The University of Minnesota has worked on institutional building projects in Morocco for decades, with support from the U.S. Agency for International Development.
Research and Faculty Connections
The long-term relationship with the Kingdom of Morocco goes back to 1969, when the first of three USAID-funded projects was awarded to the University of Minnesota to train and develop a network of agricultural and veterinary sciences researchers and educators creating a Moroccan institute of higher education to meet the needs of the country. From 1968-1998, the University partnered with the Hassan II Institute for Agronomy and Veterinary Medicine, IAV Horticultural Complex in Agadir, National School of Agriculture in Meknès, and the National School of Forestry in Salé. UMN coordinated across the U.S. land-grant university system the training of 243 M.Sc. students and 127 Ph.D. students working with 28 universities.
The relationship has since expanded to strengthen priority development programs. Among these are building on the U.S. government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation investment in rural associations through a Rural Leadership training program. The government of Morocco prioritized rural tourism to meet social and economic priorities in the country. U of Minnesota Extension adapted a customer service training program in partnership with Moroccan institutions to support the initiative. In addition, Extension is supporting a trial program of soybean adaptation and analysis of chemical properties of a local flower for natural products.
University of Minnesota researchers partnered with the Hassan II Institute of Agronomy and Veterinary Medicine to research which soybean variety performed best in Morocco for forage and for crop rotation to rest the fields.
Customer Service Training for Rural Tourism Development
University of Minnesota Extension educators worked with Moroccans to adapt materials from the At Your Service customer service training curriculum. The Extension educators then trained a team to facilitate a workshop for members of the Réseau de Développement Touristique Rural in customer service practices.
Agricultural Extension and Rural Advisory Services
Through the USDA Cochran Fellowship Program, twelve Ministry of Agriculture and Maritime Fisheries officials were trained on agricultural extension, program design, monitoring and evaluation, and public-private partnerships. This initiative developed two two-week programs highlighting extension and research programs in Minnesota.
Olaf Kuhlke, professor at the University of Minnesota Duluth, works with professors of the Ecole National de Commerce et Gestion at the University of Ibn Zohr to develop a partnership in the creative economy around a cultural entrepreneurship program.
Rural Leadership Training
In 2014, the Extension Center for Community Vitality adapted leadership curriculum for executive members of rural farmers associations in Morocco. The training program consisted of a series of three workshops in collaboration with professors from the National School of Agriculture in Meknès. The rural training strengthened the leadership and strategic planning capabilities of rural farmer associations over a 12-month period. It was funded through the USAID-funded Farmer-to-Farmer program awarded to the Volunteers for Economic Growth Alliance.
In 2017, Extension educators and researchers facilitated an educational program for USDA Cochran Fellows about marketing, production strategies, and risk management in the U.S. grain and animal feed sector. The fellows met in Washington, D.C. to learn about federal oversight and industry guidelines. In Minnesota, the participants engaged with local educators and industry professionals while witnessing grain production processes. The goal was to strengthen the presence of U.S. grains in the Moroccan and Tunisian markets.
Hassan II Institute for Agronomy and Veterinary Medicine
The Hassan II Institute of Agronomy and Veterinary Medicine is a multidisciplinary polytechnic center for biological and earth sciences and technologies.
International University of Rabat
The multidisciplinary International University of Rabat was the first Moroccan university to be created in partnership with the Moroccan government.
National School of Agriculture
Founded in 1942, the National School of Agriculture is a public institution focusing on various fields of agriculture and natural resources.
National School of Forestry Engineering
This public university with departments such as agricultural engineering, forest management, and forest economics was founded in 1968.
University of Ibn Zohr
Founded in 1989, the University of Ibn Zohr has six schools and nine faculties.
UMN Partners and Related Units
UMN Units with Partnerships and Projects in Morocco
- The Department of Asian & Middle Eastern Studies on the Twin Cities campus offers courses in the study of the cultures, media, literatures, and languages from Asia and the Middle East — including Arabic.
Distinguished Leadership Award for Internationals recipients:
- Lahsen Ababouch, Morocco — Ph.D., Food Science and Nutrition (1982)
- Abdelaziz Lagnaoui, Morocco — Entomology (M.S. 1990, Ph.D. 1991)
MAST International Trainees from Morocco
MAST International is an international exchange program that combines a practical, hands-on learning experience in agriculture or horticulture with an optional academic experience at the University of Minnesota.
- Anouar Khassouani
- Mouhsin Azagrar
- Larbi Belkouch
- Fatima Fettane
- Aicam Laacouri
- Zohir Mazouzi
- Marouane Tabbouche
- Mourad Zahi
- Youssef Benhmada
- Fadoua Chababi-Kushner
- Driss El Mouden
- Driss Ennaanay
- Nabil Maamri
- Najah Boughida
- Mustapha El Ouahabi
- Anis Ait Bouftass
- Mohamed Hajji
- Youssef Azzouzi
- Rachid Ettouhami
- Khalafa Ismaili-Alaoui
- Rachid Ismaili-Alaoui
- Lhoussain Ougayour
- Hassane Sefiane
- Radouane Sefiane
- Rabie Yousfi
- Aziz Sijlmassi Idrissi
Moroccan Nationals at UMN
6 students (2019-20)*
3 visiting scholars (2019-20)*
UMN Students in Morocco
16 students (2019-20)
The Learning Abroad Center operates the Arabic Language and Culture Program in partnerships with the Arabic Language Institute in Fez.
The Carlson School of Management offers a graduate course, IBUS 6402, that includes coursework in Minnesota and Morocco, focused on sustainability and entrepreneurship. During the class portion while in Minnesota, students hear from guest lecturers from multinational companies working in this space. While in Morocco, the students meet with a number of local companies and organizations.
After a delegation visit and pilot program in January 2020 (funded with assistance from Extension), the College of Education and Human Development launched a partnership with the International University of Rabat. It is expected that study abroad programs and student exchanges will begin once travel resumes after the pandemic.
*Source ISSS Annual Report (Twin Cities only)