Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane - Spotlights


MENARA Progress: Success at the Budapest Conference

On April 18, 2018, the Middle East and North Africa Regional Architecture (MENARA) held yet another conference to check on its teams’ progress.

The AUI MENARA team—composed of Vice President Messari, Dr. Djallil Lounnas, Dr. Mehdi Lahlou, Mr. Rachid Daoudi and Mr. Makhtar Rhanai—is proud to announce that their great work over the course of the past year has paid off, resulting in a successful Budapest conference.

Some of the team’s accomplishments include: submitting 4 papers, two of which are research papers, one of which is a policy brief, and another of which is a future note; conducting five fact finding missions in five MENA countries (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Senegal, and Mali), making AUI the only team to have extensively covered the North African-Sahelian Region; conducting sixty of the hundred and sixty six MENARA interviews—interviewees ranged from citizens, officials, and people from the opposition, to intellectuals, journalist, NGO representatives, and even international organizations; collecting comprehensive data that will allow the team to render more accurate comparisons; and rigorously managing financial resources.

Cast Your Votes: AUI Alumna Advances to a Research Contest’s Final Round

Idéprisen—a Norwegian scientific research contest—recently announced that Al Akhawayn SSE alumna Ijlal Loufti has advanced to the contest’s final round.

Ms. Loufti, who graduated from Al Akhawayn School of Science and Engineering, obtained a doctorate in Information Security. She gained acclaim in 2008 when—still a student in Oslo—she and two colleagues discovered three asteroids on a collision course with the Earth, a feat that merited her a research prize from the American space agency NASA’s ominously named “Killer Asteroid” project.

Idéprisen’s final round pits the young Moroccan researcher against two other finalists. However, Ms. Loufti’s project, which explores the securitization of information apparatuses with “smart cards”—chips whose basic defense programming makes use of artificial intelligence (AI) — will not be judged by the a panel of Idéprisen officials, but, in a twist, by a public vote, the results of which will which of the three contestants will take home a grant that will enable them to reify their projects.

Users around the world are encouraged to cast their votes here. The vote itself will be open until Thursday, April 26th.

Good luck Ijlal! We wish you the best.


Daesh Developments: Professor Lounnas’ Recent Presentation in Paris

On March 22nd, 2018, France’s “Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique” (Foundation for Strategic Research) held a seminar centered on the “Daesh dans la bande saharo-sahélienne” (the Daesh in the Sahel-Saharan Region). Given his expertise on the subject, the Foundation extended an invitation to Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane (AUI) School of Humanities and Social Sciences (SHSS) Professor Djallil Lounnas. The various addresses given at the conference discussed the presence of Jihadi groups in the Sahel. Similarly, Professor Lounnas’ presentation focused on “[les] relations entre les affilies d’Al Qaida au Sahel et l’État Islamique du Grand Sahara (IEGS) dans le contexte de la chute de daech au moyen orient: quelles perspectives" (the relationship between Al Qaeda affiliates in the Sahel and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in the context of the Daesh’s downfall in the Middle-East: which perspetives), exploring whether patterns of intense competition, patterns of cooperation, or a merger between Al Qaeda affiliates and the IESG will occur in the Sahel.

Djalil Lounnas Publishes a Paper for MENARA Project

Al Akhawayn School of Humanities and Social Science (SHSS) Professor Djalil Lounnas’ has recently published a paper for the EU-MENARA Project. His paper, entitled “The Transmutation of Jihadi Organizations in the Sahel and the Regional Security Architecture”, offers an analysis of the recent evolution in Jihadi organizations in the Sahel and the regional powers’ responses to them, most notably the G5 Sahel. 

From 0 to 60 in 3.5: Oussama Berrada Gouzi named new CM of Hyundai

AUI Alumnus Oussama Berrada Gouzi—SBA, Class of 2004—was recently named Country Manager of Hyundai. A business student during his time at AUI, Mr. Berrada Gouzi graduated with both a Bachelor’s and a Master’s in Finance, and went on to work at Bugshan Maroc Group in 2010. Since then, he has worked tirelessly to earn his recent promotion.