By Dr. Yossef Ben-Meir
On April 9, the High Atlas Foundation and the University Sidi Mohamed ben Abdellah (USMBA) in Fes shared together a wonderfully memorable afternoon with the United States Chargé d’Affaires, David Greene, and his colleagues from the U.S. Embassy and USAID.
The purpose of our gathering was to discuss the mission and impacts of the Clinique Juridique de la Faculté de Droite (CJFD), a legal aid clinic that provides pro bono legal assistance to people of the region and is funded by the U.S.-Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI).
I will remember this day because of the enormous feeling of fulfillment that we felt together when leaders of major institutions joined to appreciate and build upon the outcomes of their dedicated work of promoting sustainable, empowering, multicultural, and service-oriented programs and society. The honor and joy in such an event is the coming together of everyone and listening to everyone – all for the purpose of enabling students’ exploration and growth of capacities as they help chart new courses with marginalized families and communities.
The President of USMBA, Pr. Radouane Mrabet, feels genuine pride in the truly helpful difference that the students of the public higher education institution that he leads is making in their region. The Dean of the FSJES Pr. Mohamed Bouzlafa, who has held for a long time the vision for a legal service for people who need and seek it, is also a vital contributor to its programming elements and a great support to students, faculty, and staff, who are all involved. The CJFD Director Pr. Said El Bakkouri and Co-Director Zinab Fassi Fihri are the advisors anyone would want to be part of the effort of maximizing the benefits of the CJFD to the university community and the Fes-Meknes region at large.
Like all great occasions, we concluded energized and determined to make better and do more, with depths of unity than when the event first began. For that and so much more, we thank the Honourable David Greene for his visit to Fes. We thank President Mrabet and Dean Bouzlafa, as well as all faculty and students of FSJES-USMBA for their giving. We thank MEPI for making truly good things possible, and with invigoration, we are reaching for even more, including this program’s replication to be of ever-increasing service to the people of Morocco.
Finally, we’d like to extend our appreciation to the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) for supporting the pilot and its commitment, giving us the first chance to prove that students are powerful catalysts for broadening empowerment.