WASHINGTON, April 25, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ (MACC) — Maine's University of New England (UNE) officially inaugurated its new UNE facility in Tangier, becoming the first US institution of higher education to open a campus in Morocco. Located on the grounds of the American School of Tangier (AST), UNE's campus offers students a chance to spend a semester or year studying in Morocco, where they will learn Arabic, Moroccan history and culture, along with their regular college coursework, and travel across the country. Students will also have the option of living with a local host family to acquire a better appreciation for Morocco's unique heritage and culture.
The satellite campus, which opened in January to 23 UNE students, is yet another sign of the deepening partnership between the US and Morocco, which goes back more than two centuries. The inauguration ceremony was attended by the new US Ambassador to Morocco, Dwight L. Bush, Sr., as well as by Maine Governor Paul LePage, UNE President Danielle Ripich, and many other Moroccan and American dignitaries.
"The establishment of this campus here in Tangiers is another symbol of the deep and historical relationship between Morocco and the US and will serve as yet another way for increased understanding and partnership between our two countries," said US Ambassador Bush, who noted that Morocco was the first nation to recognize the US in 1777. "Initiatives like this are important now more so than ever because they provide students with the opportunity to be global learners, innovators and compassionate cross-cultural partners."
Describing Morocco as "a gateway to North Africa and the European Union," Governor LePage urged the inaugural UNE Tangier class to bring their seasoned, well-rounded minds back home after concluding their studies abroad. "We need you at home!" he joked.
UNE President Ripich commended the students as "pioneers embracing their Morocco immersion," adding that "these experiences have collectively helped change and define them, and I have no doubt will also help them change the world."
While UNE is the first American university to establish its own campus in Morocco, the North African kingdom is host to several American schools, including the Rabat, Marrakech, and Casablanca American Schools and the American School of Tangier, which opened its doors in 1950.
"Morocco has its own fascinating history and culture, as a bridge between Europe and Africa, making it an ideal place for young Americans to broaden their horizons and enable them to succeed as citizens of the world," said Edward M. Gabriel, former US Ambassador to Morocco, who as co-chairman of the AST Board of Trustees was one of the signatories of the agreement with UNE enabling the new campus to be established.
The Moroccan American Cultural Center (MACC) is a not-for-profit 501 c(3) organization which works to build stronger cultural and educational ties between Morocco and the U.S. through its support of programs that enhance bilateral relations and cooperation. Created in 2003 as an initiative of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, MACC has undertaken a range of projects which include hosting events that celebrate and share the rich diversity of Moroccan culture, and supporting programs that enhance cultural and educational ties between the U.S. and Morocco as well as across the Maghreb. For more information, go to www.MoroccoOnTheMove.com.
SOURCE Moroccan American Cultural Center