By Hassane Oudadene
By Hassane Oudadene
Morocco World News
Ouarzazate, Morocco, March 28, 2012
The venue was the Congress Palace in Ouarzazate, the date was Saturday 24 March, and the clock struck 8 a.m. The Public Affairs Section at the United States Embassy organized a full lively day for all the State Department Exchange Program Alumni of the region. Different former as well as potential participants of U.S funded program were present at the meeting and the staff devised assorted activities for the ultimate goal of creating a body -network or association- that would weave the threads of these people’s previous stories and experiences in the United States.
At 8. 30 a.m the US Embassy crew started to register, welcome and hand files of documents to the participants, who took pains to come from distant points such as Zagora and Errachidia. Around 9 :30 the majority of the participants were all set in a medium-sized conference room, after the audience introduced themselves briefly, Dominique Theys Benbrahim and Hanan Souilmi, Cultural Affairs Officers at the U.S. Embassy, Said El Moustafid, from Moroccan American friendship Foundation, and Oussama El Addouli, program coordinator and Outreach Director at MACECE, outlined the keynote theme to the audience that it would be wiser to devise a site whereby the alumni could get together for better communication and collaboration; the floor was given back to the audience to narrate and reflect on their experience in the United States.
Mme D. Benbrahim and Mme H. Souilmi, imparted very interesting information on the United State Alumni website, a professional platform through which the alumni stay in contact, share their experience, and use as a resource site. The presenters assured that the website is rich and resourceful, and one must capitalize on it. Subsequently, H. Souilmi talked about the opportunities and writing techniques for project funding, and exchange programs in a compendious presentation.
After lunch, which was also a great opportunity for new acquaintanceship between the participants, Manal Elattir, a ‘Fortune-Mentoring for Women in Business’ program alumnus took the floor for an interactive exposé on ‘Social Media : proposals and Discussion’. Manal sketched various ways and techniques of using assorted forms of social media such as facebook, twitter, youtube etc. The gist of the talk was not only to ‘share and care’ principle, but also how to attract attention to one’s page/blog for effective use and gain.
Hand in hand with the afternoon’s activities, a group of students – Access program Alumni in Ouarzazate- was the target audience in another room. The young former participants of Access Program benefited from various activities provided by Hanan Souilmi and Enrique Molina, an Indiana State University student and trainee at the U.S. Embassy on ‘ Professional Networking with Intimidating People’.
The essence of the day program took place around 4 p.m when the Embassy staff and the participants set a round table to tackle different issues of interest, such as the creation of a local association of alumni, potential projects, and youth exchange program with Access, etc. and as an interesting step towards the concretization of the general aim. A few participants voluntarily proposed themselves to prepare for a future meeting, in due time, for the purpose of founding an Alumni Regional Association.
On a coffee pause, Matthew W. Long, a Cultural Attaché at the Embassy closed this fertile day, and nice pictures of the whole group were shot.