Saturday, 30 September 2023 00:28

Meeting: the Image of Morocco on the American continent

Sunday, 09 February 2020

The "Image of Morocco on the American continent: influence, representations and analyzes" is the theme of the round table held on Saturday February 8, 2020. The meeting gathered Mrs Amal Oummih (USA), lawyer at the New York bar and former diplomat, Messrs Monsef Derraji (Canada), MP for Quebec, Marouane El Mahibba (Spain), Big Data and Data Mining expert, , Issam Lotfi (Morocco), a researcher at the Royal Institute for Strategic Studies (IRES) and Mohamed-Ali Adraoui (England), doctor of Sciences Po Paris and researcher in international relations. The round table was moderated by Mrs Najat Azmy, member of the CCME.

Mr. Issam Lotfi presented a case study carried out by the IRES in partnership with the "reputation institute". The goal of the study was to try to find out how important "communicating" is important for a country's reputation and its image.

The study says that Canada and Mexico have the most favorable image of the Kingdom in comparison with other countries like Chile where it is the least favorable..
The study also draws attention to the fact that Moroccans' perceptions of their own country are better from inside Morocco than outside Morocco.

Mrs Amal Oummih, for her part focused on the image of Moroccans living in the United States. She said :"The Moroccan Migration to the United States reached its peak during the 90’s mainly thanks to the lottery and family reunification. They are now estimated at 300,000. Most of them live in three states: New York, Florida and Massachusetts, and nearly 70% of those who immigrated in the 90’s are already American nationals. This fact, shows why they are active, knowing that many of them have a high level of education with incomes often higher than the average level of the American citizen”.

In his intervention, Mr Marouane El Mahibba spoke about the subjects on Morocco, covered by the Latin American media. He explains that "the Arab Spring" receive a significant interest of the Latin American press for the Arab and Moslim countries from 2011" and that between 2000 and 2013, the interest of the press depended on political events such as the political crisis in Morocco with Spain, the attacks, terrorism and the Arab-Israeli conflict.
However, he said he felt a positive change in 2011 saw in the image of Morocco abroad thanks to the political reforms undertaken, in particular the new Constitution.

Mr Monsef Derraji, Canadian MP of Moroccan origin, said "the Moroccan community living in Canada is very involved in Canadian society: a young population, 40% are between 25 and 44 years old, 51% men and 49% women. He added it’s a fairly recent immigration, because two-thirds of this population is part of the first generation". He specified that the Sephardic Jews were the first to immigrate to Canada, especially in states like Quebec and Toronto.
He then concluded: "the image is a construction influenced by several factors, in this case by the media where Moroccans are very strong reprepresented, especially on radio and television. There is a Moroccan in almost all political levels in Canada, at the local and federal level". This involvement concerns also the economic sector. He gave the example of Quebec which is “today one of the most important exporters of couscous in the USA”.

Mr Mohamed-Ali Adraoui a professional in international relations, began his intervention by saying that "according to their power, all countries try to sell an image abroad". He gives the example of the United States which makes the promotion of democracy in the Arab world an essential element of its image and its foreign policy, Saudi Arabia which makes of Islam an important aspect of its identity or Tunisia, which gives the image of a test country of democracy having managed to overcome the consequences of the revolution.
Morocco, builds it's image around the promotion of a modern and tolerant Islam that lives in peace with minorities and womens-rights. A country combining the principles of political modernity and the Arab-Muslim heritage.

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