President of HAF
Last week I had the immense pleasure of visiting the UWC Robert Bosch College (RBC) in Freiburg, Germany. RBC is replete with global diversity, with 200 students from over 100 countries. I met many thoughtful and hardworking students, and a truly dedicated faculty.
On the evening of February 26th, I gave a public talk at the college about the great opportunities that exist to achieve real sustainable development in Morocco. I spoke about how, together, we can do much more and much better in this regard, and what it could mean for the African Continent and, indeed, the Islamic world, if Morocco were to be successful in its progressive, integrated, and creative vision for the people’s growth. I was struck how the themes, embodied in Morocco’s journey, and the High Atlas Foundation’s role, in supporting partnering communities to reach their desired outcomes, resonated with the entire audience, regardless of age and background. These such moments fortified my energy, my belief in our path, and my dedication to traversing our shared human road for the collective best.
The penetrating questions I received in my meetings, for half an hour each, with four classes of students, made me think deeply about my own life’s journey and commitment to a nation and people that I was not born into, a place of which I bear no citizenship, and, yet, has somehow become the bane of my adult life. These inquisitive students had me pondering how I could convey in words my actual purpose, its worthiness, and the many considerations of doubt or even regret I face. At the end of these hours of conversation, I landed on this balance: we must say yes to giving, yes to our immediate and constant pursuit of vision and dreams, yes to our directing the most we can to those people in greatest need, and, yes to safe-guarding our own health, yes to giving ourselves to something but not forsaking our own wellbeing, and, finally, yes to achieving a life and a condition driven by a mission and humanity, and a dedication to cultivating the longest and healthiest life that we may be gifted.
A beautiful outcome of my wonderful stay at the college in Freiburg was the signing of a partnership agreement between the High Atlas Foundation and UWC Robert Bosch, formalized between myself and their outstanding headmaster, Laurence Nodder. Together, we will plant and monitor 18,000 fruit trees with farming families and schools in Morocco and welcome a group of the college’s students this summer, so that we may share the on-the-ground experience of advancing sustainable development, by and for the people.
Thank you, Robert Bosch College. Thank you, Tobi Kellner, the institution’s sustainability coordinator, for introducing and facilitating this terrific outcome. Finally, thank you, to the students of the college for helping me internalize, more truly, the goodness, meaning, and privilege we have to live a life where dreams are actually made real, albeit, over a lifetime.