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The High Atlas Foundation: A Living Instance of Multiculturalism for Sustainable Development

Ha F8
byDr. Afaf Hamzaoui
onJanuary 26, 2023

Faculty of Letters and Human Sciences
Ibn Zohr University

On the 9th of December, 2022, I visited the High Atlas Foundation (HAF). It was my first visit to the Foundation. I have never forgotten that day.

Before I went to the Foundation, I was all the time thinking about the building, the people who are working there. All the time I wondered about it even though I had some information through the HAF’s website. But I had a strong feeling that I had to pay a visit to HAF because of its noble and human objectives realised by the staff and president, Dr. Yossef Ben-Meir, based on sustainable development in Morocco. Its work rests upon the participatory approach, which sees local people participate in their communities’ needed development projects.

I have first known about HAF on the 16th January, 2017, during the annual celebration of tree planting that took place at a high school where I was working at the time. That was the first time I met Dr. Yossef Ben-Meir, and though we have kept in touch, I have never visited the Foundation because of my work. I followed all the High Atlas Foundation’s activities because I believe in HAF’s sustainable development objectives and projects. For all these reasons, I have been curious to visit the Foundation and I finally did last December.

I phoned Dr. Ben-Meir to inform him about my arrival to the city and to agree about the time of my visit to the Foundation. We agreed that I would come to the Foundation at 1pm. I was first received warmly by Dr Ben-Meir. He presented every member of the Foundation to me.

My first remark is that the HAF’s building is very simple and modest in comparison to the huge work they are doing all over Morocco. The wall’s colours are simple and reflect a warm peaceful energy and the offices of the staff are modest as the people working in them. The High Atlas Foundation’s staff reflects one of its main principles supporting cultural diversity. The people working at the Foundation are all sincere and nice. They all belong to different ethnic groups and different religious backgrounds. They are Americans and Moroccans, Jewish, Christians and Muslims, speaking various languages: English, French, Amazigh and Arabic. This variety mirrors their cultural diversity, which is amazing. Belonging to different cultural and religious backgrounds for one unified noble objective that is mainly helping and sustaining communities in need of help and such projects. They all respect each other’s cultural backgrounds.

When I arrived there was a Friday prayer, and I noticed that there are some members of the staff who were preparing themselves to go for prayer. It was really noticeable to me that the staff of the High Atlas Foundation was working at ease because while the president of the Foundation was moving around presenting me to the staff I noticed an exchange of respect but still friendly relationship between Dr. Ben-Meir and everyone. There is trust among all of them because his office was all time open; he didn’t close his office. Personally, I have really appreciated the relationship between him and other members of the Foundation. They were all working together as a beehive and that is one of the main causes of HAF’s prosperity as a non-profit organisation. There is a mutual respect though the multicultural characteristics of the Foundation’s components.

Since my visit to HAF, I have a strong feeling that I should participate and help at least in one of the Foundation’s cultural and sustainable development projects. I wish to pay another visit to the Foundation in the future