Morocco: Migration and Transnational Identity
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Please note that in order to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, program excursions may occasionally vary.
Migration and Transnational Identities: Perspectives from the Netherlands and Morocco
The largest excursion on the program allows students to trace the path of Moroccans emigrating from northeast Morocco to the Netherlands. In this across-borders excursion, students are able to examine the complex impact of migration on both the sending and host countries.
The vast majority of Moroccan immigrants in the Netherlands (around 75%) are from the northeast of Morocco. Consequently, the program travels to Al Hoceima and Beni Boufrah in Morocco’s northeast to enable students to situate migration in its cultural, historic, and economic contexts.
The Rif Mountain Village Beni Boufrah
In Beni Boufrah, students experience rural life in the Rif Mountains. Students visit a cooperative of women and meet with local youth. They also learn about and witness firsthand local development projects put in place in order to curb migration to Europe.
The City of Al Hoceima
In the city of Al Hoceima students meet with activists involved in issues of migration, gender, memory and history of the region, and local development. Students also learn about identity-based movements with political and cultural claims that distinguish this region from the rest of the country.
Students also learn about and visit nongovernmental organizations working in collaboration with Moroccan government and international aid agencies such as the Spanish organization MPDL (Movemiento por la Paz) on opening the Rif region and improving people’s conditions. These NGOs are providing vocational skills trainings and experience. The Moroccan National Initiative for Human Development (Initiative National pour le Développement Humain NDH) has a base in Al Hoceima and in the national park west of Al Hoceima.
Other NGOs the program may visit include:
- RODPAL is a network consisting of around 15 associations focused on the development of the national park of Al Hoceima, particularly in the areas of artisanal fishery, environmental education, rural tourism, and gender.
- BADES (Association Bades d’Animation Sociale et Economique) provides counseling and coaching services for return migrants from the Netherlands and acts as a mediator between former migrants and Dutch state institutions and governmental administration.
- Dhakirat er-Rif (Rif Memory) works to reconstruct and rewrite the recent history of the Rif beyond ideological and political biases, believing that injustices and human rights abuses in the past should be recognized and apologized for by the Moroccan government and that Abdelkrim el-Khattabi (1883–1963) should be recognized as an important leader of the Rif.
- Thaynith focuses on the preservation of the Amazigh culture and language by means of several projects, amongst them courses in Tarift, the language of the Riffians.
During the program’s excursion to Amsterdam, students consider the growing presence of Moroccans in Europe, particularly in the Netherlands. Students typically have the chance to:
- have discussions with Moroccans living in the Netherlands,
- engage with Dutch politicians and learn about the rise of anti-immigration politics,
- examine Dutch patterns of integration, and
- hear lectures on the history of Moroccan migration to the Netherlands.
Students are also immersed in many of the central debates surrounding the growing Muslim presence in Europe, including the varied reactions of Dutch politics and the rise of anti-immigrant/anti-Muslim parties, “success stories” of Muslim migrants and issues surrounding “integration,” and ideological constructions of Muslim identity.
The program may also spend some time in Leiden and The Hague. During the eight-day excursion, students stay in guest houses and hotels.
Village Stay in Fqih Ben Saleh
The program’s second excursion is a village stay in Fqih Ben Saleh, where students explore the many different causes of migration while considering its impact on the cultures and societies of several rural areas within Morocco.
Fqih Ben Saleh is a small town in Beni Mellal Province in the Tadla-Azilal plains, whose recent socioeconomic growth has been largely determined by remittances from Moroccan emigrants. Students meet with the staff and volunteers of local migrant associations and discuss the dynamic relationship between development and migration. Students also meet with local youth to compare their perspectives on migration and disenfranchisement and their perceptions of Europe and the US.
This village stay gives students the opportunity to gain firsthand experience of the impact migration has had on a local economy and culture. They also have a chance to engage in a roundtable discussion with people from local communities on the issues of migration and development.
During the four- to five-day excursion, students live in Fqih Ben Saleh in the homes of local families. Most of the families have relatives living abroad, which allows students to experience the dynamics of migration from the perspectives of families who have remained in Morocco.
Duration: 15 weeks
Program Base: Rabat
Language Study: Arabic
Prerequisites: None; however, students with a background in French or Spanish will have opportunities for French/Spanish language practice while also learning Arabic. Read more...
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