makethislast

PC Swearing-In Speech on May 5th by Ouarzazat Governor Abdesslam Bekrat

Posted in Uncategorized by Diana on May 7, 2010

Assalamu 3alaykum. Bismillah IrraHman IrraHim

Your Excellency Mr. The Ambassador of the United States of America in Morocco

Mr. The Director of the United States Peace Corps Morocco

I am delighted and honored to be among you in the swearing-in of this new group of the US Peace Corps. This is a great day for me.

Thanks to the nature of my job, I have had the chance to meet with a lot of Peace Corps volunteers who have served in Essaouira, in Marrakech, in Fez and those who are serving now in Ouarzazate.

I know very well that your experience as volunteers is very unique. Why? Because you have come to a country that you don’t know much about. You know that Morocco is an Arab and Muslim country in northern Africa. But you don’t know other things about it. When you start serving as volunteers and interacting with the Moroccan people, you get clearer ideas about Morocco. Morocco is all what you heard. Geographically, it is in Africa. It is an Arab country, but not only Arab, a Muslim country, but not only Muslim. In other words, Morocco is a melting pot. We are part of Africa, Andalusia, Berber, Muslim, Jewish, etc. This is exactly what makes us different from other Arab countries. It is very important for me to mention that.

I also would like to highlight that the relationship between Morocco and the United States of America is old and strong. It is based on cooperation, respect and solidarity; most importantly at times when the world goes through difficult moments. Morocco has always been the friend and the strategic ally to your country. All those who served before you have experienced that. You will also touch that once you are in the field in your sites. I am not saying this just out of formality, but because it is an obvious reality since a long time ago. I welcome you to Morocco and I grasp the opportunity to thank the American government and the United States Peace Corps. The Peace Corps program in Morocco is one of the biggest programs in the world thanks to the strong and solid relations between Morocco and the United States of America.

I know that you will be living with families and communities that are different. Regardless of these differences, they all share specific values of tolerance, respect and openness to other peoples, cultures and religions. Every one of you has special room in our country, simply because this is the history, culture and nature of the Moroccan people. I am pretty sure that your experience will be rich as you will know and have a deep understanding of the Moroccan mentality and culture as they are.

I have been to your country and have had an unforgotten memory. I have been to Ohio and my program there included what is called ‘home Hospitality’. I had dinner at an American’s house who took part in the first group of Peace Corps volunteers to serve in Morocco. I was received and welcomed in a very special and exceptional manner. I was impressed to learn that the returned volunteer is still in touch with the Moroccan families, friends and people after thirty years. It is also good to know that the volunteers who have served in Morocco are in touch and communicate through a newsletter where they share their exceptional experiences.

Moroccans know the Peace Corps volunteers’ incredible ability to smoothly integrate and adapt to the Moroccan culture. As you know integration is not an easy thing in human relations. Maybe official relations are easier as we sign conventions and partnerships and respect them. While in the human relations and daily interactions, one may not be accepted even if they tend to converge towards the other. But once there is a convergence of both parts, interactants get the feeling that things go smoothly which is the case for Peace Corps volunteers serving in Morocco.

Again, it is a great honor that our country has always had very strong relations with the United States of America as a government, as a nation and as a culture. I wish you a wonderful stay and I’m looking forward to seeing some of you in the Ouarzazat province. Thank you and welcome to Morocco.

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