College Spotlights

Collaboratively organized across colleges and departments, the Year of Morocco College Spotlights examine important themes through programming and cultural events that are connected to course assignments and promote campus-wide global engagement.

Year of Morocco Projects:

Project Descriptions:

Experiencing Moroccan Visual Arts

The intended audience for this project is the Metro-Atlanta community, the KSU community and students enrolled in the Islamic Art and Architecture course (ARH 3150) in the spring of 2019. Its educational goals are geared toward exhibiting and learning about an under-represented culture within the professional art world. The centerpiece of this project will be an exhibit by Moroccan video artist, Mr. Hicham Berrada, whose digital works aim to create beauty out of entropy and disruption. Hosted in the spring of 2019 by KSU’s Zuckerman Museum of Art (ZMA), the exhibit will include a gallery talk by Professor Joe Thomas that will delve further into the meaning and import of these works. In order to better prepare students to appreciate the exhibit in its specific cultural context, KSU faculty, Dr. Mona Hussein and Dr. Sandra Bird will present a lecture on the “Traditional Arts of Morocco” for the Year of Morocco Fall lecture series. This lecture will feature original photography by Moroccan photographer, Touhfa Bencheqroun. Then in the spring, contemporary Maghreb Art and Culture Specialist, Dr. Sirene Abdelhedi, from Paris VIII University of France will visit KSU to share her perspectives on the “Presence and Reception of Moroccan Art in the Centre Pompidou Paris Collections” as part of the Year of Morocco conference. She will also visit specific art courses and meet with local educational partners from organizations such as the Alif Institute and the Islamic Speaker’s Bureau of Atlanta.

Multiple Literacies in Morocco

Due to the country’s multilingual context, language education policies have shifted over time generally emphasizing French or Arabic. It is only recently that Amazigh language instruction has become mandatory adding to the challenges of language learning in schools.

The Library System and Bagwell College of Education have developed a series of five events for the Year of Morocco that highlight issues of literacy and language education. This program will help the KSU community, and particularly future educators consider multiple literacies, different models and approaches to education, and global engagement. It sustains curriculum and engagement efforts on issues of global education and citizenship, as it broadens students’ worldview through global civic engagement, and allows students to engage in critical thinking on promoting literacy outside the United States, as well as help prepare participants to enter society as responsible global teachers. Lectures and hands-on workshops will be facilitated by Library and BCOE faculty and staff. The events will take advantage of the natural association between libraries and education.

This project further engages students by inviting them to submit research proposals exploring the issue of literacies in Morocco. The top research projects will be selected and presented as part of the Year of Morocco conference.

Conflict Management, Peacebuilding and Development Challenges in Morocco

The School of Conflict Management, Peacebuilding, and Development (SCMPD) considers the complex causes of social, political, and economic conflicts in an analytical and integrative manner, applying relevant knowledge and practice to address them. The events organized by the SCMPD for the Year of Morocco are tied into these themes in a variety of ways: the question of Western Sahara is a domestic, regional, and international conflict affecting all three of these dimensions; women and youth are critical factors in socio-economic development and have demonstrated strong connections to peacebuilding and conflict management in the region; and youth unemployment and the exclusion of youth, women, and ethnic minorities from decision-making require sustained and systematic efforts to address questions of poverty, development, and democratization.

Guest speakers will specifically address the above topics in their featured lectures but will also meet in small group sessions to delve further into related concerns such as: issues of colonialism, the role of land and natural resources in conflict, the role of international organizations, and power relationships in explaining pressures placed on state parties in conflict, as well as generational differences, social movements, and questions of identity, gender, and power dynamics in society. Outcomes for this project include an interdisciplinary understanding of the complex social and political conflicts in Morocco, and peacebuilding and development approaches to addressing them as well as stronger ties between KSU and local partner institutions. Graduate students enrolled in SCMPD classes will write blog posts for social media blasts about the events and/or submit papers to the Year of Morocco conference.

Moroccan Cultural Festival

French faculty as well as faculty of Moroccan and/or North African descent will create cultural modules on Morocco that will be used to teach Moroccan culture to KSU students in elementary (1001, 1002) intermediate (2001, 2002, 2003) and advanced level French classes (3302, 3200, 3303, 3304, 3305, 4402, 4434, 4499). These modules will incorporate an emphasis on the literary works of Moroccan writers. Through various course assignments and class projects, students will highlight Moroccan culture, especially its literature, architecture, art, music and cuisine. In order to demonstrate their understanding of Moroccan culture, advanced level students will write and illustrate books in French that integrate what they have learned about Morocco.

In addition, the French Club supported by faculty in the Department of Foreign Languages annually organizes a French Mocktail Party. This year the event will be held in both the fall and spring semesters and will feature cultural activities focused on Morocco. The books (and any other multimedia materials) created by students will be displayed at the Mocktail Parties. A jury consisting of faculty and members of the Moroccan community will select books that best capture Moroccan culture and winners announced at the spring event. Selected books will also be showcased at the Year of Morocco Conference. Finally, to strengthen their cultural understanding of Morocco, these students will visit local schools to share their storybooks and spread awareness about Morocco.

 The Taste of Morocco Food Bazaar

As part of the opening events of the new academic year, the Department of Culinary Sustainability and Hospitality will host a food bazaar featuring Morocco cuisine for the entire campus community to enjoy together. Recipes highlighting traditional favorite dishes and ingredients of Morocco will be distributed at the event and made available in select courses.

As food is an important part of every country's cultural traditions and daily life, "The Taste of Morocco" aims to expand students’ knowledge and appreciation of Moroccan culture through cuisine. A key element of this project, lead faculty will design an educational module focused on Moroccan food for use in classes such as World Cuisines, Principles of Nutrition, Food Science, and Foundations for Healthy Living. The module will focus on the "Food as Medicine" premise that has become a popular tool used in reducing chronic disease risk. It will help students understand the health benefits of Moroccan cuisine. The module includes the production of a video that further enhances the educational engagement of students and overall impact of the project.

Not only does this project offer the campus community a chance to experience Moroccan food culture firsthand, participants will also learn about the positive health implications of Moroccan cuisine and how their spices and traditional foods can be incorporated into a healthy diet.

Moroccan Solar Tree

The ‘Solar Tree’ project will design, build, and install a functional solar tree on the KSU Marietta campus. The solar tree is a mechanical structure mimicking a real tree with small solar modules attached to its branches to harvest solar energy. During the fall semester, students enrolled in Solar Power (EE4405) and Electrical, Mechanical Engineering Senior Project courses (EE4800, ME4201, ME4202) will form a multi-disciplinary team to design the tree. Electrical energy produced by the tree will illuminate the ‘Year of Morocco’ logo at night in the spring of 2019, showcasing KSU’s commitment to sustainability and highlighting Morocco’s major efforts at developing alternative energy sources.

Participating students will gain critical engineering design skills as well as important soft-skills in a real-life multi-disciplinary project environment with applications beyond the classroom. The project will require substantial research by the students during its design phase. These skills are highly marketable and directly applicable to the industry, as well as graduate-level research. The student team will disseminate the project results and experiences by presenting at the KSU Symposium of Student Scholars and the National Conference on Undergraduate Research in the spring of 2019. The invaluable knowledge gained through this project is transferable to a potentially wide range of applications beyond the Solar Tree and has the potential to promote future innovative student projects and real-life installations on the KSU campus, such as solar powered parking lots, streetlights, parking ticket dispensers etc. and inspiring future generations toward a clean energy society.