AU Youth Envoy Mission to Morocco – BenGuerir/Rabat, 5- 6 August 2019
The African Union (AU) Youth Envoy, Ms. Aya Chebbi, was in Morocco with AU Youth Advisory Council member, Mr. Nair Abakar, to engage with government agencies, youth, development partners as well as hundreds of youth at the World Merit Summit on addressing complex local social issues.
World Merit Morocco Summit at the Polytechnic University Mohammed 6 in Benguerir
The World Merit summit brought together 500 young leaders to connect, learn, share and work together to develop a strategy for significant impact framed by the Sustainable Development Goals.
The AU Youth Envoy addressed a keynote where she shared about her activism journey, and highlighted the importance of co-leadership between youth and the other generations as well the support youth have from the African Union. Read full address here.
The Youth Envoy was also part of the panel on “Addressing a complex local social issue” moderated by Neserine Aouinti (Project Manager at Afkar), along with Noor Tagouri (Journalist, Activist and Podcaster) and Jihad Bnimoussa (World Merit Summit Chair). During the discussion she stated “I believe that as young leaders we need to define the positions we step into, and not let these positions define us.”
The meeting involved a visit to School 1337, a school of Computer Science established through an OCP initiative in Ben Guerir. This is the second school of computer science in Morocco under the “42 Network”, which is an international community for digital learning and computer training. The school is completely free, open 24/7, and has no application requirements. Anyone can attend regardless of previous education or training in technology.
At this meeting, the possibility of piloting an AU innovation center in Morocco in order to serve as hubs for excellence and innovation in technology was discussed. This initiative would also serve to bring the African Union closer to youth in Morocco as well as promote the 1mBy2021 initiative & Agenda 2063.
The Youth Envoy in her AfriCanDo interview with OCP group shared her urgent call for African Youth to co-lead and collaborate in order to achieve The Africa we want!
This meeting gathered 2063 Academy youth ambassadors, Karima Rhanem (President of the International Center for Diplomacy (ICD), Meryem Agadi (Head of cooperation & partnerships at the International Center for Diplomacy), Hatim El Otmani (President of Atlas For Development), along with Mr.Pierre-Yves Morier (Deputy Head of Mission at the Swiss Embassy), to discuss the importance of the Agenda 2063 and how can youth be catalysts in achieving the African Agenda.
The Swiss representatives shared the ongoing projects they were involved with. Ms. Chebbi stressed the importance of expanding the Academy 2063, an initiative that promotes the African Union’s Agenda 2063, on the regional level while engaging North African youth. Another Moroccan initiative which the Youth Envoy put forward was the “Africa is my home campaign” led by ICD, as a platform for dialogue and youth engagement.
Meeting with UNECA – United Nations Economic Commission for Africa
Ms. Aya Chebbi & Nair Abakar met with representatives from UNECA including the UNECA Youth representative (Omar Ismael) UNECA Communication Officer (Houda Filali-Ansary).
The Youth Envoy discussed the need for the promotion of Moroccan civil society in Pan-African workshops through the UNECA’s network in the North African region. She also proposed a possible partnership with UNECA to lead a regional campaign to introduce the North African Youth to Agenda 2063 as well as an awareness campaign on the AFCTA.
The AU Youth Envoy also had the opportunity to experience prime Moroccan hospitality at a lunch at the hosted by Mr. Hatim El Otmani. Mrs. Assia Bensaleh Alaoui – Ambassadeur Itinérant of H.M. King Mohamed VI honoured the delegation with her presence and shared invaluable advice on achieving the Africa we want.
Engaging youth beyond conventional spaces
Atlas for Development and the Centre for International Diplomacy convened a youth roundtable with the Youth Envoy to listen and engage with a diverse group of youth led organizations, such as the International Youth Council Morocco Chapter, Policy Center for the New South, women activists, and international organisations. This meeting served to discuss matters concerning youth policies within the African Union. It was an interactive session in which youth had the opportunity to ask questions and talk about further solutions to local issues and possible collaboration between the African Union and local and national initiatives.
Ms. Aya Chebbi and Mr. Nair Abakar also met with with SDG champion Ahmed Chaouki and Hatim Aznague, president of Sustainable Youth for the SDG. At this meeting, they discussed the need to create a network of African artists that can promote pan-African vision and be part entertainment education & purposeful art. Ahmed Chaouki stressed his belief in promoting African identity through music. The meeting ended with an agreement on the possibility of creating an artistic platform to promote #1mBy2021 to mobilise Moroccan & North African youth into action.
Ahmed Chaouki has a message for African youth!
“I am inspired by the vibrance and energy of Moroccan youth geared towards transforming their country, looking for alternatives, pushing for reforms and striving to break the elitist activism circles. I remain committed to bringing the African Union closer to Moroccan and North African youth and make sure our societies become youth-centred!”
-Ms. Aya Chebbi