The researchers called for a reform of school curricula to build intercultural understanding as a rampart against the rise of extremism.
Rabat – The Center for Maghrib Studies (CMS), affiliated with Arizona State University, organized the first international conference about race, gender, and migration in Fez, between December 14-18, 2019.
The conference included several interventions from prominent researchers who explored the forum’s themes.
“Notions of race and gender have always shaped the history of immigration to and emigration from the Maghreb, and did so long before the region was known by that name,” began Chouki El Hamel, director of CMS, at the inauguration of the event.
“Despite the importance of these two interrelated factors in the ethnic and cultural history of the region, they have long been taboo in the local historical discourses, academia, and popular culture,” he outlined.
“The history of the Maghreb is a story of people in motion who were subjected to conquest, displacement, colonization, and enslavement, as well as cosmopolitanism and hybridity,” El Hamel continued. “Much of this history is document but has until now escaped rigorous scholarly attention.”
The conference spotlighted the positive impact of scientific research, intercultural dialogue, and the consolidation of cultural diversity, justice, and peace.
The event also contributed to the debate on race, gender and migration, with the aim to raise awareness about inclusion and historical injustices, Moha Ennaji, president and co-founder of the International Institute for Languages and Cultures (INLAC) in Fez, told Morocco World News.
The participants discussed several issues, including aspects of African history, issues of race, gender, migration, and ethnicity, and the importance of diversity in the fight against extremism and violence.
Topics of discussion also included the role of art and culture in the struggle against xenophobia, and the role of intellectuals and civil society in the fight against slavery, exclusion, and socio-economic inequalities.
The event highlighted the contribution of African arts and culture to the consolidation of peace, dialogue, and diversity. The discussions also advocated making cultural diversity, social inclusion, and development a lever for integration and sustainable development adds Ennaji.
In addition to academic debates and discussions, the conference included a film screening, a round table, and a keynote speech on Slavery and African Studies by Catherine Coquery-Vidrovitch, Professor Emeritus at the University of Paris-Diderot.
Around thirty intellectuals and researchers from different African countries in addition to France, Canada, and the United States took part in the event.
CMS, the event’s organizer, is a research center that focuses on the historic roles of the Maghreb region over the centuries, according to its director.
“The center’s mission, conferences, and workshops, particularly emphasize the Maghreb’s African identity by advancing our understanding of North Africa that connects with the Sahara and sub-Saharan Africa, as well as with the transAtlantic African diaspora,” El Hamel told the media during the conference.
“Moreover, the center has a pedagogical mission to promote educational innovation, research and dialogue between the US and the Maghreb region. The CMS will implement these goals and collaborations with scholars in different disciplines and institutions of learning in the US and North Africa,” he concluded.
The conference was organized by CMS in partnership with the International Institute for Languages and Cultures in Fez (INLAC), the University of Nice Sophia Antipolis, and the International Research Center on Slavery and Post-Slavery (CNRS).