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PRESS RELEASE PRESERVING THE CULTURAL HERITAGE OF ESSAOUIRA: REMEMBERING THE PAST; CREATING A PEACEFUL FUTURE

 

On the event of the UNESCO International Day for Monuments and Sites, 18 April, the High Atlas Foundation would like to invite residents of Essaouira to consider the important value of our cultural heritage and the important lessons we can learn from the history of this small seaside town.

 

Thanks to the support of the US Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation, the High Atlas Foundation and its partners have initiated a preservation and maintenance program for the Muslim, Christian and Jewish cemeteries in Essaouira. These sites stand as present-day reminders of the rich multicultural heritage of this small city, and Morocco at-large, where people of different faiths and backgrounds shared a town, a life, work, a culture, language. Morocco epitomizes the natural integration of unity and diversity and through understanding the past, and by sharing it with the world for a peaceful future.

In order to perpetuate the memory and to re-kindle the spirit of this rich past, the High Atlas Foundation is partnered with local civil associations, community leaders, students and teachers and government in Essaouira for the duration of the project. The HAF philosophy is to create an inclusive process for community development that relies on the participation of all local stakeholders. For this reason, HAF has held weekly community meetings at Dar Souiri in Essaouira to advance the objectives of the project with local associations and interested parties.All are welcome at 6pm every Tuesday.

To celebrate the International Day for Monuments and Sites on 18 April the High Atlas Foundation is hosting an event entitled: “La Patrimoine comme temoin de l’unité et diversité” with young people from the Bayti and Argania Associations. The event begins at the Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdullah Museum and consists of a treasure hunt and art workshop.

In addition, HAF has assembled a set of black and white photographs of Old Mogador online on Flickr. We hope to stimulate discussion, reminiscing and inter-generational dialogue around Essaouira’s past, its cultural heritage and the legacy of religious cohabitation. Viewers of the album are welcome to comment on the photos directly online or send their information and ideas to HAF at the address on the album.

Photo album: https://www.flickr.com/photos/highatlasfoundation/sets/72157633175507227/

By making the cemeteries more inviting, encouraging more first-time visitors, and helping the younger generations remember their roots and identity of peaceful co-existence, the goal is to capture for future generations the spirit of Muslims, Christians, Jews, Europeans and Africans, and all people who have found a home in the crossroads of Morocco, sharing a pleasant, flourishing, diverse, and united life together.

Notes for Editors:

The High Atlas Foundation (HAF) is a Moroccan association and US 501(c)(3) non-profit organization committed to participatory development through local, national, and international partnerships. The HAF philosophy is to create an inclusive process for community development that relies on the participation of all local stakeholders, and especially the most marginalized groups. HAF integrates participatory methods of community planning to identify, design, and implement sustainable human development projects, in agriculture, health, education, small businesses, and women and youth empowerment. The absolute essence of HAF’s work is that the projects are identified and realized wholly by the communities who solely benefit from them.

More information about HAF: www.highatlasfoundation.org

More information about the project: https://www.highatlasfoundation.org/projects/cultural-projects

Contacts:

Lynn Sheppard
Project and Development Manager
(EN, FR, DE)
Tel: 06 49 88 0904
Zohra Lakhdar
Participatory Facilitator
(AR, FR)
Tel: 06 53 23 22 42

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