National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations

Summer Opportunity for Model Arab League Advisers:

Malone Fellowship Study Visit to Morocco

June 24 - July 4, 2011

The National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations (NCUSAR), sponsor of the Model Arab League Program (MAL) for American high schools and universities, is organizing a study visit to Morocco for MAL advisers through the Joseph J. Malone Fellowship in Arab and Islamic Studies. The study visit is scheduled for June 24 - July 4, 2011, with required pre-departure orientation in Washington, DC, June 23. The delegation of MAL advisers will visit, among other places, Rabat, Fez, Erfoud, Ouarzazate, and Marrakesh, with trips to sites of cultural and historical interest, and take part in meetings at parliament, the U.S. Embassy, and the University of Mohammed V.

APPLY NOW to join the delegation! Additional information is available below and you can contact Megan Geissler at the National Council ((202) 293-6466 or if you have any questions.


Costs and Requirements

The fee for the June 2011 study visit to Morocco is $2,000.00 per person. Commercial tours of similar duration are typically more expensive and offer far less access to the diversity of Moroccan geography, life, and culture. When coupled with the privileged availability of official briefings included in the itinerary, this National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations program offers an exceptional opportunity.

The price includes double-occupancy rooms, guides, and breakfast and dinner throughout the program from the time of departure from Washington, D.C. until return to the United States.

There is no direct financial award connected to the Malone Fellows Program. Those selected as study visit participants will automatically be named "Malone Fellows in Arab and Islamic Studies." Fellows and/or their employers are responsible for the announced cost of their study visit ($2,000). That amount must be paid in full to the National Council before final acceptance into the program. Actual costs of the program are partially underwritten by the National Council and its supporters.

All participants are responsible for booking and covering the cost of their own transportation to and from Washington, D.C., as well as two nights' accommodation (June 22-23, 2011), as part of the pre-departure orientation.

All participants are required to attend a pre-departure orientation program - June 23, 2011, in Washington, D.C. The orientation provides an extraordinary, in-depth introduction to the history, geography, geology, as well as the economic, social, and political dynamics of Morocco. Leading scholars and diplomats serve as resource specialists for these sessions and provide unique insights based on their personal experiences in Morocco. Program alumni have repeatedly commented that, once on the ground, this pre-departure experience has enabled them to encounter the country and its people with a heightened sensitivity to the past and a sharpened awareness of the present.


How to Apply

A study visit application is available through the link below, can be found on the National Council website, or can be obtained by emailing Megan Geissler at

Submit completed applications to Megan Geissler at the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations:

Megan Geissler
National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations
1730 M St. NW, Suite 503
Washington, DC 20036

Phone: 202-293-6466

Grand Kasbah of Aït Benhaddou
Grand Kasbah of Aït Benhaddou

Tentative Itinerary

June 24: Washington DC - New York - Casablanca
Connect from DC National Airport to New York on Delta Airlines at 1:45 pm. Overnight flight from New York to Casablanca departing at 5:45 pm.

June 25: Casablanca - Rabat
Upon arrival at the Mohamed V Airport in Casablanca, you will meet your driver and official guide, who will take you immediately to check in at your hotel in Rabat, the Capital of Morocco. On the way, you will stop at Hassan II great Mosque for an inside visit to explore the marvels of Moorish arts and architecture. The drive to Rabat is about 45 miles through the lush farms and nurseries of all kind of flowers and exotic plants. Styled in a spaciously elegant European grid, yet slightly self-conscious of its modernity, Rabat and its twin city Sala Colonia are separated by only a river but historically are worlds apart. After lunch, your visit will start at the Kings Palace Court and the Ministry of Waqf and Islamic affairs.

After the visit to the ministry and a briefing we will proceed by exploring other monuments and museums. Each civilization that has inhabited each of the cities has left its mark, resulting in a wide variety in architectural styles including those from the Phoenician and Roman eras. Your guide will take on a historical and lively tour starting at the Jewish quarter the Mellah in the Heart of the city at Place Sidi Makhlouf, the 12 century ramparts are best seen from this and up to Bab Chellah visit the medina across by Sidi Fateh St. This will lead you to the traditional Souk Laghzel (Yarn market). Your guide will introduce you to the importance of this guild on textile role in the Moroccan society. Later you will cross to the citadel of the Oudaya Kasbah entering from its 12th century main gate to explore an extraordinary Medieval Moorish marvel overlooking the delta of Bourgreg River. You will have the opportunity to visit the Moorish old fashioned gardens and the Arab café traditional café house set between overlooking the Bouregreg River the Oudaya Museum of tribal arts and crafts. A docent will introduce to you the traditional Berber Textiles. You will continue your quest exiting the Oudaya Kasbah and up the hill to visit the Hassan Tower and sample of the real Moroccan architecture in its best at Mohamed the V Mausoleum. From here we will drive through the boulevards and Gardens of Rabat visiting the Saint Pierre Cathedral, the Sounna Mosque and the Royal Palace through the magnificent Ramparts and tower standing proud and glorious to reach the Necropolis of Chellah at the end. We will return to the hotel for dinner and other accommodations.

June 26: Rabat
After breakfast we will visit the parliament and meet with Mr. Aziz Lebbar, a deputy from Fez who will also give a tour and introduction to other deputies for a round table discussion. After lunch we will go to The Embassy of The United States to visit with His Excellency Ambassador Kaplan. Then we will go to Mohamed V University for a round table discussion with Dr. Ahmed Dekkak, Professor of Political science.

June 27: Rabat - Meknès - Fez
Today is the day of time travel! Going back in time, this journey will take you from you from imperial Rome to the ninth century to the ninth century A.D. Unlike the movies, this temporal voyage will take almost the entire day. (There will be, of course there will be stops along the way.) This first stop will be the ancient Roman city of Volubilis, and you will finish your day in the majestic city of Fez, founded in 9th century. Volubilis was a critical city in the imperial Roman department of Mauritania (modern day Morocco, and the Western Sahara) during the reign of Caracalla. Volubilis is impressively well preserved and the genius of Roman urbanism is still intact. The two central integral streets in every Roman castrum, the Cardo and Decumanus, are prominent. The cardo is the boulevard which runs north-south and the Decumanus, east-west. The intersection of the two is the heart of every roman city. There you will find the ruins of the ancient forum. J umping forward in time and just few minutes away is the venerated citadel of Moulay Idris, founded in the 8th century by Moulay Idris Al Akbar, grandson of the Prophet Mohamed (s.a.w.s). This citadel is considered to be both the cradle of Sufism to Moroccan society as well as the first Islamic capital for the premier Arab dynasty. The next stop is the imperial city of Meknes. Meet for a tea ceremony and a discussion with the association of women “Baiti” for the safeguard of Orphans

Finally you have reached your destination, the ninth century city of Fez. In the evening, you will get a taste of the greatest of the Imperial Cities. You will visit the sights on the outside of great walled the city which includes: the ramparts, the gates, and the Borjs (Moorish Forts). After this introductory aperitif to Fez, you will dine in your hotel. After dinner, everyone is invited to the Grand Opening of World Sacred Music Festival 17 Annual at Bab Makina (Formerly the Kings Palace Meshouar).

June 28: Fez
A scholar from Assaciation Fez Saiss will accompany our delegation for a visit introducing Fez as world heritage, the role of UNESCO, and philanthropy and preservation projects of NGOs, including Fez Saiss association. Your visit will include monuments and places such as the Library of Al Quarrawiyyine ancient university.

Undeniably fascinating, Fez stimulates the senses with its haunting yet beautiful sounds, visual splendor, and evocative smells. The most ancient of imperial capitals and the most complete medieval city of the Islamic world, Fez is reminiscent of a city suspended in time, unfazed by the constantly evolving world outsides its walls, owing nothing to the Western world, save electricity. Time spent in Fez will reveal much about the sophistication of the Moroccan artisan, providing an unparalleled learning experience to those who cross its path. Your morning will be spent visiting the Medina. Our specialized guide will take you on a historic discovery of the city of Fez starting at the Kings Palace and its Meshwar with ramparts and majestic gates in the Jewish quarter, a 15th century citadel with all its Moorish maze architecture and medieval glory. We will also visit Sephardic synagogues and mausoleums of holy Rabbis. Then we will drive to the Merinids hill to visit their necropolis, where you will enjoy the best panoramic view on the Old walled Medina, brimful with all its countless minarets to call for the prayers in a city that has responded to these calls for 12 centuries. Drive down the hills to the gate of Bab Guissa to leave your vehicle and enter a world that belongs to an ancient time. Fez has conserved its integrity to its existence and the Medina is still as it was centuries ago. Not even a bicycle is able to be used as tool of transportation. Only donkeys, mules, and horses are able to help moving all what the city produces and needs as supplies. The first guilds you will immediately encounter are the cobblers, the saddlers and black smiths interlaced by some caravansaries for tribesmen who come from the surrounding areas to trade and supply their needs. Down the hill to Juteya you will encounter all sorts of crafts but noticeably carpenters and leather workers, as one of the traditional tanneries is not far. This walk will lead you to El ashabine square with its different activities. From there we will wind our way to the Sgha square which will lead us to Attarine then souk el henna and the Mausoleum of Moulay Idris the founder of Fez. Next to it, you will visit the Nejjarine square with its famous fountain, its guild of carpentry, the museum of folk arts at the Fondouk, the tannery and on to visit the great Mosque university of Al Quarrawiyyine, passing by the market of dried fruits, the Medersa Attarine to Sbetryyine book binders the Seffarine Square where the tapping of metalworkers is still deafening passerby as it was the case for centuries. You will break for lunch then continue exploring the marvels of Fez Medina. These will highlight the Dyers souk, Foundouk Tetouani, the shrine of Sidi Ahmed Tijani and up by foundouk Lihoudi. Meet for a cocktail at the City Hall of Fez Medina with Mr. Hassan Chahbi, ex Parliament Deputy and vice chair of the Liberal Democratic Party. Optional visit is offered to the Festival concert afterward.

June 29: Fez - Azrou - Midelt - Erfoud
Our first stop of today's trip will be at Al Akhawayne University in Ifrane. Meet with Dr. Moncef Lahlou, Department of English dean.

You will spend your day discovering the rural environs of the Atlas Mountains' Berbers. Covered with evergreen pines, tall cedar trees, and poplars, and laced with flowing streams, your first view of the Middle Atlas will appear oddly un-Moroccan. Passing by Imouzzer, with a break stop at the Suisse-like town of Ifrane, you will soon come across the first real town of the Middle Atlas, Azrou, and an important market center for the region's Berber tribes, located at a major junction of mountain routes. Your driver will take a little detour in the forest of cedar to introduce you one of the oldest inhabitant of this region, the Berber apes. This may also coincide with the encounter of a nomadic family in its temporary encampment. As nomads are very hospitable people, whenever we encounter them we are all invited at least for a mint tea under their tents. At Midelt, the Middle Atlases give way to the High Atlas Mountains, whose peaks are visible through the haze, soaring to over 12,000 feet. You will stop in Midelt for lunch, enjoying the dramatic sight before you. You will then continue to Erfoud, one of the most delightful southern regions consisting of a dry, red belt of desert with a sudden drop into the lush valley of Ziz, with copious date palm groves and flowing streams. Visit the gorges of Ziz and some of the oases and natural sites before you reach the magnificent oasis of Erfoud. You will conclude your day in your camp over the dunes of Merzouga where tents are pitched and camels are saddled on your behalf to enjoy a night under the African Skies. The Rokba drummers will illuminate your night with their sensual dances and moving chants. Over the dunes tonight the association of ZIZ for Patrimoine Preservation of Malhoun will come to our camp and talk, perform the 11th century tradition of Malhoun music.

June 30: Merzouga Dunes - Erfoud - Tinghir - Ouarzazate
With its indescribable beauty, watching the sun as it rises over the spectacular Merzouga dunes is an experience that should not be missed. Afterward, you will eat breakfast with the Toaregs and continue onward to Tinghir. Only 15 kilometers from Tinghir, you will find the Todras, the highest, narrowest gorges in the region. You will travel through the Dadès valley, where in the spring, thousands of Persian roses bloom in hedgerows, filling the air with their heavenly perfume. You will also see the thousands of Kasbahs scattered along the Dadès River, majestic sandcastles with a visually appealing, timeless beauty. Stop for lunch with members of the Megoun Women Association at their destileri of Rose water.

You will explore the Dades Valley, traveling through El Kelaâ De Mgouna and Boumalne to view the inimitable natural vistas and unusual rock formations. You will then continue onward to Ouarzazate, where one large oasis intercepts the flow of water between the Dadès, the Drâa valleys, and the majestic High Atlas Mountains. You will conclude your day with dinner and other accommodations in your hotel.

July 1: Ouarzazate - Marrakesh
You will spend most of your day en route to Marrakesh, exploring the legendary Kasbah of Aït-Benhaddou, a renowned architectural marvel, and stopping in Taddart and Tizi Tishka pass, at an altitude of 11,000 feet. The pass divides the mountains into two distinct facets: the harsh, stark side acting as a shield that protects the hinterland from the harsh, dry expansion of the Sahara, and a lush side, soft and evergreen, which collects the moisture from the Gherbi winds of the Atlantic Ocean. You will arrive in Marrakech, a city of pleasure for both visitors and locals, where southern tribesmen and Berber villagers bring their goods to market and find a variety of entertainment. To tourists, the city is a feast for the imagination, full of incomparable beauty, situated before the towering mountains that provide a thrilling backdrop. After a visit to the bustling Jemaa El Fna square, you will conclude your day with dinner and other accommodations at your hotel. The Jewish Community leaders in Marrakech will meet us at the Hotel.

July 2: Marrakech
After Breakfast we will go for a meeting at the University of Cadi Ayyad organized by the Students association at Dawdiyyat Campus. You will devote the remainder of the day to the exploration of Marrakech's many historical sites, including the Menara, a magnificent pool surrounded by flowerbeds, reflecting the image of an exquisite Moorish edifice, constructed in 1866 for the dignitaries, who enjoyed glorious sunsets with the ethereal Atlas Mountains as a backdrop. The pool also functions as an innovative irrigation system that is adapted to life in the desert. Your tour will cover many impressive sites, including the Koutoubia Minaret (which is identical to la Giralda, a tower found in Sevilla, Spain), and the Saadien tombs, which demonstrate Moorish architecture at its best. The tombs consist of sixteenth-century mausoleums, which lay walled-in and undiscovered until 1917. You will then return to your hotel for the night. Meetings and official visits are of your choice. Dinner will be at la Fassia Moroccan restaurant. Here we will meet with Lady Shenna Champion of Women rights in Morocco and other NGOs.

July 3: Marrakesh - Ourika Valley
You will begin your day with an excursion to the Ourika Valley, where you will visit the traditional Berber Souks, as well as the Jewish shrines. After lunch, you will discover the workshops of the local artisans, enjoying their sophisticated, hand-made products. You will return to Marrakech for a visit to a private American school CLC (Center for Language and Culture) presided by Abdurrahman Fitzgerald and Hamza Weinman, then the Talmudic Hebreu School. Dinner Fantasia with entertainment and Horseman show will be at Chez Ali.

July 4: Casablanca - Home
In the morning, you will travel to the Mohamed V Airport for your transatlantic return flight back home.

Bab Agnaou
Bab Agnaou, Marrakech
Menara gardens pavillion
Menara gardens pavillion, Marrakech

About the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations

Founded in 1983, the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations is an American non-profit, non-governmental, educational organization dedicated to improving American knowledge and understanding of the Arab world. The Council has been granted public charity status in accordance with Section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. All contributions are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law. The National Council does not employ or retain a lobbyist.


The National Council's vision is a relationship between the United States and its Arab partners, friends, and allies that rests on as solid and enduring a foundation as possible. Such a foundation, viewed from both ends of the spectrum, is one that would be characterized by strengthened and expanded strategic, economic, political, commercial, and defense cooperation ties; increased joint ventures; a mutuality of benefit; reciprocal respect for each other's heritage and values; and overall acceptance of each other's legitimate needs, concerns, interests, and objectives.


The National Council's mission is educational. It seeks to enhance American awareness, knowledge, and understanding of the Arab countries, the Mideast, and the Islamic world. Its means for doing so encompass but are not limited to programs for leadership development, people-to-people exchanges, lectures, publications, an annual Arab-U.S. Policymakers Conference, and the participation of American students and faculty in Arab world study experiences. As a public service, the Council also serves as an information clearinghouse and participant in national, state, and local grassroots outreach to media, think tanks, and select community, civic, educational, religious, business, and professional associations. In these ways the Council helps strengthen and expand the overall Arab-U.S. relationship.

National Council on U.S.Arab Relations

1730 M St. NW, Suite 503, Washington, DC
Phone: 2022936466 | Fax: 2022937770

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