Twenty Jameel Fellows from the School of Global Affairs and Public Policy (GAPP) visited Morocco on an international study tour in July 2017.
In an effort to enrich the inter-cultural learning experience of its students, the school organized this trip, complementing the theoretical aspects of the different graduate programs with a hands-on, and real-life experience. This focused on reflecting how good governance and public administration reform are pursued in different international contexts, and especially in countries facing similar challenges to Egypt.
The GAPP Jameel Public Leadership Fellowship is a generous fully-funded study opportunity for qualified Egyptian students, who have leadership potential and interest in public service, to pursue their master’s degree at the School of GAPP.
Morocco was selected as a first choice as it went through serious public administration and good governance reforms starting 2011, and managed to realize serious positive steps in pushing decentralization forward at the local level and creating a number of organizations to ensure better governance.
The study tour was organized in coordination with the African Local Governments Academy of the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG-Africa). The tour's theme was The Main Actors and Institutions Involved in Promoting and Anchoring Peaceful and Inclusive Societies: The Experience of the Kingdom of Morocco.
The twenty Jameel Fellows who participated were all affiliated to different master’s programs at GAPP School, including: Master of Public Policy, Master of Public Administration, Master of Global Affairs, Master of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication and Master of Law in International and Comparative Law (LLM).
During the week long intensive study tour, the students got the opportunity to see firsthand the developments and challenges of public service and civil society organizations in Morocco, and to meet face-to-face with the main actors and officials directly involved in these development efforts.
Prior to traveling, Laila El Baradei, Professor of Public Administration and Faculty Advisor for the Jameel Fellowship, organized a visit to the Egyptian Ministry of Planning, Monitoring and Administrative Reform. The students had a chance to meet with Minister Hala El Said and her deputies: Nehal El Megharbel and Saleh El Sheikh. A very informative presentation and discussion ensued concerning the latest developments in public administration reform plans in Egypt, and the Egyptian Sustainable Development Strategy 2030. Backed with information about the situation in their own country, students were immersed in the visit to Morocco and well prepared to digest all aspects of local administration and good governance reform, reflect on it, and attempt to identify lessons learned that may be beneficial for the Egyptian experience.
The organizations visited in Rabat, Ifrane and Marrakech included the following:
- The United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG-Africa)
- The Moroccan Association of Mayors (AMPCC)
- The Ombudsman of Morocco (Wassit Al Mamlaka)
- The Economic, Social and Environmental Council (CESE)
- The National Council of Human Rights (CNDH)
- The Central Authority for the Prevention of Corruption (ICPC)
- The National Superior School of Administration (ENSA)
- The Ministry of Civil Service Reform
- University of Al Akhawayn of Ifrane
- The City Hall and Province of Ifrane
- The City Hall and Regional Council of Marrakech
- The House of Local Elected Officials in Marrakech (La Maison de l’Elu)
In addition to the educational purpose of the tour, students were able to visit cultural and historical places in five different cities in Morocco: Rabat, Ifrane, Casablanca, Marrakech and Assouera.
Upon their return, students delivered brief reports reflecting on their experience. Some of the interesting and non-technical reflections from students included the following:
“The visit to Morocco was inspirational on multiple levels. Professionally, almost all meetings discussed relevant topics to the field of public policy and public administration. An equally unforgettable aspect is the richness and the diversity of the background of all the participants; different perspectives were always shared. I can honestly say this will be one of, if not the most, remarkable trips I have ever had.”
“Moroccan cuisine is known for its good taste, as much as they care about the quality, they also care about the presentation. All dishes look beautiful. Some dishes have a story behind them, for example, ‘Rafisa,’ is cooked especially for women after they deliver a baby.”
“Law empowers women. That is why their women look confident.”
“My thesis topic is Spiritual and Religious Music. Morocco is the home for Sufism and religious practices. The biggest spiritual festival every year [held] in the city of Fez.”
According to Laila El Baradei, “Getting out of the classes, visiting and interacting with government and civil society, is crucial to the learning process, especially at the GAPP school. Over the years, previous study tours were organized to Singapore, Turkey, France and Lebanon, and they were all very successful and highly valued by the participants. Since last year, we have also started an initiative called ‘Know Thy Country’, taking students to see places in their own country, such as Fayoum, Qena and Luxor. The plan is to keep the momentum going for the years to come.”
The GAPP study tour attracted media attention in Morocco and the visits were covered on national television stations and newspapers.
Thanks are due to Khaled Abdel Halim who accompanied the students on the study trip, and to Amira El Biltagi, Maggie Moheb and Mohamed Kadry for their superb organizational skills.
Samples of media coverage for the study tour in Morocco:
Mamlaka Press - July 17, 2017
Hespress - July 18, 2017