Year of Morocco Conference Brings Global Perspectives to Campus

The annual Year of Morocco Conference took place at the KSU Center on March 15 and 16, 2019 bringing nearly 100 people from organizations from across the country and around the world.

This year's conference, Gender, Identity and Youth Empowerment in Morocco, focused much of its attention on developing issues and conversations on the topics in Morocco. Conference speakers discussed a wide variety of topics over nine unique sessions engaging in educational conversation with conference attendees during the Q&A sessions.

Dean of H2U

The Year of Morocco welcomed a cohort of special guests from Kennesaw State University's partner institution, Hassaan II University in Casablanca. The cohort consisted of the Dean of the School of Letters and Humanities, Dr. Abdelkader Gonegai, along with Dr. Samira Rguibi, Dr. Taoufik Jaafari, Dr. Khalid Lahlou, Dr. Mohamed Benzidan, Dr. Abdelkader Sabil, and Dr. Said Zaidoune. Dr. Abdelkader gave the opening remarks to the conference along with the Vice Provost and Chief International Officer at Kennesaw State University, Dr. Lance Askildson. 

The key note speaker of the conference was Dr. Loubna H. Skalli who is currently teaching at the University of California Washington Center, Washington D.C. Dr. Skalli is an international scholar and practitioner with over 25 years of subject area expertise in gender, women’s movements, youth, communication, and the politics of development in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Her keynote address covered the topic Gender, Youth, Media, Globalization and Identity in Morocco.


In addition to the conference sessions, as part of a YoM College Spotlight Award, KSU French faculty consisting of Mr. Ouali Ferrani, Ms. Marni Manning, Ms. Sita Swami, and Dr. Viak-innou-Brinson presented various aspects of Moroccan culture in their classes and led their students to conduct their own research on Morocco. To demonstrate their understanding of Moroccan culture, their students wrote and illustrated children’s books in French that integrated knowledge of Moroccan culture in their stories. 90 French students participated in the project. Their books are showcased in poster session at the conference, on the online KSU Global Library, and will also be used to conduct reading hours and promote literacy in selected schools abroad.

The conference concluded with a performance by the Grammy-nominated musical collective, Innov Gnawa. Nearly 200 people attended the concert and listened as they performed their special blend of traditional Moroccan Gnawa music and Brooklyn Blues sounds. Their intrancing performance had the crowd on its feet dancing along as they watched.

Innov Gnawa

The conference demonstrated the many successes of the Year of Morocco so far, as well as the global impact of the Annual Country Study Program on KSU students, faculty and staff and the community at large.

The conference leads into the seminar abroad in Morocco that will happen over Spring Break this year. The Year of Morocco faculty learning community will take students enrolled in the Spring course to Morocco on an exciting cultural emersion. This trip will be the culmination of all things students have learned in the course so far.