AJC, Mimouna Association launch Moroccan-Jewish joint fellowship program

The joint initiative, the first of its kind, aims to deepen understanding and build cooperation between Moroccan and Israeli professionals.

Morocco-Israel (Illustrative)  (photo credit: Courtesy)
Morocco-Israel (Illustrative)
(photo credit: Courtesy)

The AJC (American Jewish Committee) and the Mimouna Association is bringing together for the first time a group of young Americans, Israelis, and Moroccans in what will be known as the AJC–Mimouna Michael Sachs Emerging Leaders Fellowship.

This joint initiative, the first of its kind, aims to deepen understanding and build cooperation between Moroccan and Israeli professionals, who until a recent normalization deal, had not previously cooperated on pressing societal issues, such as technology development, national security and trade.

Morocco, the North African nation that was once home to a Jewish community that numbered over 300,000, reestablished diplomatic ties with Israel on December 10th, 2020 after decades of conflict.

The AJC’s young professionals network and the Mimouna Association – an organization of young Moroccan Muslim leaders – agreed to jointly educate and build ties among their American, Israeli, and Moroccan peers. The inaugural cohort includes eleven Moroccans, four Israelis, and seven Americans for a total of 22 fellows.

This six-month-long program will see fellows meet virtually and will focus on issues relating to cooperation and understanding between different faiths, leadership development and advocacy.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz reviews an honor guard in Rabat during his visit to Morocco last week. (credit: DEFENSE MINISTRY)Defense Minister Benny Gantz reviews an honor guard in Rabat during his visit to Morocco last week. (credit: DEFENSE MINISTRY)

Proposed topics for the discussions include: “Bridge Building and Partnership”, “2500 Years of History: An Overview of Jewish Heritage in Morocco”, “Religion and the Role of Peacemaking”, “The Holocaust in North Africa, Diplomacy and Storytelling”, and “The Future of Arab-Jewish Relations in the 21st Century”.

“The Sachs Emerging Leaders Fellowship enables young Moroccans, Israeli Jews and Arabs, and American Jews to learn together and build the cooperative relationships that will be essential to expanding the ties among their countries in the years ahead,” said Benjamin Rogers, AJC Director for Middle East and North Africa Initiatives.

The fellowship will culminate with a joint trip to Morocco and Israel in the spring of 2022.