Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane - Spotlights


Trip to Zawiya Ahansal

The field trip with undergraduate and graduate students of North African Politics and Government taught by Dr. Katja Žvan Elliott to Zawiya Ahansal was a complete success. In this three-day trip, students had a chance to learn about the rich political and religious history of the area, about the importance of Zawiyas in rural areas, and about the successful participatory development projects carried out by the Atlas Cultural Foundation. Students participated in the tutoring program for local children, talked to the Sheikh and women of the co-op, hiked a bunch, and much more. Thank you to Cloe Medina Erickson and Ismail Barda for organizing and for being great hosts, to Dr. Doris Gray and Smita Kumar for accompanying the group, to SHSS for funding part of the trip, and to Chakib and Farid for being amazing drivers. 

Lounnas on the Tunisian Jihad

Dr. Djallil Lounnas, Assistant Professor of International Studies at AUI, recently published a paper titled "The Tunisian Jihad: Between Al Qaeda and ISIS" in the journal Middle East Policy. The paper is based on extensive interviews with various ex jihadists, NGOs, officials, and Tunisian citizens from areas where young people were recruited to join radical organizations. It examines the origins as well as the trajectory of Radicalism in Tunisia. The paper explains how radical ideas spread into Tunisia after the Arab Spring and the dynamic of rivalry ensued between armed organizations linked to AL Qaeda and ISIS as well as the phenomenon of foreign fighters. A big thank you goes to Dr. Dr. Peter Borowsky, for editing the paper.

The paper can be found here:


Oumlil's Study Translated to Arabic

Dr. Kenza Oumlil, Assistant Professor of Communication and Gender at Al Akhawayn School of Humanities and Social Sciences, recently had her study of women's representation in Moroccan television talk shows translated from English to Arabic, by Al Jazeera Centre for Studies.

For more information on the study, please visit the following link:

Therrien's Research Project Funded by the Program Ibn Khaldoun

Dr. Catherine THERRIEN, researcher and part-time faculty at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at AUI, had recently developed a research project that was selected for funding by the Program Ibn Khaldoun of support for research in the field of Humanities and Social Sciences in its 2018 edition.  For this occasion, a signing ceremony of the financing contracts was organized Monday, January 14, 2019 in which the following members have participated: Minister of National Education, Vocational Training, Higher Education and Scientific Research, the Presidents of Universities / Directors concerned and the Director of the CNRST. The event was held at the Faculty of Economic and Social Legal Sciences, Sala Al Jadida.

To read more about the program and its beneficiaries, please visit the following link:

Lounnas Publishes on Shifts in the Jihadi-Salafi Paradigms

Dr. Djallil Lounnas, Assistant Professor of International Studies at AUI, recently published a paper titled "The Shifts in the Jihadi-Salafi Paradigms: From the Peshawar and Jalalabad Paradigms to those of Idleb and Raqqa" in the Journal Terrorism and Political Violence. The paper is largely based on eight years of interviews conducted with former North African foreign fighters from Afghanistan (during the 80's and 90’s), Iraq (in 2000) and the jihad in Syria-Iraq. The paper explores the evolution of the Salafi-Jihadi paradigm, i.e. Al Qaeda ideology and the rise of the neo-Takfiri one, and the ISIS ideology and how the two compete with each other triggering violence and competition among the two organizations. 

The paper can be found here: