Knowledge exchange: Morocco as an intermediary between Africa and the Netherlands

Strengthening the cooperation between Moroccan, other African, and Dutch institutions for higher education. This was the focus of a two-day seminar at NIMAR (Netherlands Institute Morocco) in Rabat on 6 and 7 July, during which scholars of the African Studies Centre Leiden and the Faculty of Humanities of Leiden University interacted with colleagues from NIMAR, Université de Mohammed V de Rabat, Université Mohammed VI Polytechnic, Ecole Agriculture Meknès, Université Hassan II Casablanca and other knowledge institutes, together with partners from the Department of Agriculture of the Embassy of the Netherlands in Morocco.

On the first day, introductions were given on Inclusive Development (Marleen Dekker, Director ASCL), education in Africa and its global linkages (Mayke Kaag, ASCL), migration (Badiha Nahass, Université de Mohammed V de Rabat), trans-Saharan historical connections and slavery (Ali Al Tuma, SciencesPo) and trans-Saharan contemporary political connections (Rahmane Idrissa, ASCL). NIMAR Director Léon Buskens, Marleen Dekker and Mayke Kaag moderated a plenary discussion on the envisaged collaborations between the diverse educational institutions. In order to further this agenda, there will be a meeting in Leiden in Autumn 2022 on ‘Morocco in Africa, Africa in Morocco’, and a Europaeum workshop and summer school in Rabat in spring 2023 on ‘The Maghrib between Europe and Africa’. The latter will focus on networks connecting different regions of Africa with Europe, Asia and the Americas, and will pay attention to views on the Maghrib and Europe from Africa. A future fieldschool for MA and doctoral students focusing either on port cities, their heritage and future, or on the local management of natural resources and the SDGs, was also discussed.

The second day was entirely dedicated to agriculture and sustainable food production. It was set up as a farewell symposium for Niek Schelling, who will retire from his position as agricultural councilor at the Embassy of the Netherlands in Rabat and Senegal. Contributions were given among others by Coen Hubers (TU Delft) about collaboration in horticultural education.

All participants look forward to a fruitful continuation of the cooperation discussions!

Photo credits: Rachid Chounounou
Top photo: A word of welcome by NIMAR Director Léon Buskens
Lower photo: Presentation by Fouad Rachidi, Ecole Agriculture Meknès