By Adam Brown
By Adam Brown
Rabat – Moroccan students and university professors gather for discussion on the U.S. election and the effects that potential outcomes may have on Morocco
Students and faculty professors from Moroccan universities gathered with experts and political analysts at the Tour Hassan Hotel to discuss the U.S. Presidential elections on Friday. Topics included the recent debates and how each candidate’s policies could possibly affect Morocco. The discussion took the form of an open debate where general questions were posed to a panel of experts. Students and other participants were then given the opportunity to voice their thoughts on the expert opinions expressed or to ask further, targeted questions.
The conference was organized by Radio Plus in collaboration with Al Akhawayn Alumni Association, The Forum of Moroccan Youth for the Third Millennium. The panel of experts consisted of Dr. Nizar Messari from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Al Akhawayn University, Dr Sammy Badran from Kansas University, and Mrs. Meriem Bacha from the American University of leadership.
The evening’s discussions focused primarily on the relationship between Morocco and the United States and which presidential candidate would further relationships between the two countries best. The opinions of several audience members seemed to reinforce the idea that Secretary Clinton would likely maintain the status quo, owing to her experience as part of the establishment as well as her lengthy political career. At one point in the evening, a student postulated that a Clinton presidency could open the door for, “… More trade agreements.”
Participants and panel members alike seemed to agree that this election’s debates had been allowed to stray too far from the issues and had, instead, become bogged down in mutual character assassination. Meriem Bacha stated that they were, “… Too personal” and “… Pictured the other opponent as a monster.” Audience members were quick to agree, citing consistent references to “Old Stories,” such as the Clinton email scandal and Trump’s derogatory and flagrant comments towards minority groups and women.
Inevitably the evening’s discussion turned to the anxiety surrounding Trump’s stance on immigration and his inflammatory statements about Muslims. Audience members highlighted “Hate from conservatives.”
Many attendees expressed feeling genuine fear because of this rhetoric, including the panelist member Dr. Sammy Badren, who voiced his personal concerns about returning to America after the election. Dr. Nizar Messari eased these concerns by reminding the audience of the role that Congress plays in providing critical checks and balances in the American democratic system, stating “… How significantly things will change will depend on Congress.”
Hailed afterward as a success, the event proved to be an excellent opportunity for students and other members of the community to engage in an educated discussion about American policy and the U.S. electoral process. This event will be followed by another forum concerning the first 100 days of the next U.S. presidential term.