty, and terrific students with the potential to be effective professionals in today’s tough business environment. We have a strong reputation that depends on our students, our alumni, and of course our faculty – we are in a strong position and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to take on this exciting challenge,” El Garah added. 

Dr. El Garah’s appointment is effective immediately. For more information about the Al Akhawayn University School of Business Administration, please visit www.aui.ma/en/sba 


American Expert Bruce Walker Tackles Admissions at Al Akhawayn

Ifrane, October 11, 2010 - Al Akhawayn's new strategic plan calls for the University to reach approximately 2,000 fulltime students by 2015. How to get there through enhanced admissions and outreach is the subject of the visit to Ifrane by University of Texas admissions expert Dr. Bruce Walker, now in the final week of a 21-day training and planning mission with the Al Akhawayn University Office of Enrollment Services. 

Bruce Walker is widely recognized as one of the leading experts on admissions in higher education in the United States. Since 1996, he has served as Vice Provost and Director of Admissions at the University of Texas, Austin, and currently serves as Vice Provost for Special Projects there.  Previously, he served for 11 years as Associate Provost for Admissions and Financial Aid at the University of Delaware, and from 1977 to 1985 he was Director for Admissions and Guidance Services in the Southwest Regional Office of the College Board, following four years as Associate Director of Admissions at the University of North Texas.   

Walker has held several national positions in his profession, including The College Board, where he currently serves as a member of both the Task Force on Admissions in the 21st Century and the Commission on Access, Admission, and Success in Higher Education. 

His principal goal at Al Akhawayn University is to help professionalize the university’s admissions and outreach activities, and develop a roadmap for action that will allow the University to reach its strategic goals, especially regarding international student recruitment. 

To that end, Walker has conducted an intensive series of seminars and workshops with the admissions and outreach staff, on topics ranging from “Marketing and the Development of a Recruitment Plan,” “Principles of Marketing for Higher Education,” to “What Do Parents and Students Expect?” and “What Does a U.S. Office of Admissions Look Like?” 

Throughout the sessions, Walker and the staff have addressed in particular the challenge and opportunity of international admissions; Al Akhawayn hopes to double its international student population by 2015. 

“Everything you want to achieve is possible,” said Walker in an interview. “This is a highly qualified, very willing, and enthusiastic team.” 

“Because of Al Akhawayn University’s unique mission and role in Morocco, especially in its English-language and international orientation,” he added, “there is no other admissions office in Morocco trying to do what this office is doing. I am here to help bridge the gap between what they say they want to be by 2015 and what they are today.” 

Walker concedes that there is much work to be done, but voiced confidence that focusing on admissions will show results over time. 

“It's going to take a bold commitment and several years before the University sees the payoff from this effort. You need resources and training, and the University has to invest in admissions as a key strategic element in providing the students – and therefore the revenue and the alumni and the long-term identity that the University is building.” 

Asked why admissions is so important, Walker emphasizes that “admissions is the critical component for any university.” 

“Whom you admit, and how, shapes your future alumni – your future donor base – for generations to come. These are the people who hold your degrees, who talk about their experience, and who represent the university in the world. An Al Akhawayn degree is only as valuable as the person who holds it – the piece of paper itself is meaningless. That is vital to understand.” 

“So, to quote one major American university president when he was asked, ‘Why am I interested in admissions? I am interested in admissions because I am interested in ensuring and protecting the reputation of the university, our cash flow and business model, and our ongoing viability. Admissions is fundamental.’” 

In reflecting on his time at Al Akhawayn and in Morocco, and as he prepares his final proposals, Walker talks energetically about Al Akhawayn’s potential. 

“You have so much to sell, so much to offer the youth of today and the leaders of tomorrow,” he says. 

“One key message for international students has to be: You must do the amazing summer Arabic and North African Studies program at Al Akhawayn! And the University has to promote the facilities and comfort of this beautiful U.S.-style campus.” 

Messaging and marketing, the visitor experience, and word-of-mouth, in particular, are key, according to Walker. “You want international students who have been here to tell their friends at home about you, and about an incredible experience they had in Morocco that nobody else has had – this makes them stand a little taller among their peers.” 

While Walker works to finalize his recommendations, some new approaches are already being floated and discussed enthusiastically by the Al Akhawayn team. 

Latifa Ouanaim, Registrar and Director of Enrollment Services, said, “This is just what we needed, someone to show us how a U.S.-style admissions office in an American university really works – and what we can be doing differently to reach prospective students more effectively.” 

“What’s great about this time with Dr. Walker is that he’s not telling us what to do, but rather giving us well-oriented training that is specific to our needs. He has been showing us examples, exposing us to best practices and the definitions of key admissions concepts, making recommendations, and helping us think through our approach for the future.” Ouanaim added. 

Walker agrees about the goals of his efforts, and is relishing the opportunity to help. “Nobody is asking anybody to do what they did last year, but rather suggesting what needs to be done to get to where this university wants to be by 2015. I am here to help you make the Al Akhawayn process better, to protect the excellence you already have, and think through ways to enhance your model within your unique Moroccan context.” 

“This is a young university,” Walker acknowledges. “What you see today is not what it's going to become. It will look the same and feel the same, but there will be more students, more diversity, more excitement, and more choices and richness for everyone.” 

Bruce Walker’s visit will conclude with a presentation of a complete roadmap, with objectives and strategies for reaching the proposed goals. 


Al Akhawayn University Approved for College Board Membership

Ifrane, October 11, 2010 - Marking a milestone in Al Akhawayn University's commitment to advance its international standing, the university has been approved for membership in the College Board, the world’s leading professional organization for colleges and universities. 

The approval for membership, made by the College Board’s Board of Trustees, is expected to be ratified by a vote of the membership in late October, 2010. At that time a full profile of Al Akhawayn University will be available to the millions of students who consult the College Board’s website for admissions guidance and other resources about international higher education, testing, and recruitment. 

“I am proud of this important step in the University’s path toward international recognition and accreditation,” said President Driss Ouaouicha. “Becoming more and more connected with the U.S. and the global world of college and university advancement, admissions, and standards will help us achieve the goals of our strategic plan.” 

“Becoming a member of the College Board is a major step for Al Akhawayn,” said University of Texas, Austin, Vice Provost for Special Projects Dr. Bruce Walker, currently visiting Ifrane to work with the admissions office at the University. “In the area of admissions especially, the College Board gives you access to incredible student recruitment resources, and links Al Akhawayn to the world of higher education in critical ways.” 

The College Board is a not-for-profit membership association whose mission is to connect students to college success and opportunity. Founded in 1900, it is composed of more than 5,700 schools, colleges, universities and other educational organizations. 

Each year, the College Board serves seven million students and their parents, 23,000 high schools, and 3,800 colleges through programs and services in college readiness, college admission, guidance, assessment, financial aid, enrollment, and teaching and learning. Among its best-known programs are the SAT®, the PSAT/NMSQT® and the Advanced Placement Program® (AP®). 

For more information about the College Board, and to access information about its member colleges and universities plus admissions and other higher education resources, please visit www.collegeboard.com. 


Al Akhawayn University Announces 2010-2014 Strategic Plan

Ifrane, October 1, 2010 - Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane today released its strategic plan for 2010-2014. Entitled A Commitment to Excellence, the plan surveys the University's current position, evaluates its key challenges, opportunities, and strengths, and presents its strategic priorities for the future.  


Reunion, Rhythm, and Reinvention Mark Alumna’s Musical Return to Ifrane

Ifrane, September 24, 2010 – It’s not every day that Al Akhawayn students get to play live in concert with an international music star. But that’s what happened in Ifrane on September 23 as U.S-based performer Houda El Idrissi, Class of 1999, played live with students following a 2-week campus residency that energized young Al Akhawayn musicians with world-class performance styles and techniques. 

“I am totally amazed at the skill and energy of these students, and thrilled to be here and play a part in encouraging art at Al Akhawayn,” said El Idrissi (whose stage name is “Drissy”) in a pre-concert interview. 

“I am also proud to be an alumna of this incredible place – students from all over Morocco and around the world playing guitar, keyboards, bass, bongos, singing back-up vocals, and more, all together; our drummer is even an American exchange student!” 

Since early September, nearly a dozen Al Akhawayn students have rehearsed intensively, learning 20 new songs and getting a unique chance to express themselves creatively. “Some of them learned how to read sheet music for the first time, saw how songs are structured, and practiced creating a solid group dynamic,” said El Idrissi, whose band is called Negative I. 

All this creative energy built toward the September 23 concert, which attracted hundreds of students, faculty, and staff and helped launch Negative I’s new album in advance of a Moroccan and multi-nation tour. Based in Durham, North Carolina (U.S.), Negative I consists of El Idrissi and guitarist Christopher Blakely, plus numerous others who join as needed. The latest album, Reinvention, was released on June 17, 2010, and sold briskly at Al Akhawayn after the concert. 

Tangier-born El Idrissi is a member of Al Akhawayn’s first graduating class, having earned her B.A. in social sciences in 1998. Following a successful career in biotechnology in the United States, in 2007 she decided to focus on her long-standing passion – music – and “reinvent” herself. Since then she has performed in the United States and Europe, collaborating with noted musician Nikk Fury and many others along the way. 

El Idrissi’s return to Ifrane to work with students and perform has helped energize the campus music scene. “There are hundreds of talented student musicians at Al Akhawayn, and it’s great to have an internationally recognized alumna come to campus all the way from America, inspire us to form bands, play live, try new things, and really rock the house on a Thursday night,” said Amal, an undergraduate studying business administration. 

Students were not the only concert-goers inspired by the event. El Idrissi’s experiences and career also demonstrate the unique value of Al Akhawayn’s approach to education, modeled on the American concept of the liberal arts, said Dr. Abdelhamid Lotfi, Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs and Director of the Mohammed VI Library. 

“Houda El Idrissi is a great example. It just goes to show that your career doesn’t have to have anything to do with your concentration or your studies, and that whatever your job is you have the ability and freedom to change direction, try new things, and experiment. Who knows? Study finance and become a rock star – that’s terrific,” said Lotfi after the concert. “That’s the essence of the liberal arts.”

The moon glowed over a cool autumn night in Ifrane, lending special energy to the dynamic September 23 concert by Al Akhawayn alumna Houda El Idrissi’s ('99) band Negative I. During her 2-week campus residency, North Carolina (U.S.)-based El Idrissi gave students a strong dose of international music and performance experience. Al Akhawayn students formed most of the band, which played her unique blend of alternative, rock, world, hip-hop, Latino, soul, and lounge to an adoring crowd.

The event also served as a kind of international alumni reunion, as Al Akhawayn alum Ali Boukili (Business Administration, Class of 1999) joined El Idrissi on stage to provide vocals for several tracks. He recently returned to Morocco after graduate school at the London School of Economics and a finance career in London, and now runs a Casablanca-based IT consulting firm. 

“Houda and I were friends here together as two of Al Akhawayn University’s first students,” recalled Boukili. “Recently we reconnected on Facebook, and the rest is history. It’s so much fun to be back, to see how the university has developed and grown, and reconnect with old friends.” 

“And, of course, to rap in Building 17 again,” he smiled. 

For more information about Drissy and Negative I, please visit http://www.myspace.com/420469431/music/albums/16216120

 Echoes still reverberate from the sound of the Al Akhawayn University choir, Voices United, singing at this summer's 20th annual Choralies à Vaison la Romaine, one of the biggest choir festivals in Europe. The 17-member Ifrane group of university students and staff was one of only two Arab and African choirs represented, joining choirs from Europe, Latin America, and beyond. Service work and workshops with well-known conductor Robert Ray culminated in a final live and TV concert with over 300 singers and an audience in the thousands.


Tourism Workshop in Casablanca Focuses on New Technologies

Casablanca and Ifrane, September 17, 2010 - Nearly 30 tourism professionals gathered today in Casablanca for the launch of a workshop on "virtual marketing and online advertising" in tourism. Organized by Al Akhawayn University, the Moroccan Ministry of Tourism, and the Euro-Mediterranean Incubator at Italy's University of Salento, the workshop is part of a collaborative project to improve the competitiveness of Moroccan tourism through innovative management and the use of information and communications technology (ICT). 

The series will continue throughout the Fall of 2010. Dr. Jean-Claude Morand, Professor and e-Tourism Consultant at a number of prominent Swiss tourism institutions, is leading this first workshop. Other meetings will focus on public relations and online marketing via social networks such as Facebook, yield management, and the technologies and constraints of tourism websites and travel agencies. 

The three institutional partners in the project have developed a unique center of expertise based in Casablanca, called the "Competence Center of the Mediterranean School in e-Business Management." It will focus on the dissemination and use of ICTs and the internet among Morocco's tourism businesses and government agencies to stimulate the competitiveness and growth of tourism in Morocco.

The project is a result of the partnership agreement signed on May 21 between Al Akhawayn University, the Euro-Mediterranean Incubator of the University of Salento, and the International Chamber of Commerce in Morocco. The agreement, and the actions stemming from it, signals the university's continuing commitment to advancing the goals of the Maroc Numeric 2013 initiative. 


Facebook Director Visits Al Akhawayn, Discusses Social Media and Internet Privacy with Students

Ifrane, September 13, 2010 – The Director of Public Policy for Facebook, Tim Sparapani, arrived at Al Akhawayn University today for a 4-day visit as the Presidential Visiting Fellow on Globalization. During his visit he will meet with students, faculty, and staff to discuss Facebook’s global role, developments in social networking, the role of governments, privacy, security, and the changing boundaries between individual, national, and cultural identities. 

With over 500 million registered users and more than 300 million people visiting its site every day, Facebook is the world’s largest social networking site. 

While on campus, Sparapani will participate in workshops and discussions on managing Facebook privacy, the role of online communities on campus and in global society, and the impact of the Internet on communication and development. He will also deliver the Presidential Lecture on "The Future of Facebook: Social Media, Government, and Democracy in the Global Age," and speak with the University's President's List students at a special dinner. 

"It is wonderful to be in Morocco and to have a chance to engage with this dynamic and distinguished university on these key issues," said Sparapani. "I look forward to learning from Morocco's youth about their views of social media in the world today, and to sharing Facebook's global perspective with them."

Facebook's Director of Public Policy Tim Sparapani spoke on "The Future of Facebook: Social Media, Government, and Democracy in the Global Age," at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane on September 15. "This is a moment of extraordinary global mobility, and social networks can keep us connected," he told a live and online audience of over 500. Concluding his 4-day fellowship on campus, he reminded students that "You all have a special opportunity to control what you share, with whom, and how -- an opportunity and a unique responsibility."

Focusing on the impact of globalization in Morocco and around the world, Sparapani and other speakers in the series will explore the ways in which changing cultural identities and economic development, especially as a result of new technology, are helping define a new “global culture” while challenging the notion of what “national” and “cultural” identity mean in the newly global age. 

As Facebook's Director of Public Policy, Tim Sparapani is responsible for developing and implementing Facebook’s interaction with federal, state, and local governments and with opinion and policy makers. His specialty is privacy and constitutional law. Prior to joining Facebook, he was senior legislative counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union, where he helped advance the constitutional principle of the right to privacy, representing the ACLU before the U.S. Congress, the Executive Branch, and the media. Tim Sparapani holds a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University and a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School. 


Mohammed VI Library Gets Makeover, Strengthens Holdings

Ifrane, September 6, 2010 – It is refreshed and revitalized, with new study spaces, decoration, carpeting, and reorganized service desks – together with constantly growing book and electronic resources holdings. The Mohammed VI Library opens the 2010-2011 academic year looking better than ever, welcoming hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, and always at the heart of the university’s educational mission, research activities, and student life. 

The recent revamp was timed to welcome the largest entering class in university history this fall, and library staff worked long and hard over the summer to ensure a smooth opening of the semester. The library now features additional study rooms, the former periodicals space is now a designated “quiet” study zone, and the first-floor mezzanine area is a relaxing place to browse the most recent newspapers and magazines. 

Five spacious rooms are available for use as study spaces after class hours, as a result of the Executive Education Center’s move to the university’s downtown Ifrane facility. The ground floor reading room has new carpeting, and the circulation and reserve desks were combined to make it easier for users to access materials.   

In another major recent library development, over 300 master’s theses by Al Akhawayn students are were made available in the spring in full-text PDF format online for on-campus users via Mohammed VI Library’s catalog at the library’s Online Public Access Catalog at http://libserv.aui.ma/.  Also available to the university community is access to the library’s growing collection of over 82,000 volumes, 40,000 electronic journals, 355 print journals, 1,850 audiovisual items, and 26 databases.

Al Akhawayn University's Mohammed VI Library houses over 82,000 books and offers access to 40,000 electronic journals plus thousands of other resources. With new interior design and decoration, the library re-opened its doors at the start of this semester to welcome the university's Class of 2014.

The Mohammed VI Library was the first open stack library in Morocco when it opened in 1995, and the first to use the U.S. Library of Congress Classification System. “Open stack” means that students, faculty, and staff have direct and full access to all library resources, without having to go through a librarian to retrieve a book from the shelves. 

Today the Mohammed VI Library is one of only four open stack libraries in the country, and it attracted a record number of 279,385 visitors during the 2009-2010 academic year. For more information and to access the library online, please visit http://www.aui.ma/en/mohammed-vi-library.html.


Class of 2014, Largest Ever, Arrives on August 26 for Orientation and Start of Classes

Ifrane, September 1, 2010 – The 271 members of the Class of 2014 arrived in Ifrane on campus for orientation before the start of classes this week, together with nearly 100 new graduate, study abroad, exchange students plus scores of new faculty – all hailing from over a dozen foreign countries plus Morocco. The incoming class is the largest in the university’s 15-year history, swelling the campus’ student population to near capacity and marking the continued internationalization of the university.

With just over 1,600 registered degree-seeking students at the start of the 2010-2011 academic year, the university is on track to meet its goal of enrolling 2,000 annually students by 2015. “The university is in a very good position and we are right where we want to be. The surge in registrations this year is proof positive of the increasing value of an Al Akhawayn degree in today’s competitive job market,” observed President Driss Ouaouicha.

The university now has 1,614 registered degree-seeking students, including the 271 new undergraduates expected to graduate in 2014, 72 international, exchange, study-abroad, and other degree-seekers in the Fall of 2010, and 131 graduate students. In comparison, there were 1,509 registered degree-seeking students in the Fall of 2009; the total number today represents a 94 percent increase the university’s first year in 1995.

To accommodate this growth, the university administration, faculty, and staff have been working hard over the summer to increase the number of class sections, modify schedules, revamp the library, add faculty, and creating more residential space for students. Among the changes effected this year were to move the Executive Education Center to the university’s downtown Ifrane facility, thus freeing up a number of on-campus beds and giving the EEC its own space, and converting other campus apartments into student dormitory rooms. Over the coming years, the university strategic plan envisions further investment in residential and academic space – including new dormitories, classrooms, and faculty offices.

Even though the campus is near its current capacity and changes have been necessary, the experience of incoming students and parents has been overwhelming positive. One student, Amina Aboulethar, a newly enrolled student intending to pursue a BA in Business Administration, said she was “very happy with the whole registration and orientation,” while her father expressed his delight about the welcoming spirit of the community – “especially the Student Ambassadors, who were terrific help at all times!”

New and returning Al Akhawayn University students and their parents arrive on campus for the Fall 2010 semester, participating in class-spirit-building activities, registration, and orientation, all facilitated by Student Ambassadors and university staff.

Housing undergraduate students in parts of campus that before were mainly for faculty, staff, and special EEC programs has also had the effect of creating a more youthful, “student-centered” feel on campus, according to staff and faculty living in those areas. “It’s energizing to see more students around,” said one on-campus staff member. “With more activity and more students actually living and hanging out on campus, Al Akhawayn feels ever more like a great American college – which is of course one of the university’s main purposes.”

Internationalization of the campus is also moving ahead this fall, with 72 international students arriving from countries as diverse as the United States, Italy, Norway, Denmark, France, Germany, Korea, and Syria. At the same time, 47 Al Akhawayn students are on exchange in Germany, France, Japan, Canada, the U.S., Finland, and Italy. And new faculty members from Australia, Pakistan, England, the U.S, Austria, and Morocco have also joined the university.

President Ouaouicha summed up the optimism felt around campus as he addressed the students during orientation: “Your trust in Al Akhawayn University is a vote of confidence in the whole nation and in the idea that where there is faith and will, there is a way,” he said.

The president also highlighted the university’s founding values of tolerance, multiculturalism, internationalization, and interaction with others. And to new students, he emphasized that “studying at Al Akhawayn will be a unique opportunity for you to learn about new cultures while preserving your own identity, which is the ideal moderate stand in today’s world of globalization.”


Alumni Event Attracts Graduates, Business, Media, and Political Leaders

Casablanca, August 28, 2010 – The “very small enterprise” was the topic of the day at the recent F’Tour Debat organized by the Al Akhawayn Alumni Association on Thursday, August 26 in Casablanca. Nearly 120 alumni, business, media, and political leaders mingled and networked during the discussion and traditional Ramadan “breakfast,” continuing a 7-year annual alumni tradition. 

During the reception preceding the event, alumni streamed into the Golden Tulip Farah Hotel in Casablanca, sharing stories about work and family and enjoying the company of fellow Al Akhawayn graduates as the summer holidays draw to a close. 

One alumna from the Class of 2010 said, “This is my first alumni event and I’m very impressed with the turnout and the VIPs here. I graduated in June and I’m just starting my job search; it’s great to see how supportive the alumni are to each other, and so loyal to the university.” 

Under the theme “The Very Small Enterprise in Morocco: Realities and Perspectives,” Nizar Baraka, Minister Delegate to the Prime Minister in charge of Economic and General Affairs and a member of the Al Akhawayn University Board of Trustees, headlined a stimulating panel discussion moderated by Mohammed Benabid, editor in chief of L’Economiste newspaper. 

Alumni Association President Khalid Baddou (Class of 2001) introduced the event, noting that “timely and relevant events like this demonstrate the productive role our university and its alumni are playing in the national development of Morocco.”

University alumni met in Casablanca on August 26 for the 7th annual F'Tour Debat, Sharing the traditional Ramadan "breakfast" and discussing the role of "very small businesses" in Morocco, the Alumni Association also welcomed many members of the recently graduated Class of 2010.

Other panelists included Reda Lamrini, president of the INMAA Association (Moroccan Institute for the Support of Micro-Enterprises), Omar Oukrid, assistant secretary general of the CGEM (Moroccan Employers Association), and Hammad Kassal, professor of business at Al Akhawayn University. 

The panelists covered a wide variety of topics in their discussion, from the definition and role of very small businesses in driving economic growth in Morocco (small business account for a large proportion of new job creation), to ways to promote the formation of more such companies, and how the government and other economic players can support this key economic engine. 

There are now nearly 2,500 alumni of Al Akhawayn University, working in Morocco and around the world in a wide variety of fields. During 2010, the university will celebrate the 5th and 10th reunions of the Classes of 2005 and 2000, respectively. For more information about the Alumni Association and upcoming events, please visit www.aa.ma and www.aui.ma. 


Students Arrive on Campus This Week; Memories from Spring 2010 Still Fresh

Ifrane, August 23, 2010 – Al Akhawayn University re-opens its doors this week as the new members of the Class of 2014 arrive to join their fellow students, faculty, and staff for the Fall 2010 semester. With many exciting events and activities planned for the fall, the university community is also looking back to the 13th Commencement on June 12 and some of the other key events of the past spring. 

At the June commencement, over 2,000 audience members cheered George Washington University President Steven Knapp on Saturday, June 12, as he called on the 259 graduates in Al Akhawayn University’s Class of 2010 to “be global,” look beyond borders, and seize their “unique and exciting opportunity” as the university’s newest graduates. 

Al Akhawayn conferred undergraduate and graduate degrees on 259 students, 69 percent women -- the largest class in the university’s 15-year history. Seven students were honored for extraordinary academic achievement in their respective undergraduate programs, and 65 students earned graduate degrees, a 66 percent increase from 2009. Inaugurating a new tradition, the Class of 2010 presented the university with a commemorative plaque produced with funds contributed entirely by members of the graduating class themselves. 

Public interest in the event was high. 2010 is the 15th anniversary of the inauguration of Al Akhawayn University, the Class of 2010 was the largest ever, and Knapp's address came almost one year after U.S. President Barack Obama's June 2009 speech in Cairo. Drawing on the American president’s praise for Islam’s role in civilization, Knapp said that both Al Akhawayn and George Washington “share a debt . . . to the great civilization of Islam, to which we at George Washington were indirectly linked at our founding through the culture of modern Europe, while you at Al Akhawayn have the privilege of being direct and immediate heirs.” 

Also this past spring, over 500 Moroccans from 35 countries were at Al Akhawayn University July 27-29 for the First Forum of Moroccan Youth of the World. Held under the High Patronage of His Majesty King Mohamed VI, the two-day forum in Ifrane brought together youth leaders from the Maghreb, West Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and North America for discussions on a wide range of issues, from immigration and emigration, to culture, identity, youth politics, international business, and the role of the Moroccan diaspora in the global age.

Images of student activities on campus, new student registration, and some key events of the Spring 2010 semester: The 13th Commencement, featuring George Washington University President Steven Knapp; the First Forum of Moroccan Youth of the World; and the World Justice Project (WJP) MENA Regional Rule of Law Conference.

With science a top priority at Al Akhawayn University, the university and the Moroccan American Society for Life Sciences (Biomatec-US) launched their 2nd International Workshop and 9th Annual Meeting, July 19-21 and 20-22, 2010 in Ifrane. 

The workshop “Genome Sequence to Personalized Medicine: Bioinformatics and Pharmaceutical Sciences” was followed by the annual scientific meeting. The four days of intensive scientific and interactive exchange of top-of-the-line knowledge in bioinformatics and genomics involved more than 150 distinguished graduate students and researchers from Moroccan and international universities. 

And, prominent leaders from throughout the Middle East and North Africa convened on June 25-26 at the World Justice Project (WJP) MENA Regional Rule of Law Conference in Ifrane, Morocco, to address Rule of Law issues critical to the region, and to develop multidisciplinary action plans to advance the Rule of Law. 

Participants hailed from 29 countries and represented a diverse group of stakeholders, including government officials, lawyers, judges, artists, architects, educators, faith leaders, engineers, environmentalists, public health workers, business leaders and the media. 

The Fall 2010 semester will be full of equally innovative and exciting events. Please consult www.aui.ma often for updates and announcements.


Al Akhawayn University in the news

The new Moroccan Arabic-language monthly magazine, Adala Just, has dedicated a 4-page report in its second issue (August 2010) to Al Akhawayn University. The article, entitled “ Al Akhawayn University: A Thriving Path that Tallies with World’s Prestigious Universities,” describes the key achievements and strengths that Al Akhawayn University has been able to build throughout its 15 years of existence. The university is depicted as a space for personal and professional development that allows students to develop their analytical and communications kills, self-confidence, creativity, knowledge of the world, and tolerance. Positively drifting away from stereotypes, the report stresses that Al Akhawayn University is not for the elite or the rich only, noting that merit- or need-based scholarships, which can amount up to 100% of the total tuition, are available to a third of the student population and growing.

The articles goes on to stress the fact that the various athletic and extracurricular activities, coupled with high-tech teaching material and community service opportunities, help students continue their personal development inside and outside the classroom. “This cultural richness in students is what this globalized world needs at the level of multinational businesses, private and government institutions,” according to the reporter, Bouabid Dakkak. He illustrates this by listing several major events and activities that Al Akhawayn University organizes throughout the year on a diversity of topics (politics, business, science, art, culture, etc.) of national and global interest. In his report, Dakkak says that the Azrou Center for Community Development as well as many student projects and initiatives – under the general supervision of faculty members –  have a national impact, such as the e-Fez, the yearly school-bag distribution to kids in rural areas, and the fund-raising events whose objectives range from supporting education to raising living standards in the region. Other activities include festivals, cultural days, and many national and international encounters that make the university a fertile arena for exchanges between people of all nationalities and cultures. The article also lists some Al Akhawayn research projects and initiatives and its efforts at investing in quality at all levels to meet international standards and to gain international accreditation.

To read the original version of the article (Arabic), click here. To read other recent articles about Al Akhawayn, please visit http://www.aui.ma/en/media-and-news/news.html.


Hair-styling, Business, Computer Skills, and Other Students Complete Azrou Center Programs 

Azrou and Ifrane, August 3, 2010 – Over 80 adult students of computer skills, business, graphics and multimedia, hair-styling, and aesthetics earned their certificates this summer from Al Akhawayn University's Azrou Center for Community Development. At a July 19 ceremony, 66 women also earned special certificates for passing a unified national exam, set up by the Moroccan Ministry of Education, following a functional literacy program. 

At the same time, the Al Akhawayn Azrou Center signed a partnership agreement with the Pistorio Foundation for a non-formal education (NFE) project. The project will focus on children who interrupted their schooling, and will work to reintegrate them into the school system or prepare them for professional occupations. The Pistorio Foundation, based in Italy, will fund the construction of premises for teaching 40 children and provide much of the project's operating budget.

Al Akhawayn's Azrou Center for Community Development offers health services and dozens of courses on a wide range of topics to hundreds of adults in the Ifrane-Azrou area. Shown here are women in hair-styling and literacy classes, and views of the center. Azrou itself is an important regional agricultural center, about 20 kilometers from Ifrane, with an estimated population of 75,000.

The Azrou Center for Community Development was established by Al Akhawayn University in 2002 with a mandate to contribute to the socioeconomic development of the Ifrane-Azrou region, and to help raise the living standards of its people. Its main activities focus on training and awareness-building in the fields of education, career development, and health. 


Young Moroccans From Around the World Meet at Al Akhawayn

Ifrane, July 27, 2010 – Over 500 Moroccans from 35 countries arrived at Al Akhawayn University today for the kickoff to the First Forum of Moroccan Youth of the World. Held under the High Patronage of His Majesty King Mohamed VI, the two-day forum in Ifrane brings together youth leaders from the Maghreb, West Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and North America for discussions on a wide range of issues, from immigration and emigration, to culture, identity, youth politics, international business, and the role of the Moroccan diaspora in the global age. 

Among the key goals of the forum are to shed light on the lives, interests, and aspirations of the Moroccan community abroad, and to strengthen the bonds between young expatriates and their native country. The results of a comprehensive survey of Moroccans living abroad will be presented, followed by thematic working groups on the topics of “commitment, creation, and entrepreneurship.” The complete program can be viewed here. 

The event is organized by the Council for the Moroccan Community Abroad (CCME) and the Ministry in Charge of the Moroccan Community Living Abroad (MCMRE), and hosted by Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane. 

In his opening speech, Al Akhawayn University President Driss Ouaouicha warmly welcomed the participants to campus and to Ifrane. He noted that “Al Akhwayn University is grounded on a vision of empowering and educating Morocco’s youth for a bright future – one in which our nation is making a greater and greater mark in the world in the global age.”

He went on to describe Al Akhawayn’s mission as a unique, Moroccan liberal arts university with an international outlook. “We at Al Akhawayn are committed to community engagement, cultural diversity, as well as a deep awareness of our identity and of the duality arising from being a Moroccan university following the American model of education in the 21st century.” 

Folllowing President Ouaouicha, Mr. Mohamed Ameur, Minister-Delegate to the Prime Minister in Charge of the Moroccan Community Living Abroad, encouraged the participants to “be bold and be confident” in their Moroccan identities even living abroad. 

“Morocco is rising, and you all have a stake in the future of your unique nation, where tolerance, faith, prosperity, cultural uniqueness, openness to the world, and deep tradition run more deeply than ever under the leadership of His Majesty King Mohamed VI.” 

The participants in the event were selected to participate based on their “outstanding citizenship actions, entrepreneurship, or cultural creation.” The organizers expect that the forum will enable Moroccan youth from all over the world to exchange ideas, create new networks, and also help the CCME develop a more accurate profile of the Moroccan youth of the world. 


Biotech Experts Gather at Al Akhawayn to Discuss Life Sciences

Ifrane, July 20, 2010 – Al Akhawayn University and the Moroccan American Society for Life Sciences (Biomatec-US) have launched their 2nd International Workshop and 9th Annual Meeting, July 19-21 and 20-22, 2010 in Ifrane.

The workshop “Genome Sequence to Personalized Medicine: Bioinformatics and Pharmaceutical Sciences” will be followed by the annual scientific meeting. The four days of intensive scientific and interactive exchange of top-of-the-line knowledge in bioinformatics and genomics will involved more than 150 distinguished graduate students and researchers from Moroccan and international universities.

University President Driss Ouaouicha, during his opening speech, noted that the event marks the beginning of a long collaboration between Al Akhawayn and Biomatec-US, as the university continually reinforces its orientation toward the American system of higher education.

The 9th annual meeting “Bridging Moroccan Scientists around the World” is being held for the first time outside the U.S following the invitation of President Ouaouicha to a group of eminent scientists attending the 8th annual scientific meeting in Washington DC last year. This time, the Biomatec-US board, of which Al Akhawayn faculty member Dr. Khalid Sendide is a member, extended its invitation to the international event, gathering not only Moroccan scientists from the U.S, but also from many other European countries.

The meeting is held in parallel with the second international bioinformatics and pharmaceutical sciences workshop, featuring two prominent American experts in the field, Dr. Chuong Huynh, project officer at the U.S. Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) and Dr. Warren Lathe, a bioinformatics researcher at OpenHelix.


Information Technology for Development Addressed at Al Akhawayn Symposium

Ifrane, July 19, 2010 - Al Akhawayn University hosted an important international symposium entitled "Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Integration in Education: Sharing Best Practices" on Friday 16th in Ifrane, with over 70 participants from five countries: South Korea, Tunisia, Jordan, the United States, and Morocco.

Al Akhawayn University President, Dr. Driss Ouaouicha, addressed the symposium on the university's current strategy on integrating ICT in its educational programs and its contribution and continuous support to the national efforts in this field. One prominent example has been its CITI project, which was supported by the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA); the agency was represented at the meeting by its resident representative in Morocco Mr. Hoe Jin Jeong.

The meeting considered a number of successful ICT integration strategies, especially in Korea, Jordan and Tunisia. The participants shared their experience and best practices about ways to develop interactive e-learning content, on-line teachers' training, and ICT integration in language teaching and learning. The meeting was jointly organized by Al Akhawayn, the newly established teachers' training center in Rabat “Centre Maroco-Coréen de Formation en TICE” (CMCF), and KOICA.


New Agreement Builds Bridges between Al Akhawayn and Indonesia

Ifrane, July 13, 2010 – Al Akhawayn University President Dr. Driss Ouaouicha today signed a new memorandum of understanding with Dr. Laode Kamaluddin, president of Sultan Agung Islamic University, in Semarang, Indonesia. The agreement is Al Akhawayn’s first with a university in Indonesia, the world largest Muslim nation, and envisions a wide range of joint activities. 

Indonesia’s ambassador to Morocco, His Excellency Tosari Widjaja, attended the signing ceremony in Ifrane. He praised the agreement for “strengthening scientific exchange and cooperation and encouraging the development of understanding between the peoples of Indonesia and Morocco.” 

President Ouaouicha praised the partnership for “enriching the higher education landscape in Morocco, and providing Al Akhawayn faculty and students alike a unique new opportunity for global dialogue and learning with a key Asian and Muslim nation.” 

Through the new agreement, the two universities will pursue faculty and student exchanges, establish visiting research fellows, develop cooperative research, and exchange academic and library materials.

Sultan Agung Islamic University (http://www.unissula.ac.id), with over 12,000 students, is one of Indonesia’s leading institutions of higher education, and is particularly well-known for its science and health programs, and its cutting-edge IT and multimedia systems.


New Masters Programs Keep Al Akhawayn at the Forefront of Educational Innovation

As part of its ongoing commitment to advancing Morocco’s development through innovative educational programs, Al Akhawayn University is launching two news masters degrees. Offered through the School of Science and Engineering, the new Master of Science in Information Systems Security and Master in Renewable Energy Management degrees will enhance the university’s role in producing experts able to play leading roles in major national and international projects.

The Master of Science in Information Systems Security (MSISS) program is designed to provide graduates with the ability to successfully manage information systems security in the real world. They will be ready to apply best practices in implementing new technologies, deal with current and evolving threats, incorporate new security tools and strategies, and manage all aspects of systems security. The program consists of seven required courses, one elective course, and an MS project.

The Master in Renewable Energy Management (MREM) program focuses on renewable energy production, transformation, distribution, and management. It is designed to provide students with a well-balanced education in the areas of renewable energies science, engineering, and management. The core courses aim at providing the skills and expertise required for a comprehensive understanding of current technological, institutional, and economic issues related to renewable energy planning and development. The program also provides students with managerial skills that will allow them to monitor complex social-technical systems related to energy and environment. The program consists of eight required courses and an MS project.

Both new degree programs consist of 27 credit hours of coursework. For more information and to apply, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


Al Akhawayn Hosts Major Conference on the Rule of Law in the MENA Region

Prominent leaders from throughout the Middle East and North Africa convened on June 25-26 at the World Justice Project (WJP) MENA Regional Rule of Law Conference in Ifrane, Morocco, to address Rule of Law issues critical to the region, and to develop multidisciplinary action plans to advance the Rule of Law.

Participants hailed from 29 countries and represented diverse group of stakeholders, including government officials, lawyers, judges, artists, architects, educators, faith leaders, engineers, environmentalists, public health workers, business leaders and the media.

The MENA Rule of Law Conference convened to facilitate multidisciplinary collaboration and generate new cross-disciplinary plans to advance the Rule of Law. Assembling into small, issue-specific working groups, Conference participants used Conference presentations and dialogue to frame their discussions and inform their action plans.

Conference presentations and panels offered multinational and multidisciplinary perspectives on Rule of Law issues critical to the MENA region. A particular focus in Conference was the interface between international, national and traditional justice mechanisms. Also, many presentations centered on recent advancements of the Rule of Law in the region. Access to justice for marginalized groups—women in particular—and the connection between the Rule of Law and economic development were frequently addressed themes.

Al Akhawayn University President Driss Ouaouicha led a panel discussion on the importance of the Rule of Law to the MENA Region. He was joined by Qatar University President Sheikha Al-Misnad, Former Prime Minister of Algeria Ahmed Benbitour, Former Preseident of Romania Emil Constantinescu, and Al Jazeera International’s Abderrahim Foukara.

Morocco was highlighted as a case study for judicial reforms using a multidisciplinary approach in a panel discussion led by Former Chief Justice of Brazil Ellen Gracie Northfleet, Counselor to the Secretary General for Legal Affairs of the League of Arab States Mohammed Radwan Ben Khadra, Tunisian Minister of Justice and Human Rights Lazhar Boubouny, and Anthropologist and Islamic law specialist Ziba Mir-Hosseini.

Former Ambassador of the League of Arab States Clovis and the Wali of the Moroccan Diwan al Madalim, Moulay Ahmed Al Iraki delivered the Conference’s opening and closing keynote addresses, respectively.

Conference participants were also presented with a preliminary, draft report on the adherence of the Rule of Law in the MENA region. The preliminary report was based on the WJP Rule of Law Index conceptual framework and methodology and profiled seven countries in the MENA region (Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Qatar, and UAE).

Participants were then grouped into smaller, more focused sessions on Rule of Law issues pertinent to the region. These included dispute resolution, resource allocation, women's and youth rights, good governance, press freedom and responsibility, and access to public information. These working groups culminated in the finalization and presentation of preliminary action plans to address Rule of Law issues. These action plans are to be implemented in the year following the Conference.

The WJP also announced that it will open its seed grant program, the Opportunity Fund, to proposed Rule of Law initiatives initiated as action plans during the Conference.

The WJP will ensure that the MENA Conference results in tangible outcomes by monitoring the implementation of action plans developed at the Conference, providing technical assistance as needed, and continuing to foster the relationships established in Ifrane.

The World Justice Project is a multinational, multidisciplinary initiative which seeks to strengthen the Rule of Law for the development of communities of opportunity and equity. Its work is being carried out through the creation of a comprehensive Rule of Law Index, the convening of global and regional meetings of world leaders, the provision of seed grants for Rule of Law projects, and the origination of new scholarship on Rule of Law issues. The Project’s efforts are dedicated to developing practical programs in support of the Rule of Law around the world. For further details, visit www.worldjusticeproject.org. 

Details on the WJP MENA Regional Rule of Law Conference, including Conference agenda and working session details, can be found at www.MENA2010wjp.org.


Al Akhawayn University Extends Warmest Congratulations to Prince Moulay Ismail

Rabat, June 17, 2010 - Prince Moulay Ismail (Class of 2006), His Majesty King Mohammed VI's cousin, and his wife have given birth to a baby boy.

His Majesty the King decided to name the newborn Moulay Abdallah after his grandfather the late Prince Moulay Abdallah, brother of His Majesty the late King Hassan II (May he rest in peace), who founded Al Akhawayn University 15 years ago. 

On this happy occasion, the Al Akhawayn community expresses warmest congratulations to His Majesty King Mohammed VI, Prince Moulay Ismail, and his wife Lalla Anissa Lehmkuhl, and to the entire royal family, wishing the baby blessings, happiness, and prosperity. 

Prince Moulay Ismail and his wife both studied at Al Akhawayn University. Prince Moulay Ismail graduated in 2006 with a BA in Business Administration. His wife Lalla Anissa pursued Communication Studies from 2002-2003. 

Prince Moulay Ismail and Lalla Anissa’s Class of 2006 will celebrate its 5th alumni reunion in the fall of 2011.


“Look Beyond”

Knapp, Jouahri, and Ouaouicha Address Thousands to Celebrate Al Akhawayn Class of 2010

Ifrane, June 14, 2010 – Over 2,000 audience members cheered George Washington University President Steven Knapp on Saturday, June 12, as he called on the 259 graduates in Al Akhawayn University’s Class of 2010 to “be global,” look beyond borders, and seize their “unique and exciting opportunity” as the university’s newest graduates.

Al Akhawayn conferred undergraduate and graduate degrees on 259 students, 69 percent women -- the largest class in the university’s 15-year history. Seven students were honored for extraordinary academic achievement in their respective undergraduate programs, and 65 students earned graduate degrees, a 66 percent increase from 2009.

Public interest in the event was high. 2010 is the 15th anniversary of the inauguration of Al Akhawayn University, the Class of 2010 is by far the largest ever, and Knapp's address came almost one year after U.S. President Barack Obama's June 2009 speech in Cairo.

Drawing on the American president’s praise for Islam’s role in civilization, Knapp said that both Al Akhawayn and George Washington “share a debt . . . to the great civilization of Islam, to which we at George Washington were indirectly linked at our founding through the culture of modern Europe, while you at Al Akhawayn have the privilege of being direct and immediate heirs.”

He further commended Al Akhawayn’s “location at the fertile intersection of deep tradition and present relevance; its commitment right from the start to the most urgently needed values in the world today, the ‘values of human solidarity and tolerance,’ but also the values of ongoing intellectual and cultural curiosity.”

And marking the historical significance of the occasion, Knapp’s address came at the moment of “not only the university’s 13th commencement but also the 15th anniversary of its service to its students, to the Kingdom of Morocco, and to humanity as a whole.” 

Tradition and innovation alike permeated the 13th Commencement. Chancellor Abdellatif Jouahri, president of Bank Al Maghrib, and Al Akhawayn President Driss Ouaouicha both addressed the graduates following the traditional procession of deans and faculty. President of the Alumni Association Khalid Baddou also spoke, followed by the elected Class Representative Mourad Essofi.

Images from the June 12, 2010 commencement at the Al Akhawayn University campus in Ifrane, Morocco. The event broke all previous attendance records, with over 2,000 people in the gymnasium to celebrate the university's 259 newest alumni. Seven students were honored for outstanding achievement.

And, inaugurating a new tradition, the Class of 2010 presented the university with a gift produced with funds contributed entirely by members of the graduating class themselves.

Al Akhawayn Vice President of Student Affairs Cherif Bel Fekih was the master of ceremonies. “It’s always so exciting and satisfying to see each class graduate,” Bel Fekih said. “We will miss these amazing young people, of course, but take pleasure in knowing they will all be back for class reunions, and to visit their faculty friends, in the years and decades to come.”

The Class of 2010 brings the total alumni body of the university to nearly 2,500 worldwide. Recent surveys show that Al Akhawayn degrees are highly valued in the national and global economy; over 97 percent of alumni are either working fulltime or in graduate school, worldwide and in Morocco, within six months of commencement.

And Al Akhawayn remains singular and committed to its mission and identity. In his remarks, President Ouaouicha emphasized to the graduates that “you are not training for a particular job only, but rather developing a range of tools and strategies that prepare you to experience a full and rich life.”

Indeed, Ouaouicha said, “the goal of a liberal arts education is to prepare people for active and engaged citizenship both in a local context and also in a world that is increasingly connected.”

Globalization and the role of education in managing it were consistent themes in all speeches. President Knapp drew on the historic parallels between his university and Al Akhawayn, citing “the truly global nature” of the two universities’ vision for addressing the challenges of the modern world. And he cited U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama, who spoke to George Washington’s graduates in May about community service and the confidence needed to overcome global challenges, central priorities at Al Akhawayn.

Speaking to the Al Akhawayn Class of 2010, Knapp quoted the First Lady as saying that “more than any other generation, yours is fully convinced that you’re uniquely equipped to solve those challenges.  You believe that you can change your communities and change the world.”

Al Akhawayn Chancellor Jouahri was emphatic about the importance of the university’s international connections, role, and ambitions. Even though “approximately 40 percent of our alumni -- about one in every two students -- have taken part in exchange programs that allowed them to attend prestigious universities and schools in the United States, Europe and Asia,” Jouahri said, “our ambitions for Al Akhawayn are still higher.”

Ambassadors to Morocco from foreign countries, including Indonesia and the United Kingdom, government VIPs, media, parents, family, friends, and local government officials from the Ifrane and Meknes-Tafilalt region all attended the event. Even nine-time world kick-boxing champion Mustapha Lakhsem, who trains at Al Akhawayn, was in the audience.

The entire event was webcast live on the Internet, and twin webcams zeroed in on the university gymnasium – filled to capacity with over 2,000 people. Outside interest in the events in Ifrane was so intense that webcasting and webcam servers on the university’s already robust network were briefly overwhelmed by sky-high demand; capacity was quickly added.

Following the ceremony, commencement guests enjoyed an outdoor reception with a 15-person band on the university’s main quadrangle. With excitement, joy, and exhilaration at having completed their college degrees, Al Akhawayn’s graduates and their families celebrated their achievements with Board Members, faculty, staff, friends, and current students alike.

One new graduate exclaimed afterward, “I can’t believe it’s over! Four years of college went by so fast. These have been the best years of my life so far, and I can’t wait to come back to Ifrane and Al Akhawayn again and again to visit.”

In September, Al Akhawayn University will welcome to campus the newly admitted students of the Class of 2014.


International Students Dive Into Arabic at Al Akhawayn

Ifrane, June 4, 2010 – Fifty-eight students from over two dozen American colleges and universities started Al Akhawayn’s Arabic and North African Studies summer program this week.  The diverse group comes from George Washington University, Princeton, Harvard, Penn State, Vassar, Indiana State, Middlebury, Wellesley, the University of Arizona, Emory, and Duke, among others.

The 8-week program includes 190 language contact hours in class, plus lectures, films, entertainment, and excursions around the country designed to reinforce Arabic-language skills, learn about North Africa, and experience Moroccan culture. Over the last ten years, more than 500 students from 25 nationalities, most of them from North American universities, have come to Ifrane for this unique program.

Already this year, the enthusiasm on campus is palpable. Princeton student Jill Jarvis commented after her first two days that “the program is well organized and the Arabic teaching is really rigorous! It’s also great that we learn the darija (Moroccan) dialect along with Modern Standard Arabic, and at the same time develop our understanding of Morocco.”

Scenes from the 2009 Arabic and North African Studies summer program at Al Akhawayn. Students from around the globe explore Morocco, study Arabic intensively, and live on campus in a stimulating multi-cultural environment. The 2010 program is now underway. 

Indeed, the distinctive blend of intensive Arabic at a residential campus in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains has always been what sets the Arabic and North African Studies (ARANAS) program apart from similar programs, according to Mohamed Dahbi, Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Science and the program’s supervisor.

“It’s truly one-of-a-kind,” says Dahbi. “Combine an intensive, residential Arabic program, here on this lovely campus, with a truly global student body focusing on language and culture in North Africa, plus the trips around Morocco – the result is an unparalleled, life-changing experience.”

This year’s students hail from many countries, including the United States, China, Venezuela, Ireland, Pakistan, India, and the United Kingdom, and all students live on campus in university residence halls. Undergraduates, graduate students, and post-grads are all represented at various levels; it is expected that diligent students usually gain the equivalent of one full academic year of Arabic during the 2-month program.


Language Center Extends Al Akhawayn’s Global Reach at U.S. Conference

Ifrane and Kansas City, May 31, 2010 – The quality of Al Akhawayn’s programs is on display in the U.S. this week, as Language Center Director Moncef Lahlou is the first-ever international representative to attend a Constituent Council meeting of the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation (CEA) in Kansas City, Missouri. 

The May 31 meeting is taking place within the context of the annual NAFSA Association of International Educators conference. With internationalization as a key university objective, Al Akhawayn is well represented in Kansas City. Director of International Programs Amy Fishburn is also attending the event, where she will be meeting with a number of university partner institutions. 

Since Al Akhawayn’s Language Center gained 5-year CEA accreditation in 2009, becoming the first language program in Africa and only one of four outside the U.S. to be accredited, Dr. Lahlou has become a reviewer for CEA. He attended a CEA reviewer workshop in March in Boston, and as a reviewer is now certified to apply knowledge of the standards objectively during site visits to other centers around the world. This means that Al Akhawayn University is becoming part of the standards-setting process. 

“It’s very good for Al Akhawayn to be actively engaged in international systems in this important way,” commented Lahlou as he left for Kansas City. “Not only does it validate the strength of our programs, in this case the Language Center, but it serves the university's long-term strategic goal of strengthening our international reach and appeal.” 

The CEA is recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education as a national accrediting agency; it is the only specialized accrediting agency for English language programs and institutions. More information can be found at http://www.cea-accredit.org/about-cea.html. 

NAFSA Association of International Educators is a member organization promoting international education and providing professional development opportunities to the field. Hundreds of NAFSA members volunteer to serve the Association and thousands advocate for international education. For more information, visit http://www.nafsa.org/ 

Recently, Al Akhawayn students, members of the Extreme Sport Association climbing the highest peak of Morocco and North Africa Tobkal (4167m), carrying the university's flag to the summit, and enjoying such a challenging and marvelous experience.


Innovative Economic Analysis Propels Al Akhawayn Graduate to Prominence

Al Akhawayn alumna Molk Kadiri ‘07, research assistant at the university’s Institute for Economic Analysis and Prospective Studies, is no stranger to distinction in scholarly research. Her latest publication on the emigration of skilled labor from the Middle East and North Africa once again demonstrates Kadiri’s insights and the institute’s leadership in the field of economic analysis for the region.

The new article, “Emigration of Skilled Labor under Risk Aversion: The Case of Medical Doctors from Middle Eastern and North African Economies,” co-written by Kadiri and institute Dean Dr. Ahmed Driouchi, was published on May 20 in Munich Research Papers in Economics and tackles the issue of brain drain in the MENA region and Morocco.

Kadiri’s previous publications with the institute include the book chapter “Challenges to Intellectual Property Rights from Information and Communication Technologies, Nanotechnologies and Microelectronics” in the book “Nanotechnology and Microelectronics: Global Diffusion, Economics and Policy,” and “Digital Rights Management, Intellectual Property Rights Protection and Economic Development: The Case of Digital Piracy in the South Mediterranean Countries.”

A resident of Meknes, Kadiri earned her Al Akhawayn degrees in business administration (BBA 2007) and corporate finance (MSc 2009), has been working with the Institute for Economic Analysis and Prospective Studies (IEAPS) for four years, first as a part-time researcher, then as an intern for special projects, and since 2009 as a fulltime staff member.

“Working at IEAPS is an incredible opportunity,” says Kadiri. “It builds perfectly on my Al Akhawayn experience, as I have been exposed to leading-edge economic theory and practitioners, experienced the publication process, and been able to apply the values of academic rigor, honesty, humility, and modesty in general.”

Promoting research at all levels in the university’s academic programs is a continuing priority university-wide. According to IEAPS Dean Ahmed Driouchi, “Involving students in advanced research early in their careers is a key part of Al Akhawayn’s commitment to producing the next generation of scholars and leaders, and ensuring that research is timely and relevant to today’s needs.”

Kadiri, Driouchi, and the rest of the IAEPS team are continuing to blaze new trails in economic development research. They are currently working on a project about intellectual property in Morocco, looking specifically at the little-understand economic implications that music, art, and performance festivals have on cultural heritage and intellectual property rights.

The Institute for Economic Analysis and Prospective Studies (http://www.ieaps.ma/Home.htm) was inaugurated at Al Akhawayn University in 2001 through an agreement between the World Bank, the government of Morocco, and the university, which supports and hosts the institute. It focuses on research related to economic development, and has produced a number of publications on such topics as behavioral economics, digital rights management, risk management, education, health, labor, migration, and intellectual property rights, among many others. Kadiri and Driouchi’s latest article can be found online at http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/22810/

Over 50 American and Moroccan military officers and cadets, from the U.S. Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) and the Royal Military Academy of Meknes, visited Al Akhawayn University on May 25 as part of their joint cross-cultural program in Morocco. While on campus, the group heard presentations about the university, toured the campus, visited the shop, and shared experiences over lunch.


New International Agreement Strengthens Al Akhawayn’s Role in ICT Innovation

Casablanca, May 21, 2010 - As part of its commitment to advancing the Maroc Numeric 2013 initiative, Al Akhawayn University has signed a new partnership agreement with the Euro-Mediterranean Incubator of the University of Salento (Italy) and the International Chamber of Commerce in Morocco.

Through this partnership, the three institutions will work together to promote and disseminate innovative e-business and ICT-driven practices in Moroccan companies and public institutions. The agreement was signed on May 21 at the Competence Center of the Mediterranean School in e-Business Management (Technopark of Casablanca). The signatories were Al Akhawayn University President Driss Ouaouicha, the University of Salento’s Giuseppina Paissante, and International Chamber of Commerce in Morocco President Abdelhak Bennnani.

Among its many components, the agreement calls for sensitization and awareness programs and workshops, e-business training and continuing education programs, and business intelligence activities.


Al Akhawayn Alumni Discuss National Initiative for Human Development

Casablanca, May 21, 2010 – Over 100 Al Akhawayn alumni, friends of the university, and members of the press gathered in Casablanca on May 20 to celebrate the 5th anniversary of the National Initiative for Human Development. Rachid Benmokhtar Benabdellah, former president of Al Akhawayn University and president of the National Observatory for Human Development (NOHD), was the keynote speaker.

Mr. Benabdellah presented the mission of the National Initiative for Human Development (NIHD), which aims to reduce poverty and social exclusion through activities that generate revenue, build capacity, improve access to services and basic facilities (education, health, roads, water, etc.), and assist vulnerable individuals. He was joined by Mr. Soulaimane El Hajjam, NIHD’s National Associate Coordinator.

Showing a stirring documentary, El Hajjam presented NIHD’s local, participatory approach to development, which respects human dignity, protects and promotes women and children rights, reinforces trust in the future, and involves all citizens in the economic process. He also noted that although over 19,000 projects have been undertaken in only 5 short years, much remains to be done.

Bruno Pouëzat, Coordinator of the UN System and Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Morocco, was among the participants and praised Morocco for the progress it has made through the NIHD projects.

Al Akhawayn alumni, too, appreciated the event. “It’s important for alumni to meet regularly to discuss the pressing issues of the day and stay connected to our university, which plays such a critical role in the development of the country,” said Abdessamad Fatmi, MAISD ’04. “Events like this strengthen our loyalty to Al Akhawayn and highlight the responsibility we all have for the future of Morocco.”

The event, entitled “NIHD: Results & Perspectives,” was organized by the Al Akhawayn Alumni Association (www.aa.edu) in collaboration with the National Observatory for Human Development. The NOHD is the steering and coordinating body for the NIHD, which serves as the project implementation and executing agency.


Arid Lands Conference Brings International Experts to Al Akhawayn University

Ifrane, May 19, 2010 - Over 50 experts from Morocco and around the world gathered at Al Akhawayn University for the start of a unique 3-day conference on “Arid Lands: Environments and Societies at Risk.” Keynote speaker Professor Douglas Johnson of Clark University hailed the event as an important step in "deriving valuable lessons from life in arid lands, where even though traditional ways of irrigation and water use are successful there is a need for new technologies."

Al Akhawayn President Driss Ouaouicha commended the conference for "facilitating the flow of information on an important topic, which focuses on both the physical environment and on the societies that live in such areas and the risks they face today." The opening ceremony saw the presence of researchers and scholars from Algeria, the U.K, Canada, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, and France, together with experts from Moroccan universities and Al Akhawayn faculty and conference organizers Professors John Shoup and Eric Ross, among others. Mohamed Dahbi, Dean of the Al Akhawayn University School of Humanities and Social Science, which organized the conference together with the university's newly established Social Science Research Institute, also attended.

A unique international conference on "Arid Lands: Environments and Society at Risk" opened on May 19 at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane. Over 50 international experts are discussing water use, desertification, human impacts on arid lands, and sustainable development in these fragile areas. Pictured here are arid regions in Morocco and Mauritania; all photos are by Al Akhawayn University associate professor of anthropology John Shoup, one of the conference organizers.

Over the course of an intense 3-day series of working sessions, participants are examining a wide range of related issues, from water use and management, the human impact on arid land, the impact of government policies on water management, to vulnerability and sustainable development. Overall, the conference participants will endeavor to understand how ancestral mechanisms of irrigation in dry lands have managed to persist until today, question the continued sustainability of those methods, and discuss the need to employ new technologies for water management and use.

Established on March 2010, the Al Akhawayn University Social Science Research Institute (SSRI ) conducts, coordinates, supports, and disseminates research in the social sciences at Al Akhawayn University.


Al Akhawayn Professor Named to Distinguished Post at University of Dayton

Ifrane, May 17, 2010 - Mohammed Bouzidi, professor of international studies at Al Akhawayn University, has been named Distinguished International Visiting Professor at the University of Dayton for the Fall 2010 semester. Bouzidi's appointment honors his long and distinguished career in international affairs and international development in particular, and places one of Al Akhawayn's senior scholars in unique position to strengthen connections between Al Akhawayn and American universities through his teaching and speaking in the United States. 

During his time at the University of Dayton (located in Dayton, Ohio) this coming fall, Bouzidi will teach courses on the politics and economics of the Middle East and North Africa, human development and human rights, and deliver a number of public lectures. The University of Dayton has been a partner with Al Akhawayn since 1999, and the two universities are currently renewing their Memorandum of Understanding and reworking their student exchange agreement.  Further signaling the ties between the two universities, while Professor Bouzidi is at Dayton, a Dayton student, David Parkes, will be studying at Al Akhawayn while an Al Akhawayn student, Asmaa El Jaourih, will be studying at Dayton. 

Professor Mohammed Bouzidi earned his Ph.D at the University of Denver.


Al Akhawayn Mourns the Passing of Board Member Abdelaziz Meziane Belfkih, Counselor to His Majesty the King

Ifrane, May 10, 2010 - The entire Al Akhawayn University community is mourning the passing on Sunday, May 9, 2010, of Mr. Abdelaziz Meziane Belfkih, who served as a member of the Al Akhawayn Board of Trustees for over 10 years and as Counselor to both the late King Hassan II and King Mohammed VI since 1998. “We have a true leader in education in Morocco, a man of great conviction and unflinching dedication to educational innovation and reform,” said Al Akhawayn President Driss Ouaouicha. “He will be greatly missed, as he has given so much to education in the country and to Al Akhawayn University in particular.”

Abdelaziz Meziane Belfkih served as president of the Special Commission for Education and Training (COSEF) and as president of the High Council for Education. He was also Minister of Agriculture and Land Reform (1992-1995), Minister of Civil Engineering (1995-1997), and Minister of Agriculture, Equipment, and the Environment (1997-1998), among other functions. An engineer by training, Belfkih played a major role in the conception of several large infrastructure projects in Morocco, such as Tangier Med and the national highway system. He also contributed, through COSEF, to the development and implementation of the Educational Reform Plan, approved in 1999 by His Majesty King Mohamed VI. 

Mr. Belfkih was born in Taourirt in 1944. He earned graduate diplomas in engineering in France and was decorated nationally as the Commander of the Order of the Throne, and internationally as the Commander of the Legion of Honor and Grand Officer of the National Order of Merit (France), Cavaliere di Gran Croce (Italy), and Gran Cruz De Isabel La Catolica (Spain).

May his soul rest in peace and may Allah grant his family patience and endurance.


Al Akhawayn Student Wins Prestigious Google Scholarship

Ifrane, May 4, 2010 - Hind Saddiki, a student at Al Akhawayn University's School of Sciences and Engineering, has been named one of Google's 2010 Anita Borg Scholars. The Borg scholarships aim to encourage women to excel in computing and technology, and become active role models and leaders.

Hind Saddiki completed her bachelor's degree in computer science at Al Akhawayn in the fall of 2009 and now is pursuing a master's in software engineering. She is among 91 scholars and finalists in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, in addition to 62 scholars in the U.S and 17 in Canada.

The scholarships are awarded based on the strength of candidates’ academic performance, leadership experience and demonstrated passion for computer science. Recipients each receive a €7,000 (or equivalent) scholarship. In June 2010, all scholarship recipients and finalists will be invited to visit Google’s Engineering Center in Zurich for a networking retreat. This will include workshops with a series of speakers, panels, breakout sessions and social activities, and will provide an opportunity for all finalists and scholars to meet and share their experiences. 

The Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship, established by Google in 2004, honors Dr. Anita Borg (1949-2003), a computer science pioneer who dedicated her life to changing the way we think about diversity and technology, and dismantling barriers that keep women and minorities from entering computing and technology fields. Now in its seventh year, her namesake scholarship continues to support under- and post-graduate women completing degrees in computer science and related areas, recognizing and encouraging the next generation of technical leaders and role models.

More information about the Google Anita Borg Scholarship and the list of the 2010 scholars and finalists’ list is available in the following links: 

http://www.google.com/anitaborg-emea/ 

http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/05/introducing-googles-2010-anita-borg.html


Al Akhawayn President Ouaouicha Explores New Partnerships in Saudi Arabia

Ifrane, April 27, 2010- Al Akhawayn University President Driss Ouaouicha is in Saudi Arabia this week for consultations with the Islamic Development Bank and to visit leading Saudi universities about future collaboration on key academic programs. 

The visit is one of many that President Ouaouicha is making this year to major countries and capitals around the world to pursue funding and support for collaborative programs that strengthen Al Akhawayn’s programs in business, science and engineering, and the humanities and social sciences.  Over the past six months, President Ouaouicha has visited Japan, Germany, France, the United States, the United Kingdom, Qatar, and Turkey to coordinate with institutional partners, discuss the university’s plans with current and future donors and funding agencies, and meet with alumni and friends of the university during various conferences and events. 

This week's Saudi trip follows on the recent Moroccan-Saudi Scientific and Cultural Week held in Ifrane, and builds on a growing relationship with the Islamic Development Bank (IDB). The IDB funded a workshop on knowledge sharing in Ifrane from November 2-4, 2009, and is interested in funding programs in Islamic finance around the world. Academic programs in Islamic finance in have proliferated in recent years, as financial institutions from New York to London to Casablanca to Dubai have formed special divisions focusing on ways to manage the massive capital flows originating in Muslim countries under Islamic financial regulations, especially the oil-rich Gulf states. 

With IDB support, Al Akhawayn is exploring ways to integrate the subject into its offerings at the School of Business Administration, and possibly to offer courses online.  During this exploratory trip, President Ouaouicha is accompanied by Mohamed Derrabi, Dean of the School of Business and Administration, and Tajje-eddine Rachidi, Associate Vice President for Information Technology and Research. 

The Al Akhawayn officials are holding high-level meetings with leading IDB officials,  visiting the departments of finance and information, and discussing possible joint programs at King Abdulaziz University and King Abdullah University.


Al Akhawayn Marks Earth Day with Tree-Planting and Programs for Local Students

Ifrane, April 23, 2010 - “The environment is not inherited from our parents -- we owe it to our children instead and we have to protect it,” declared 15-year-old Mohamed Oulahoua at Al Akhawayn's Earth Day celebration on Friday. A student at Allal Fassi high school in Ifrane, Mohamed joined nearly 30 other local students in a university roundtable on “Forests and Water” hosted by Al Akhawayn's School of Science and Engineering.

This year's Earth Day celebrations focused on engaging the region's youth with the natural environment, especially the forests and water resources which are so central to Ifrane's identity. Indeed, the university campus itself is set amidst a spectacular natural forest that is prized by students, faculty, and university staff alike.

Aside from the roundtable discussions, students presented paintings and poems, and planted trees together with members of parliament, local authorities, and university officials. University President Driss Ouaouicha praised the students' commitment to environmental awareness, saying "You are our future, just as these trees we plant today and together represent an investment in the future of our world."

Eight members of the national political party “Le Rassemblement National des Indépendants,” including Mr. Alami Tazi and Mr. Abdelaziz Alaoui Hafidi, visited Al Akhawayn for the day, and Morocco's capital city Rabat was honored as one of five world cities to host the 40th Earth Day celebration.

As part of its commitment to social responsibility, Al Akhawayn University strives to raise awareness about the importance of the environment through such initiatives as its Center for Environmental Issues and Regional Development, as well as through numerous programs focusing on water, natural resources, and sustainable development.


World Champion “Tiger of the Rings” Lakhsem at Al Akhawayn

Ifrane, April 19, 2010 - The "helicopter" has landed: Al Akhawayn's first kickboxer-in-residence is in Ifrane for a two-week stay. Mustapha Lakhsem, the Moroccan and world champion in kickboxing, full-contact, and savate, is on campus through April 30 to train for the upcoming World Kickboxing Championship, and while here, he is giving courses on kickboxing, self-defense, sports, and substance abuse to Al Akhawayn students.

During preparation for what is anticipated to be his final fight in the June championship, Lakhsem chose to stay at Al Akhawayn because "the campus is just a beautiful and a healthy space for my training. I am also happy to be among students and to help raise their awareness about the importance of sports in life,” said Lakhsem. “Sports makes life easy and opens the mind” he added.

Known in international kickboxing circles as "the tiger of the rings" and "the helicopter," Lakhsem has won numerous world championships in kickboxing and full-contact, including at the 2007 competition in Casablanca. He is 4-time German champion in kick-boxing and full-contact, and has also won the African savate championship, among many others.

Born in Germany in 1972, Lakhsem plans to retire after the upcoming bout in order to dedicate his time to social development by helping humanitarian organizations raise money and achieve their goals.

During his residency, Al Akhawayn University is providing Lakhsem with on-campus accommodation, meals, and free access to its world-class athletic facilities. Lakhsem, along with his own training schedule, is giving kickboxing training to martial arts club members and self-defense workshops to women at the university. He will also make a presentation to students about sports and substance abuse, and work with the student association Hand in Hand on a series of presentations at local high schools.

Through its athletic programs for students, Al Akhawayn University stresses the importance of sports and their relationship to good health, team spirit, leadership, and overall well-being. With athletic facilities unrivaled in Morocco, numerous national and international sports teams choose Al Akhawayn for training, as the high altitude and clear mountain air are considered optimal for athletic pursuits.


Global Liberal Arts Alliance Colleges Visit Al Akhawayn

Ifrane, April 16, 2010 – The student experience took center stage during the fourth in a series of visits to Ifrane by senior American college leaders from the Global Liberal Arts Alliance (GLA) this spring. As Morocco’s only fully residential liberal arts university, it was only fitting that the capstone session centered on student life at Al Akhawayn. Sara Westfall, Vice President for Student Development and Dean of Students at Kalamazoo College, commented at the conclusion of the visit that “this has been a wonderfully productive exchange with an amazing and talented team” at Al Akhawayn University.

“We've all learned a great deal from the GLA’s hands-on engagement here,” said Al Akhawayn's Vice President for Student Affairs Cherif Bel Fekih. “To be able to share best practices, to delve into details with like-minded professionals, and to learn that many of our challenges and opportunities are shared by similar colleges in the United States is simultaneously gratifying, empowering, and inspiring,” he added.

Scott Friedhoff, Vice President for Enrollment and Communications at Allegheny College, Derek Vaughan, Vice President for Finance and Administration at the Great Lakes Colleges Association, and Graig Ullom, Vice President for Student Affairs at Ohio Wesleyan University, rounded out the student life team. Their consultations from April 5-7 were part of a series of high-level delegations to Al Akhawayn from American colleges this spring, focusing on various aspects of university management and life.

Over the course of three intensive days on campus, the student life team consulted with staff and students on areas such as housing, enrollment, student affairs, student government, development and communication, student advising, and international programs.  In a closing session, they engaged in a spirited exchange with a wide range of students, faculty, and staff in an all-campus conversation about student-centered, service-oriented approaches to university governance.

The consultations with the Global Liberal Arts Alliance come as Al Akhawayn finalizes a new five-year plan and positioning study, and as the university celebrates its 15th anniversary. Allegheny College’s Scott Friedhoff told Al Akhawayn staff that “your university is historic, and you have a historic opportunity to capitalize on something truly unique in this part of the world.”

And while sharing experiences, the American educators openly said that even in the different environment of a young university in Morocco, Al Akhawayn faces many of the same challenges American universities are confronting. Westfall commended Al Akhawayn for where it stands in its development, remarking that “the services offered to Al Akhawayn students are well-developed, and the administration is already aware of areas that could be improved.”

Al Akhawayn has been fortunate this spring to be able to host a total of ten representatives from the GLA and its member colleges. The first team, focusing on human resources, visited the university from February 8-12. Jim Ables, Director of Human Resources at Denison College, and Laura Anderson, Human Resources Manager at Kalamazoo College, worked with Al Akhawayn’s Human Resources Office to explore issues related to faculty and personnel recruitment and retention, compensation, and evaluation.

A second team, focusing on university advancement, worked from February 21-24 with the Department of Development and Communication on fundraising methods, communication and media strategies, and alumni affairs, among many other related issues. Team members Josh Merchant, Vice President of Institutional Advancement at Albion College, and Barb Steadman, Secretary of the College at Allegheny College, also provided many examples of university branding and logo-bearing items – giving the Al Akhawayn team many new ideas on ways to refine and communicate the university’s image and mission.

“The GLA visit was transformative,” said Simon O’Rourke, Director of Development and Communication. “Our discussions with them helped our team put what we do into wider perspective, and emphasized the importance of quality, consistency, and careful planning in advancing the university’s strategic goals.”

A third team focused on the challenges and opportunities of seeking U.S. accreditation, a process Al Akhawayn has already begun. During this visit, from March 29-April 2, Eileen Wilson-Oyelaran, President of Kalamazoo College, and Susan Conner, Provost of Albion College, spoke with Al Akhawayn students, staff, and faculty about the challenges and opportunities of seeking U.S. accreditation.

“Your students are remarkable: worldly, engaged, and fully embodying the ideals of Al Akhawayn University,” commented Wilson-Oyelaran after a meeting with students. For their part, the students reinforced their views of what makes the Al Akhawayn experience special: “It is teaching us confidence, independence, and leadership,” they confirmed during the encounter with Wilson-Oyelaran and Conner.

The various U.S. colleges providing their administrators for consultations are all members of the Global Liberal Arts Alliance, and the visits have been made possible through a special GLA grant to connect U.S. colleges with selected international counterparts. Al Akhawayn University is one of 24 colleges and universities around the world which are members of the alliance.

The purpose of the alliance is to exchange knowledge, expertise and experience among institutions committed to education in the tradition of the liberal arts and sciences. The initiative was founded and is administered by the Great Lakes Colleges Association with the generous support of the Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.


Al Akhawayn Honors Local Leader with Innovative Award

Ifrane, April 13, 2010 – Azrou-based theater director Khadija Azizi Alaoui has won the inaugural Leader of the Year award, presented by Al Akhawayn University’s Leadership Development Institute. Alaoui, president of the Adwae al-Masrah (Theater Lights) association, was honored for her leadership in producing plays addressing the Azrou area’s social challenges, such as drug abuse, children rights, AIDS, youth and terrorism, marriage, widows, and the environment, and for offering free continuing education, computer training programs, and outdoors activities to children from area neighborhoods.

The award by Al Akhawayn’s Leadership Development Institute (LDI) enhances its mission of training successful leaders working for Morocco’s future, and expands the scope of the LDI’s activities beyond the university to focus on local leaders in the Ifrane-Azrou area. The goal of the award is to encourage NGOs in the university’s community by honoring their contributions to regional development through innovative projects.  In this first year of the annual award, a large field of nominees was narrowed to 5 finalists, all from Azrou and Timahdit and working in a variety of fields related to community development.

“I knew I was going to win this award,” said Alaoui with a big smile, demonstrating the confidence, good humor, and leadership qualities cited by the LDI in selecting her as the 2010 award winner. As Al Akhawayn University President Driss Ouaouicha presented her with the award certificate and a 6,000 dirham check, she added that “we don’t get much, if any, help from outside. We will use the award money to help pay for the rent of our association meeting place and get started on refurbishing it to make it a more welcoming place for our planned women’s monitoring center.”

Alaoui also thanked Al Akhawayn University and the LDI for their vital roles in the community. “I hope that when my son grows up, he will get a chance to study at Al Akhawayn University.”

The 2010 Leader of the Year Award ceremony was attended by the finalists, by students at the LDI and its director, Duncan Rinehart, and Al Akhawayn University President Ouaouicha and other university executives. Mohammed El Harti, representing the governor of Ifrane, and the director of the military school in Ifrane, Abdelkarim El Aroui, also participated.

Duncan Rinehart, director of the Leadership Development Institute, expressed his pleasure at how well the event went, saying that “this is an auspicious beginning to an exciting annual tradition.” Reflecting on the high quality of leadership in the Ifrane-Azrou area, Rinehart added, “I look forward to next year’s award and am sure the 2011 nominees will be every bit as good as they were this year.”


"A Special Moment" at Al Akhawayn Celebrates Moroccan-Saudi Ties

Ifrane, April 12, 2010 - Reaffirming the strong ties between Morocco and Saudi Arabia, His Excellency Ahmed Akhchichine, Moroccan Minister of Higher Education and His Excellency Ali Benslimane Al Attia, Saudi Vice-Minister of Higher Education, today opened Saudi Arabian-Moroccan Scientific and Cultural Week at Al Akhawayn University. Coming during the 15th anniversary year of Al Akhawayn University, the event highlights the joint Saudi-Moroccan commitment to excellence in education, as exemplified by Al Akhawayn University itself. Founded by Saudi King Fahd and Moroccan King Hassan II, Al Akhawayn's distinctive place in the Saudi-Moroccan relationship made today "a special moment," in the words of Abdelaziz Akhonizan, Saudi cultural attaché to Morocco.

April 12, 2010 - Saudi Arabian-Moroccan Cultural Week kicks off in the presence of His Excellency Ali Benslimane Al Attia, Saudi Vice-Minister of Higher Education, His Excellency Ahmed Akhchichine, Moroccan Minister of Higher Education, and Driss Ouaouicha, President of Al Akhawayn University. These photos show these three leaders together on the Al Akhawayn campus, cutting the ribbon to open the event with Ifrane Governor Karim Lahlou Kassi, and participating in the opening ceremony. Also shown: Said Sadhan, project counselor at the Saudi Ministry of Higher Education, and Abdelaziz Alkhonizan, Saudi cultural attaché to Morocco.

Al Akhawayn University President Driss Ouaouicha hailed "the strong ties of brotherhood that led to the founding of this remarkable university." President Ouaouicha was joined at the opening ceremony by Alkhonaizan, by Said Sadhan, project counselor for the Saudi Ministry of Higher Education, and Karim Lahlou Kassi, governor of Ifrane. 

In his opening speech, Minister Akhchichine said that “this program strengthens the exchange of knowledge in education and culture between the two countries. In this sense, Al Akhawayn University has proved its uniqueness in responding to the vision of the two late kings, Fahd Abdelaziz and Hassan II." The program of the week includes lectures and workshops on various academic topics, an exhibition of new university projects in Saudi Arabia, a book and poetry night, and a visit to the Ifrane region.


Job Fair 2010

Hundreds of Al Akhawayn University students visited the 2010 Job Fair on Friday, April 9, exploring career options and interviewing one-on-one with dozens of major Moroccan and international companies. The Ambassador of Indonesia to Morocco, His Excellency Tosari Widjaja, opened the fair with Al Akhawayn President Driss Ouaouicha and Ifrane Governor Karim Lahlou Kassi, and toured the stands with Al Akhawayn University Alumni Association president Khalid Baddou and university executives.


Biotech Gets a Boost at Al Akhawayn

Ifrane, April 6, 2010 - Al Akhawayn’s biotechnology laboratory, operational only since 2008, is already starting to see results. Evidence of this came in the last few weeks as a Ph.D student under the supervision of Al Akhawayn University Professor Khalid Sendide won the top prize in the national global entrepreneurship competition organized by the Casablanca-based Center for Young Business Managers.

Professor Sendide and his student, Anissi Jaouad of Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah University in Fez, have been working on a project to produce and market bioactive molecules, mainly anti-oxidants, as part of a research partnership between the two universities. Their ability to produce the molecules is the first major scientific achievement of the laboratory, supported by the facilities and resources of Al Akhawayn’s business incubator, part of the School of Business Administration. According to Professor Sendide, potential investors have agreed to fund a start-up company building on the project, possibly to be hosted at Al Akhawayn, and a patent is ready for submission.

The biotechnology laboratory is supported by the Al Akhawayn University School of Science and Engineering and the Tempus Program, and is equipped by with over €150,000 of top-of-the-line microbiology and molecular biology equipment. The business incubator was established in 2006 to assist and promote young entrepreneurs in the development of new ventures, and thus to help create jobs – especially in distressed areas and disadvantaged communities.

Professor Sendide joined Al Akhawayn in 2006 and has been involved in setting up new biotechnology programs as well as the biotechnology laboratory. His main fields of research are molecular immunology related to tuberculosis and the production of bioactive molecules using green biotechnology and processes.

Commenting on the laboratory’s achievement, Sendide noted that “applied research is doable even with limited resources.”


Ministry of Interior Applauds Al Akhawayn’s Executive Education Center

Ifrane, April 1, 2010 – As Moroccan Ministry of Interior managers completed the public management program at Al Akhawayn’s Executive Education Center (EEC) yesterday, Najat Zarrouk, the Ministry’s Director of Executive and Technical Training, declared that Al Akhawayn offers “an exceptional context for studies and is the perfect place for investing in human capital and reaping the benefits of it.”

Twenty-three Ministry employees earned certificates at the completion of the year-long course, which includes modules on modernizing the structure of the Ministry, adopting new information and communication technologies, a distinctive team-building “Boot Camp,” and final project presentations before a jury at the graduation ceremony.

As Ministry of Interior managers complete their program at Al Akhawayn's Executive Education Center, Najat Zerrouk, Director of Executive and Technical Training at the Moroccan Ministry of Interior, receives a gift from Al Akhawayn President Driss Ouaouicha, honoring her contribution to the partnership between the Ministry of Interior and Al Akhawayn University.

At the ceremony in at the Al Akhawayn campus, Noureddine Boutayeb, Wali and Secretary General of the Ministry of Interior, commended “this unique training program for bringing together government employees from all central and regional departments of the Ministry, thus strengthening the Ministry’s cohesion and management in important ways.”

The partnership between Al Akhawayn University and the Ministry of Interior through the EEC program is unique, and marks the Ministry’s first attempt to outsource its staff training and thus enhance the performance of its managers and staff in public affairs management.

In an interview with Avant-Garde, an Al Akhawayn student newspaper, Ms. Zarrouk noted that Al Akhawayn’s campus life and academic programs are comparable to those of North American universities. She added that this was the first time the Ministry has had the opportunity to evaluate its training and undertake project defenses with a jury. “The participants are very happy and have learned a lot. If they had the chance to stay longer at Al Akhawayn University, they would not hesitate one moment,” she said.


Al Akhawayn Students Voice Confidence to American Educators

Ifrane, March 30, 2010 – “The Al Akhawayn experience is teaching us confidence, independence, and leadership,” confirmed Al Akhawayn University students meeting with senior American college officials visiting campus this week. Eileen Wilson-Oyelaran, President of Kalamazoo College, and Susan Conner, Provost of Albion College, spoke with Al Akhawayn students during a series of meetings around campus to discuss the challenges and opportunities of seeking U.S. accreditation.

The students meeting with the team expressed their views of the university’s mission, academic advising, student life, and much more, in a wide-ranging discussion about university life. Members of the Student Government Association, student newspapers, various clubs, and several different concentrations were represented.

“Your students are remarkable: worldly, engaged, and fully embodying the ideals of Al Akhawayn University,” Wilson-Oyelaran commented to university executives after the meeting.

Wilson-Oyelaran and Conner’s visit is part of a series of high-level delegations from American colleges this spring, focusing on various aspects of university management and life. The colleges providing their administrators for consultations with Al Akhawayn are all members of the Global Liberal Arts Alliance of the Great Lakes Colleges Association, and the visits are made possible through a special GLA grant to connect U.S. colleges with their counterparts overseas.

Kalamazoo College President Eileen Wilson-Oyelaran addresses Al Akhawayn University administrators and faculty during a March 31 working session about accreditation. Wilson-Oyelaran and her colleague Susan Conner, provost of Albion College, have been on campus all week helping the Al Akhawayn community understand the challenges and opportunities of seeking accreditation.

Al Akhawayn is fortunate this spring to be hosting a number of GLA representatives. The first team, focusing on human resources and working closely with the university’s Office of Human Resources, visited the university from February 8-12. Jim Ables, Director of Human Resources at Denison College, and Laura Anderson, Human Resources Manager at Kalamazoo College, worked closely with Al Akhwayn’s Human Resources Office to explore issues related to faculty and personnel recruitment and retention, compensation, and evaluation.

Another team, focusing on university advancement, worked closely from February 21-24 with the Department of Development and Communication on fundraising methods, communication and media strategies, and alumni affairs, among many other related issues.  Josh Merchant, Vice President of institutional Advancement at Albion College, and Barb Steadman, Secretary of the College at Allegheny College, also provided many examples of university branding and logo-bearing items – giving the Al Akhawayn team many new ideas.

“The GLA visit was transformative,” said Simon O’Rourke, Director of Development and Communication. “Our discussions with them helped the team put what we do into wider perspective, and emphasized the importance of quality, consistency, and careful planning in advancing the university’s strategic goals.”

A fourth visit, focusing on student affairs, will take place the week of April 5, and will include four seasoned university administrators from GLA colleges. They include Scott Friedhoff, Vice President for Enrollment and Communications at Allegheny College, Derek Vaughan, Vice President for Finance and Administration at the Great Lakes Colleges Association, Craig Ullom, Vice President for Student Affairs at Ohio Wesleyan University, and Sarah Westfall, Vice President for Student Development and Dean of Students at Kalamazoo College. During their visit they will work closely with Al Akhawayn’s Vice President for Student Affairs Cherif Bel Fekih, and will consult with a wide range of students, faculty, and staff in an all-campus conversation about student-centered, service-oriented approaches to university governance.


Al Akhawayn Regionalization Roundtable Puts Morocco into Perspective

Ifrane, March 29, 2010 – Said Chbaâtou, president of the Meknes-Tafilalt regional council, addressed students at an Al Akhawayn University roundtable today in an analysis of Morocco's experience with regionalization. He was joined by Al Akhawayn President Driss Ouaouicha, Mohamed Dahbi, dean of the Al Akhawayn University School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Jeremy Gunn, associate professor of international studies, Nicola Migliorino, assistant professor of  international studies, and Youssef Ben-Meir, assistant professor of international studies, in a spirited discussion under the general theme of "Regionalization Policies: A Review of Selected International Models," hosted by the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. 

Chbaâtou discussed the history of regionalization in Morocco, noting that some independence-era events in the Rif and Tafilalt regions could be seen as early indicators of decentralization rather than rebellion. He described the process by which regionalization became important after the first legislative elections, the establishment of a national fund for regional development, and the division of Morocco into 16 economic regions. Chbaâtou said that regionalization is important “in order to face the challenges of modernization." 

The Al Akhawayn faculty participants further commented on Morocco's roadmap to regionalization, drawing on analysis of devolution, deconcentralization, delegation, and privatization, in different models around the world,  such as in Germany, Brazil, Sudan, and the United States.  


Al Akhawayn Teams Victorious in International Tournament

Ifrane, March 24, 2010 -- Al Akhwayn University sport teams returned home to Ifrane flush with the glow of triumph at the annual Beirut Unisports Festival, held from March 18-21 in Lebanon and organized by Saint-Joseph University in Beirut. Sixteen universities from all over the world participated, representing Lebanon, Algeria, Spain, Greece, Kuwait, Romania, and Bulgaria, among others. Al Akhawayn was the only team from Morocco, and competed in women’s soccer, swimming, and track and field. Al Akhawayn did very well in the competition: the swimming team won 6 gold medals, 4 bronze, and 2 silver, the women’s soccer team was a finalist, and the track and field team brought home the bronze medal in the 100m relay. Al Akhawayn also took third place in the Sports Quiz competition, a test of sports knowledge involving 100 questions about sports around the world, and Al Akhawayn student and soccer goal-keeper Sabrine Laouane won the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award.


Three Al Akhawayn Students Selected for Prestigious IMF Roundtable 

Ifrane, March 22, 2010 – Following the recent IMF Youth Dialogue event held in Ifrane in early March, three Al Akhawayn University students have been selected to participate with IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn in the IMF Global Youth Dialogue roundtable in Amman, Jordan,  from April 2-5, 2010. Students Hajar Nait Abdellah Ouali, Taha El Hajji, and Achraf Ahmadan will travel as guests of the IMF to Amman for the event. The IMF originally planned to selected only two students from Al Akhawayn, but took the unusual step a third in recognition of the high quality of the March 8 discussion. 

In that event, representatives of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) exchanged views with Al Akhawayn University students on the economic policy challenges facing Morocco, the region, and its youth as part of a series of roundtable discussions being held in the Middle East and North Africa under the auspices of the IMF Youth Dialogue.

“These roundtable discussions provide an opportunity for university students to air their views on the issues that concern them most, such as their job prospects in the wake of the global financial crisis”, said Ralph Chami, Division Chief in the IMF’s Middle East and Central Asia department. “Al Akhawayn students offered many thoughtful ideas and proposals for policies and we intend to present their ideas to our IMF colleagues.”

Mr. Chami said that he was impressed at the quality of the Al Akhawayn student contributions, the depth of their arguments, their excellent communication skills, their mastery of the English language, their visionary ideas, and their motivation to work for the good of their country. “Al Akhawayn University has an excellent reputation abroad, especially among IMF members,” he said. “When we decided to include Morocco in our roundtable discussion series, it was instantly clear that we would hold the event at Al Akhawayn University.”

At the Ifrane roundtable, Al Akhawayn students submitted papers and gave presentations on different areas of Morocco’s economic development. The students provided a thorough overview of the challenges facing the country and had a thought-provoking discussion with IMF representatives and executives of the School of Business Administration. The discussion focused on students’ views on a variety of economic issues, especially employment opportunities for the millions of young people who have entered and will enter the workforce in the next decade. The discussion also covered the role the IMF can play in helping countries in the MENA region reach their economic potential.

For more information about the Ifrane roundtable, please see the IMF's press release at http://www.imf.org/external/region/mcd/youthdialog/pr/pr100308_Ifrane.htm.


Minister Mazouz Addresses Al Akhawayn Community

Ifrane, March 18, 2010 – His Excellency Abdellatif Mazouz, Moroccan Minister of Foreign Trade, gave a talk today about “Growth and Exports: Crisis Management and Strategic Planning.” Minister Mazouz discussed the national strategy for exports in the context of the overall Moroccan economy and its diversification. More than 80 students, faculty, and staff attended the event, moderated by Al Akhawayn President Driss Ouaouicha and enhanced by the participation of the governor of Ifrane, Mr. Karim Kassi Lahlou. Minister Mazouz stressed the importance of good foreign market targeting for Moroccan exports. He underlined the government's plan for promoting exports, as well as the approaches for different sectors (trade, agriculture, tourism, etc.) that are likely to strengthen exports and foster demand for Moroccan products.

His Excellency Abdellatif Mazouz, Moroccan Minister of Foreign Trade, addressing the Al Akhawayn community during a March 18, 2010, presentation of the national export strategy.


Al Akhawayn at Biotechnology Day in Tetouan

Ifrane, March 18, 2010 -- Today, the Al Akhawayn School of Science and Engineering is co-organizing a "biotechnology day" in partnership with the University of Abdelmalek Essadi, School of Science, in Tetouan, Morocco. The event aims to foster communication and exchange between the two schools in the field of biotechnology. During the event, faculty and biotechnology graduate students from the Al Akhawayn School of Science and Engineering will give a series of presentations and engage in dialogue with their counterparts in the field.

Al Akhawayn University Professor Khalid Sendide and his students, hard at work in the university's world-class biotechnology laboratory. The lab's recent success in producing bioactive molecules and creating a business startup demonstrate the powerful synergies between science and business at Al Akhawayn and in the region.


Tsukuba University Officials Visit Al Akhawayn

Ifrane, March 17, 2010 -- Officials from the University of Tsukuba, Japan, are visiting Al Akhawayn University today to explore possible collaboration in research and programs, student exchanges, and other joint activities. Their visit follows on Al Akhawayn President Driss Ouaouicha's recent trip to Japan, where the outlines of a potential partnership agreement were discussed. That visit included representatives of four other North African universities, from Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia, within the context of the recent Japanese government policy to assign Japanese universities different parts of the world in order to speed along the internationalization of the entire Japanese higher education system. The goal of the Japanese government is to increase the international student population in Japan to 300,000 by 2020. The University of Tsukuba is focusing on North Africa as part of this new policy, and as such is keenly interested in establishing relations with leading universities like Al Akhawayn. 


Senior University of Texas Officials Visit Al Akhawayn

Ifrane, March 16, 2010 – A team of two high-level executives from the University of Texas in the United States is at Al Akhawayn University this week to advise the university in developing its position in the world of higher education. Dr. Sheldon Ekland-Olson and Dr. Bruce Walker are participating in discussions with many members of the university’s administration and faculty about Al Akhawayn’s experience, and providing advice in the areas of admissions, outreach, communications, and positioning.

Dr. Sheldon Ekland-Olson is the former Executive Vice President and Provost at the University of Texas, Austin. He has taught at Yale and at the University of Texas, Austin, and since 1971 has served, inter alia, as Special Assistant to the Chancellor for the entire University of Texas system and as Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Texas, Austin. He has long served as an advisor to Al Akhawayn University and has made many trips to Ifrane.

Dr. Bruce Walker is Vice Provost for Special Projects and former Director of Admissions at the University of Texas, Austin. Dr. Walker also chairs the national Commission on Admissions in the 21st Century, and has been a member of high-level task force on training admissions officers in the United States.

With their extensive experience in university management and positioning, their visit to Al Akhawayn is helping the university prepare a comprehensive positioning study related to its new five-year plan. This study will address the key questions of where Al Akhwayn University stands today, nationally, regionally, and internationally, and where it ought to be by 2015 as it seeks to growth and develop in line with its mission as a unique institution of American-style liberal arts education in Morocco.


International MBA Workshop to be held at Al Akhawayn University

From March 15-26, 2010, the Al Akhawayn University School of Business Administration (SBA) will host the second installment of the international workshop for the Euromed Management School. The two-week program for Euromed’s World Med MBA students focuses on cultural, social, and religious issues related to business in Morocco and the Arab world. During the workshop, Al Akhawayn University faculty and experts from the business and corporate world will deliver 40 hours of seminars at the university's campus in Ifrane and at the Executive Education Center in Casablanca, where participants will have the opportunity to meet with business executives. The program includes visits to companies, cultural activities, and excursions designed to enhance the participants’ understanding of Morocco’s culture in general and the local business environment in particular.


International ISESCO Delegation Visits Al Akhawayn

Ifrane, March 13, 2010 -- A group of young international leaders visited Al Akhawayn University as part of an Islamic Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) tour to several countries in the Islamic world. The participants, from  Germany, Austria, Turkey, Canada, the United States, France, and Spain, were part of the Alliance of Civilizations International Fellowship Program.

They toured the campus and met with students, who discussed the university's culture and student life. The visit happened in the context of ISESCO’s mission to strengthen dialogue between cultures and to promote scientific and cultural institutions in partner countries.


Harvard College Students at Al Akhawayn University

A delegation of 10 Harvard College students arrived in Ifrane over the weekend, and will spend the week of March 15 at Al Akhawayn University. They are pictured here on Monday, March 15 in front of the mosque at the center of the Al Akhawayn campus.

The Harvard group includes freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors from all around the United States, and their visit to Ifrane reciprocates the visit in February of Al Akhawayn students to Cambridge. During their visit, the Harvard students are staying in university housing, participating in an intense schedule of presentations and discussions, and will visit local attractions such as Fez and Meknes.

A delegation of 10 Harvard College students arrived in Ifrane over the weekend, and will spend the week of March 15 at Al Akhawayn University. They are pictured here on Monday, March 15 in front of the mosque at the center of the Al Akhawayn campus. The Harvard group includes freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors from all around the United States, and their visit to Ifrane reciprocates the visit in February of Al Akhawayn students to Cambridge. During their visit, the Harvard students are staying in university housing, participating in an intense schedule of presentations and discussions, and will visit local attractions such as Fez and Meknes.


U.K. Ambassador Addresses Al Akhawayn Students

Ifrane, March 8, 2010 – The ambassador of the United Kingdom to Morocco and Mauritania, His Excellency Tim Morris, discussed U.K.-Morocco relations in an address to Al Akhawayn students and faculty today. Nearly 40 students attended the highly interactive event, in which Ambassador Morris discussed a wide range of political, economic, and social issues in the context of Morocco’s relations with the U.K.

Of particular interest were the discussions about projects undertaken by the U.K. embassy in Morocco, in the areas of sports, mediation, and conflict resolution, for example, and more delicate political matters such as visas and the Western Sahara. Ambassador Morris noted that commercial relations between Morocco and Britain still need development, but was pleased to see how “the Moroccan government is leading admirable and first-class strategies in raising awareness of new markets and trade relations.” He stressed the importance of identifying and building on opportunities for more cooperation with Morocco, as well as establishing common values and principles to foster the relationship between the two countries.

Later in the day, the ambassador was the guest speaker at a dinner honoring Al Akhawayn students on the President’s List. Here, he addressed the topic of regionalization policies around the world, a subject of particular interest to Morocco at the moment, and helped Al Akhawayn University President Driss Ouaouicha present certificates to the President’s List students.


IMF Engages Students at Al Akhawayn Roundtable

Ifrane, March 8, 2010 – Representatives of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) exchanged views with Al Akhawayn University students on the economic policy challenges facing Morocco, the region, and its youth as part of a series of roundtable discussions being held in the Middle East and North Africa under the auspices of the IMF Youth Dialogue.

“These roundtable discussions provide an opportunity for university students to air their views on the issues that concern them most, such as their job prospects in the wake of the global financial crisis”, said Ralph Chami, Division Chief in the IMF’s Middle East and Central Asia department. “Al Akhawayn students offered many thoughtful ideas and proposals for policies and we intend to present their ideas to our IMF colleagues.”

Mr. Chami added that he was impressed at the quality of the Al Akhawayn student contributions, their mastery of the English language, their visionary ideas, and their motivation to work for the good of their country. “Al Akhawayn University has an excellent reputation abroad, especially among IMF members,” he said. “When we decided to include Morocco in our roundtable discussion series, it was instantly clear that we would hold the event at Al Akhawayn University.”

University students submitted papers and gave presentations on different areas of Morocco’s economic development. The students provided a thorough overview of the challenges facing the country and had a thought-provoking discussion with IMF representatives and executives of the School of Business Administration. The discussion focused on students’ views on a variety of economic issues, especially employment opportunities for the millions of young people who have entered and will enter the workforce in the next decade. The discussion also covered the role the IMF can play in helping countries in the MENA region reach their economic potential.

The Youth Dialogue is an IMF-sponsored initiative aimed at engaging with the next generation of the region’s leaders. The objective of the initiative is to work with university students to gain their perspectives on their economic future and to contribute to the evolution of their views on the policy measures that will be needed to secure sustainable economic growth in the Middle East and North Africa.

“This roundtable session was a great opportunity for us to broaden our horizons through stimulating discussions on key subjects such as the development priorities for our country, the future of our economy, and the lessons to learn from the global crisis”, said Taha El Hajji, student in Al Akhawayn’s School of Business Administration and one of the presenters at the roundtable. “Such events help raise awareness among us, students, of our environment and allow us to link our theoretical and academic knowledge with reality. I hope there will be more opportunities like this that allow students to meet with experts and decision-makers,” he added.

The roundtable discussion series began in Lahore, Pakistan, and will now continue in Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, and the UAE. The IMF Youth Dialog has a website where students and visitors can interact and post their thoughts (www.imf.org/youthdialog).


Al Akhawayn Women Win Regional Futsal Tournament

Meknes, March 8, 2010 - On the occasion of International Women's Day, the Al Akhawayn women’s soccer team, the Cats, took the top trophy in the annual regional universities futsal tournament in Meknes. In the tense final match against Moulay Ismail's campus team (Cité Universitaire) before a roaring public crowd at the University of Moulay Ismail, Al Akhawayn scored the winning goal in the last minute of extra time to give the Cats a thrilling 1-0 victory. In earlier matches in the tournament, Al Akhawayn bested the School of Technology (EST) 5-0 and trounced the Ecole Nationale d'Agriculture de Meknes (ENA) 5-1. Futsal is a variant of soccer, played with fewer players and with different rules. The Al Akhawayn team will next participate in an international competition hosted by Saint Joseph University in Beirut on March 18-21, 2010.


New Webometrics Rankings Show Al Akhawayn's Position Stable

Al Akhawayn University remains number one in Morocco, according to Webometrics, a directory of world universities ranked by their presence on the web, which has published its latest rankings of more than 17,000 higher education institutions worldwide. The latest numbers show that Al Akhawayn improved its position in the Arab world, to 29 out of 100, and is still number 19 in Africa.

The "Webometrics Ranking of World Universities" is an initiative of the Cybermetrics Lab, a research group belonging to the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), the largest public research body in Spain. CSIC is among the first basic research organizations in Europe; attached to the Ministry of Education, its main objective is to promote scientific research so as to contribute to scientific and technological development.

For more information visit http://www.webometrics.info/about.html 


From Ifrane to Harvard Square: Al Akhawayn Students Visited Harvard University

A delegation of ten Al Akhawayn University students traveled to the United States to attend the inaugural Harvard College Students in Africa Initiative (HSAI) conference at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, during the week of February 6-14, 2010. The students, representing all three schools at Al Akhawayn, were accompanied by Associate Professor of Geography Eric Ross.

During their visit to Harvard, the Al Akhawayn delegation stayed with students in dormitories and experienced campus life in Cambridge while participating in the conference. They also engaged their counterparts from around the world with a presentation about Morocco, and helped educate U.S. students and educators about the important role of Al Akhawayn University in Morocco and the region.

Following up on their week’s experience at Harvard, from March 14-19, 2010 a group of 11 Harvard students will come to Al Akhawayn for an immersive educational and cultural experience in Ifrane. The Harvard group will stay in university housing, participate in presentations and discussions, and also visit local attractions such as Fez and Meknes.

Through immersion in host institutions and close student-to-student interaction, the HSAI strives to put a personal face on global issues and allow participants to develop a more sophisticated understanding of the international community, while simultaneously building synergetic relationships between the future leaders of Africa and the United States.

A student organization at Harvard University, the HSAI invited delegations from select universities in Africa to come to Harvard for the annual conference, with 2010 being the first year. And each March, HSAI sends delegations of Harvard students and faculty to participate in similar conferences throughout Africa, organized by partner schools such as Al Akhawayn, the University of Bamako in Bamako, Mali, and the Polytechnic of Namibia in Windhoek, Namibia.


Water Course Focuses on Development and Environment

Ifrane, February 5, 2010 – Al Akhawayn University has concluded a 3-day national training course on “Capacity Development for Better Integration of Water Demand Management in Morocco.” The course enabled decision makers and water professionals to better understand the challenges and opportunities confronting Morocco as it responds to the growing demand for water and the increasing threat of climate change. It also helped identify ways to reposition water issues in the future, and to involve different parties, especially farmers, in decisions about water management.

The course took place at the Al Akhawayn University campus in Ifrane and was organized in cooperation with the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) in Canada and the Arab Water Academy (AWA) in Abu Dhabi. It included 50 senior managers and professionals from government ministries and agencies, water utilities, private sector organizations, academia, and NGOs throughout Morocco. Among them were representatives of the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development, and Fisheries, UNESCO, GTZ, USAID, the Office of Water and Forests, the National Office of Potable Water, the Center for Regional Investment of Meknes-Tafilalt, the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (France), and many others.

“This course is a humble contribution to the national initiatives that aim at better management of our water resources,” said Dr. Ahmed Legrouri, Dean of the Al Akhawayn University School of Science and Engineering, coordinator of the university research group on water and the environment, and a member of the board of the Arab Water Academy.

“Morocco ranks the issue of water as a top priority,” said Legrouri. “Indeed, the national Strategy on Water and the ‘Maroc Vert’ plan, which have been presented to His Majesty the King, are examples of the importance of water demand management.”

Dr. Asma El Kasmi, Director of the Arab Water Academy, also highlighted Morocco’s key role in water management, noting that “Morocco has incredible expertise and experience in this area, which needs to be made better known and much more widely applied throughout the Arab region.”

Al Akhawayn University is a natural leader in the field of water management, and the issue dovetails with the university’s commitment to contribute to the socioeconomic development of its region. In recent years, Al Akhawayn has hosted a pre-symposium on water, participated in the 2004 water symposium in Cannes, France, and in 2006, a UNESCO chair at the university was named, followed by a series of workshops, seminars, and conferences on water.

The course that just ended is one in a series organized by the IDRC and the Arab Water Academy, which counts Al Akhawayn University as one of its centers of excellence in the Arab region and Africa, and is the first organized in cooperation with Al Akhawayn. A third training session will be held in Cairo from March 1-3, 2010, in which participants will gain more regional experience from water management experts.


Al Akhawayn University Mourns the Passing of its First Chancellor, Dr. Azzeddine Laraki

Dr. Azzedine Laraki (1929 – 2010)

The entire Al Akhawayn University community is mourning the passing on February 1, 2010, of Dr. Azzeddine Laraki, who served as the first Chancellor of Al Akhawayn University (1995-1998).

The former Minister of Education, former Prime Minister of Morocco (1986-1992), and former Secretary General of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (1997-2000), Dr. Laraki made significant contributions to Al Akhawyn University during its founding and formative years.

Dr. Laraki was born in Fez in 1929, and later enrolled at the Faculty of Medicine in Paris, from which he obtained a doctorate in 1957. He was widely accomplished in the field of medicine and education, published a number of scholarly writings, and was a high-ranking member in many national and international bodies.

May his soul rest in peace and may Allah grant his family patience and endurance.


Al Akhawayn Shows its Colors at Riyadh Fair

Al Akhawayn University participated this year for the first time ever at the International Exhibition for Higher Education (IEHE) EXPO 2010, a major annual event where over 300 leading universities, higher education institutions, and educational organizations from more than 42 countries present their programs to tens of thousands of students, parents, and educators from around the Middle East. Al Akhawayn was the only Moroccan and African university represented this year. The exhibition was held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and ran from January 26-29, 2010.

Representing Al Akhawayn in Riyadh were Professor of Anthropology John Shoup and Mohammed Amine Kendoussi, Admissions and Outreach Officer. Armed with Arabic and English-language brochures about the university’s programs, along with posters and Moroccan cookies, Shoup and Kendoussi reported that the Al Akhawayn booth was flooded with visitors keen to apply to Al Akhawayn, to establish partnership agreements, and to find out more about Morocco.

His Excellency Dr. Ali Ibn Souleiman Ateya, Saudi Vice Minister of Higher Education, receiving a memorial photograph of Al Akhawayn's inauguration, sent by President Dr. Driss Ouaouicha and presented by Mohammed Amine Kendoussi, Admissions and Outreach Officer, at the International Exhibition for Higher Education in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, January 29, 2010.

Among the highlights for the Al Akhawayn delegation on the final day of the event was presenting a gift to His Excellency Dr. Ali Ibn Souleiman Ateya, Saudi Vice Minister of Higher Education. The gift was a framed photograph of the Al Akhawayn University inauguration day and was sent to the Vice Minister by President Dr. Driss Ouaouicha.

The exhibition provided an important opportunity for the Saudi community in particular to interact with international higher education institutions and universities, and to promote collaboration and partnerships between Saudi universities and international universities. For Al Akhawayn, participating in the exhibition was part of its continuing effort to enhance its international reputation, to strengthen university outreach actions and student recruitment, especially for international students, and to establish effective collaborations with other international institutions.


Water Demand Management Course Begins at Al Akhawayn

Ifrane, February 3, 2010 – Today Al Akhawayn University, the International Development Research Center in Canada, and the Arab Water Academy launch a three-day national training course on “Capacity Development for Better Integration of Water Demand Management in Responding to Water Scarcity in Morocco.” The course is taking place at the Al Akhawayn campus in Ifrane and includes 50 senior managers and professionals from government ministries and agencies, water utilities, private sector organizations, academia, and NGOs throughout Morocco. Among them are representatives of the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development, and Fisheries, UNESCO, GTZ, USAID, the Office of Water and Forests, the National Office of Potable Water, the Center for Regional Investment of Meknes-Tafilalt, the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (France), and many others...


Spring 2010 Semester Begins

Al Akhawayn University welcomes back for the start of the spring 2010 semester its students and faculty, both old and new. The campus is alive with activity, as students register for classes; campus services open after the mid-year break; and orientation sessions begin for those new to the university and the city of Ifrane including for the first time a presentation on the Leadership and Development Institute at Al Akhawayn University. Classes begin on Monday, January 25. 

In his speech to new students and parents, Al Akhawayn University President Driss Ouaouicha congratulated incoming students for passing the difficult admittance tests, and addressed international students by inviting them to "talk about your positive experience in the land of tolerance and coexistence and be convinced that coexistence among different peoples is not only possible, but also useful in a world where economic, cultural, and information borders are being dismantled, as evidenced by the recent financial crisis." 

This year is a milestone as it marks the 15th anniversary of the opening of Al Akhawayn University, which even in such a short amount of time has dramatically enriched higher education in Morocco and continues to reach new heights. And as it continues to internationalize and become better known worldwide, this semester the university welcomes a number of new students, including 150 freshmen (27 graduates and 123 undergraduates) and 47 international students. Also, within the framework of the exchange programs with different worldwide partner universities, this semester will see the presence of 34 exchange and study-abroad, 3 degree-seeking, and 10 continuing students from universities around the world, including Canada, Finland, Germany, Japan, Mauritania, Oman, and the United States.


Ensuring National and International Cybersecurity 

Regional Conference in Ifrane advances Maroc Numeric 2013

Ifrane, January 22, 2010 – A two-day international conference on cybersecurity organized by Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane and the Ministry of Industry, Trade, and New Technologies of Morocco has released recommendations related to cybersecurity that advance the ‘Maroc Numeric 2013’ program, Morocco’s digital initiative, that will strengthen Morocco’s and the region’s capacity to be leaders in the Internet age.

The conference was attended by participants from leading universities and government agencies in Morocco, Africa, Asia, Europe, and the United States.

Bearing in mind that the Internet is intended to allow and enable open and free communication in all fields, including business, education, and private communication, the conference participants emphatically declared that security of information is vital to ensure safe and free communication among all players.

After intense discussion, a number of recommendations were adopted, including the following:

Integrate cybersecurity regulations in Moroccan law to be able to immediately react to the increasing number of cyberthreats;

Synchronize Moroccan cybersecurity regulations with the appropriate international regulations in order to allow for a consistent reaction to cyberthreats at a global level;

Establish programs for continuing education and training in cybersecurity for judges and lawyers, decision-makers, and other key stakeholders;

Raise awareness of cyberthreats among the members of the Moroccan community (children, students, parents, decision-makers, etc.)

Increase communication among all stakeholders about cyberthreats and cybersecurity measures;

Encourage research and development in the field of cybersecurity by working with different governmental, organizational, and academic institutions; and

Integrate cybersecurity into academic curricula in Morocco.

The formal recommendations of the conference will be available soon at www.aui.ma.

In concluding the conference, the president of Al Akhawayn University, Dr. Driss Ouaouicha, expressed the university’s interest in starting an academic program in cybersecurity that would follow up on the conference recommendations, and in playing a major part in the process of shaping Morocco’s leadership role in the era of Internet development and cybersecurity.

Both Mr. Taieb Debbagh, Secretary General of the Moroccan Department of Post, Telecommunications, and New Technologies at the Ministry of  Industry, Trade, and New Technologies, and Mr. Abdelhafid Debbarh, Secretary General at the Ministry of National Education, Higher Education, Civil Servant Training and Scientific Research, expressed their interest in making the conference a departure point for larger cooperation among members of academia, the scientific community, and government agencies throughout the world.

Overall, the participants in the conference developed a clear roadmap about how to address cybersecurity going forward, one that will guide Maroc Numeric 2013 and other similar initiatives in the region and beyond.


Al Akhawayn Turns Fifteen

Over the January 16 weekend , Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane marked the 15th anniversary of the day it opened its doors to students, January 16, 1995.

Visiting Ifrane on this auspicious date were ambassadors to Morocco representing over 20 countries from around the world, including the United States, South Africa, Bangladesh, Brunei, Bulgaria, Cameroon, China, Congo, Croatia, Gabon, Gambia, Greece, India, Indonesia, Kuwait, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritania, Pakistan, Sudan, and Oman.

Kicking off the anniversary weekend, Al Akhawayn welcomed the new U.S. ambassador to Morocco, His Excellency Samuel L. Kaplan, on his first visit to the university since assuming his duties as President Obama’s representative to the Kingdom.  Ambassador Kaplan and his wife met privately with Al Akhawayn President Driss Ouaouicha, and were then given a presentation and tour of the university campus.

On the conclusion of his visit, Ambassador Kaplan said, “We came to visit because as the U.S. ambassador I was obliged to. I leave being overwhelmed by this remarkable institution, its architecture, its setting, its interior organization, its faculty, and its gifted president. All are amazing. It has been a great honor to be here.”

At the sumptuous dinner in the Al Akhawayn dining room on January 16, His Excellency Francois Banga Eboumi , ambassador of Gabon to Morocco and the dean of the diplomatic corps in Rabat, joined President Ouaouicha in cutting the first slice of a 15th birthday cake as the dinner guests sang “Happy Birthday” to Al Akhawayn University.

In his speech to the dinner guests, Ambassador Eboumi said, “We wish this unique university all the best in its future endeavors. It is a distinct honor for us to be here on this important day, and we look forward to building strong partnerships between our countries and your fine institution.”


Azrou Center Gets Millennium Challenge Corporation Funding

Rabat, Jan. 12, 2010 – Al Akhawayn University’s Azrou Center has received funding of 100,000 DH from the U.S.-based Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). In an agreement signed between the Moroccan Ministry of Education, the U.S. Embassy in Morocco, and the Agence de Partenariat pour le Progrès (APP), the money will be used to operate a literacy program targeting local craftsmen, who will thus be able to improve their professional and management skills as well as their quality of life.

The overall program intends to train a total of 30,000 craftsmen, allowing them at the end of their training program to receive micro-credits and a grant to start their own craft-related businesses. The Azrou Center’s initial goal is to contribute to the literacy of 100 craftsmen over a period of 18 months, and about 5,100 people are expected to benefit from the first phase of the project. A second phase will follow in October 2010, serving 10,000 craftsmen. The craft industry in Morocco employs 2,100,000 people, 30 percent of whom are illiterate.


New papers by Dr. Ahmed Driouchi

The Al Akhawayn University Institute for Economic Analysis and Prospective Studies (IEAPS) announces five new publications. One, written by Ahmed Driouchi and Nada Zouag, both of IAEPS, together with Cristina Boboc of the Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies, is entitled “Interdependencies of Health, Education and Poverty: The Case of South Mediterranean Economies”  and was published in the journal Estudios de Economía Aplicada (August 2009). Another, also by Ahmed Driouchi and Cristina Boboc, is entitled “Do Better Health and Education Enhance Economic Development?” and was published in the journal Economic Computation and Economic Cybernetics Studies and Research (2009).

Another IAEPS paper by Mohammed Abdellaoui, Olivier L’Haridon, and Ahmed Driouchi has just been published in the journal Theory and Decision, entitled “Utility Elicitation: Reconciling Tractability and Bias Minimization,” and is available online at www.springerlink.com/content/567691r8rk001475/.

In addition, the IEAPS has authored two research reports on “The Convergence of the Moroccan Economy & European Union Standards” and “Social Cohesion and Human Development in South Mediterranean Countries” within the framework of the FEMISE (Euro-Mediterranean Forum of Institutes of Economics); both are now available at the IEAPS at Al Akhawayn University.


A new article on "Africa" by Dr. Jack Kalpakian

Dr. Jack Kalpakian from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences has published a new article on "Africa" in The Ashgate Companion to US Foreign Policy:

http://www.ashgate.com/pdf/SamplePages/Ashgate_Research_Companion_to_US_Foreign_Policy_Cont.pdf

For more information check the following website: http://www.ashgate.com/default.aspx?page=639&calcTitle=1&pageSubject=299&title_id=7462&edition_id=9784


Dr. Ahmed Legrouri elected member of the Board of Governors of the Arab Water Council

Dr. Ahmed Legrouri, Dean of the School of Science and Engineering, was elected member of the Board of Governors of the Arab Water Council for the period 2010-2012. The election took place during the General Assembly of the Council, which was held in Cairo, Egypt, on December 17-18, 2009.

The Board of Governors is the supreme authority of the Council. It sets the detailed policies and makes organizational and executive decisions to facilitate the work of the Council and its working bodies.

The mission of the Arab Water Council is to promote better understanding and management of the water resources in the Arab world in a multi-disciplinary, non-political, professional and scientific manner; to disseminate knowledge, and to enhance sharing of experience and information for the rational and comprehensive water resource development of the region for the benefit of its population.

www.arabwatercouncil.org