NIMEP Morocco: Twelve Glorious Days in Morocco By Uzair Sattar (A'21)

by heatherbarry
Mar 27

This is the last blog post from the NIMEP Morocco Trip 2019. All fifteen of us are currently reflecting on our experiences as we fly over the very same Atlantic waters that we saw hitting the shores of Casablanca a few hours ago.


The trip began twelve days ago in Rabat. As the capital of Morocco, we were fortunate enough to interview ex-Ministers in the government, officials in the Spanish embassy, journalists, professors. The four days in Rabat were action-packed for everyone in the group and set the tone for the rest of the trip.


From Rabat, the group split up into two delegations: the first going to Fes, one of the oldest cities in the world steeped in culture, tradition, and religion, and the second going to Tangier, a port city off the coast of Gibraltar where you found yourself hearing people speak Arabic, French, Spanish, and English among others.


Reed, Ezgi, Vinicius, and Esra from the Fes delegation went to Al Akhawayn University

to interview academics that work on various facets of transitional justice, Sufism, and the Amazigh identity. I visited the American Language Center for a debrief on the ancient water systems in Fes and interviewed officials from the Water Engineering Development Institute. Residents of Fes in the twelfth century enjoyed the luxury of clean, running water in their own homes long before anyone in Europe did; it was amazing to see this incredible water system first-hand in the medina.


The Tangiers delegation met with experts on migration, Moroccan history, rising artists from a youth village, officials from USAID, and the American legation. Sara, Aly, and Eran went to Ceuta, a Spanish enclave on the Moroccan mainland. They spoke with members of law enforcement about policing migrants, as well as the legitimacy of Spanish claims to the city, which is contested in eyes of some Moroccans.


After three days apart, the entire group rendezvoused in Marrakech. We were thankful to have the opportunity meet with officials from an NGO, rising directors of cultural centers, and rising artists despite it being the weekend.


The last two days were spent in Casablanca. We met with officials from the Moroccan Institute of International Relations, NGOs, and independent civil society activists. I met with Directors of "Pak Maroc Phosphate," a joint venture between the governments of Pakistan and Morocco on phosphate extraction, processing into Phosphoric acid, and then using it in field fertilizers for agriculture.


This project would not have been possible without the support and patronage of the Tufts Institute for Global Leadership, professors, and many other friends. We are extremely grateful to Heather Barry for believing in us and supporting our research throughout the preliminary processes. She continues to be a constant source of guidance, advice, and support. Thank you to the entire IGL family—Professor Williams, Heather Barry, Saida  Abdalla, Stacy Kazakova, Susan Ojukwu—who have supported our academic pursuits by making this trip a reality.


We would like to thank Professor Emilio Spadola for his support as our advisor. His insights into Morocco proved to be very helpful and informative. We would also like to thank Professors Hugh Roberts, Owen Cornwall, and once again Emilio Spadola for participating in NIMEP's weekly "Fireside Chat" series in preparation for the trip.


Special thanks to all the experts we interviewed who were extremely generous with their time. Each interview enriched our understanding of the topic and has helped us form the views we hold today.


Last but not least, I would like to thank Aly, Arjun, Atrey, Connor, Dante, Eran, Esra, Ezgi (just realized all the Turks on the trip have four letter names beginning with "E," wow!), Josh, Kai, Reed, Sarita, Taylor, and Vini. It isn't easy organizing and coordinating a fifteen-person trip, but your friendship, love, and care got us all through it. I leave you all with one of my favorite quotes from Maya Angelou: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Thank you for your making me feel loved and leaving me with fond, happy memories that I will cherish forever.