By Hannah Rickard, Intern for Multicultural Initiatives
August 6, 2015
HAF team members attend the annual Throne Day party as guests of the president of the Jewish Community of Marrakesh-Essaouira, Mr. Jacky Kadoch.
On a warm, breezy evening on Tuesday, July 28th, High Atlas Foundation (HAF) Interim Executive Director/Director of Development Jacqueline Seeley, Communications Assistant Kati Roumani, and Intern for Multicultural Initiatives Hannah Rickard strolled on down to the Théâtre Royal to join the Moroccan-Jewish community at an evening honoring and celebrating His Majesty, the King of Morocco, Mohammed VI.
Throne Day (Fête du Trône), officially July 30th, is a national holiday in Morocco, which celebrates the accession of Mohammed VI to the throne, following the death of his father, the previous King, His Majesty Hassan II. This year, Morocco celebrates sixteen years since the current king’s accession in 1999. The national holiday consists of a speech from the King as well as festivities, such as family gatherings, feasts, and fireworks. Moroccans revere His Majesty Mohammed VI for his multiple initiatives committed to democracy, decentralization, women’s rights as well as cultural and religious awareness, protection, and preservation (1).
Following a grand entrance, complete with drums and a red carpet, featuring the procession of members of the Jewish Community of Marrakesh-Essaouira including its President, Mr. Jacky Kadoch – wearing his signature summertime panama – as well as various Marrakchi government officials, the festivities began. Two official speeches were made, separated by another from Mr. Kadoch covering various topics including economic prosperity, stability, security, and social collaboration. He addressed Morocco’s firm response to and absolute abhorrence of violence and extremism, especially in view of recent terrorist activity in neighboring countries such as Tunisia and Libya. Mr. Kadoch then applauded Morocco for setting the stage for the Arab world in terms of democratic progression and political choice, as well as a burgeoning economy, particularly as the disparity between rural and urban societies improves. Finally, he spoke of the long and continuing harmonious relationship between the diverse cultural groups of Morocco, including the strong partnership between its Muslim and Jewish communities, mentioning in this context the ongoing restoration of the Mellah – the historic Christian and Jewish quarter – of Marrakesh.
Kicking off on February 9th, 2015, the “House of Life” (“Maison de Vie”) is HAF’s most recent agricultural initiative within its range of cultural diversity projects. Using land adjoining sacred sites lent by the Jewish community, with Mr. Kadoch at the forefront, the House of Life initiative is working to benefit marginalized, rural Muslim Moroccan communities by facilitating the planting and selling of various species of fruit trees. Advancing HAF’s one billion tree goal, 30,000 trees have already been planted at the Akrich nursery, and another 30,000 mature trees will be sold for profits, which will then be reinvested locally in the form of projects prioritized and managed by the communities themselves.
As an ally in cultural diversity initiatives, HAF was honored to attend this ceremony and thereby to represent a concerted effort towards further democratic and participatory progression, especially concerning education, restoration, and preservation in respect Morocco’s diverse cultural and religious groups.
In this spirit the High Atlas Foundation welcomes participation and collaboration to develop these essential goals further, for the benefit of Moroccan farming families and for the whole nation, to help enhance its rich cultural heritage in the future.
- Laskier, Michael M. “Muhammad Vi [1963–].”Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa. Ed. Philip Mattar. 2nd ed. Vol. 3. New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 2004. 1599-1602.Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 29 July 2015.
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Anthony Bald, Intern