By: Adil Bentahar
PhD candidate in Curriculum and Instruction, University of Wyoming, USA
My gratefulness to Morocco for making me who I am is almost indescribable. I gained full awareness of what my country has done for me after I earned a job in Morocco, as well as later on when I started graduate studies in the United States.
While not discounting the many opportunities I have been provided with by the United States, I believe it is Morocco that helped me develop essential values, such as respect, responsibility, altruism, and tolerance. For me, these values and beliefs have been the basis for my almost seamless integration and cultural transition within the United States.
My ongoing accomplishments and success as a graduate student, both inside and outside the classroom, can be attributed to previous experience gained through involvement with Moroccan non-governmental organizations (NGOs). In addition, the English learning process during secondary education and college in Morocco deserves my gratitude. I believe that the free public education in Morocco did a remarkable job in preparing me for bridging both linguistic and cultural gaps while abroad.
The Islamic education that I received in Moroccan schools encourages me to be a good Muslim. I am encouraged to set a good example through charity, cherish the family structure, and help others regardless of any religious or ethnic background. This upbringing also encourages me to continue modeling the good behavior of an effective, generous, and hardworking citizen. Hospitality, for example, is an omnipresent value in every Moroccan home. You just cannot miss it.
Finally, my present career has been, and to a large degree continues to be shaped by Morocco, which helped me realize my dream of becoming a high school teacher of English. This passion culminated in a tenured job with the government and an ongoing journey that I enjoyed for 5 years in Agadir City classrooms in the South of Morocco. In Morocco, I also learned that my teaching responsibilities as an effective role-model also meant guiding students to become well-informed and active citizens. I believed [and still do] that 15-year-old students have all the potential and ability to contribute to positive change and make a difference within their communities in the South of Morocco. For instance, three years ago, my former students created an organization for friends of citizenship. This young group has reached out to the elderly, contributed to cleaning neighborhoods as community service, and led a medical caravan to a remote village in Ouarzazate City in the South of Morocco. This is the kind of spirit and positive attitude that I hope to see nurtured in every public school and neighbordhood in Morocco. It is also the kind of youth that Morocco can count on to move into the future.
We, Moroccan youth, should not wait for what the country offers us; we should adopt an active role, besides a positive attitude. We should seize opportunities, boost our determination, and maintain hope. We should also hold Morocco in high regard and remember that Morocco, without its youth, is a desolate place. Likewise, without our country, we are simply nobody. Morocco and we [youth] complete each other, and we shall go far if we stay united.
Showing pride in my Muslim Moroccan identity, expressing gratitude, and giving back to my country are not optional in my opinion. These are a must for all Moroccans, and I am no exception, because I believe it is Morocco.