Bringing Global Connections to Life in Morocco
[Editor's Note: listening to the video above while reading this post may enhance the overall experience.] Building off the momentum of the 2009 iEARN Annual Conference and Youth Summit in Ifrane, the Moroccan Education and Resource Network (MEARN), a non-profit organization founded in 1999 by Moroccan educators for the empowerment of all Moroccan children and youth, has grown to 1,500 educators and 20,000 students in 300 schools active in iEARN projects and programs.
A pioneer in K-12 online collaborative project-based learning, MEARN participated in iEARN’s CIVICS program in 2001 and the first Global Connections and Exchange program in 2002. In 2003, MEARN provided consultation to the US Advisory Group on Public Diplomacy for the Arab and Muslim World and its publication, Changing Minds Winning Peace. From 2005-2008, MEARN was a key partner of the USAID/ALEF project and provided training and support service to more than 1500 teachers in using ICTs in teaching across Morocco. From 2008-2010, the Regional English Language Office for North Africa RELO/US Embassy in Rabat awarded grants to MEARN for the purpose to implement “Access Alumni, Serving Communities” program, which aims to simultaneously build capacity in a key alumni group while serving Moroccan civil society.
In 2009, with support from Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), MEARN expanded its Students Unlimited program, which has helped youth in more than 20 cities be pro-active in their communities and develop leadership skills and civic awareness. In the words of MEARN Executive Director Mourad Benali:
By providing access to quality education, information and knowledge and for the transformation the Moroccan educational system, MEARN is preparing the youth of Morocco to effectively enter the 21st century global economy.
MEARN is also helping US youth gain valuable modern skills. Last year, in collaboration with QALAM center for Arabic studies in Rabat, MEARN began implementing the National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) in Morocco, offering short-term (6-8 week) summer and long-term (8-11 month) academic year programs in Arabic language learning for US high school students. Program Alumna Alice from Lexington High School, Massachusetts, writes:
This program has changed me so much. It has given me so much perspective about different cultures and outlooks. Without a program like NSLI-Y, I would never have the opportunity to experience anything like this. I am so grateful, and I will continue learning Arabic at home and well into college. Thank you so much. This is an amazing program. I am so proud to be a NSLI-Y alum.
iEARN-USA is privileged to be partner with MEARN for the new Global Connections 2.0 program, and we’d love your help to increase the number of U.S. and Moroccan classrooms engaged in cutting-edge collaborative project-based learning.