Illinois Wesleyan Forges New Ties With Moroccan University
Students head to class at Al Akhawayn.
(Photo by Diego Mendez-Carbajo)
January 26, 2011
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – Illinois Wesleyan University (IWU) has announced an agreement
with Al Akhawayn University (AUI) in Ifrane, Morocco that includes a student exchange
program beginning in the 2011-2012 academic year. The Agreement of Cooperation and
Friendship was finalized during a Dec. 15 visit to AUI by IWU President Richard F.
The agreement provides a framework for collaboration between faculty, staff and students
at the two universities. It reflects a mutual commitment to student and faculty exchange
programs and joint research projects. Two students from each university can take part
in the exchange program each year. Future faculty exchanges and collaborative projects
are in the planning stages.
Wilson sees benefits beyond the classroom for those involved from the two communities.
“We believe this agreement will be of mutual value to both universities, not only
as an academic exchange, but as a strong step toward developing an understanding between
people and cultures.”
Exchange of students and faculty internationally is key to sharing Moroccan culture,
said Al Akhawayn University President Ouaouicha during a visit by Illinois Wesleyan
faculty and staff to the university in Ifrane. “We are embracing our founding mission
to enrich the higher education landscape in Morocco and to provide global opportunities
to our students, faculty, and staff alike. We are committed to embracing the American
system within the society and culture of Morocco,” he said. “We cannot do that without
interaction with key partners in the United States, without learning from each other.”
This agreement is the latest in a series of interactions between Illinois Wesleyan
and Al Akhawayn that began in 2006 when the two presidents met in Turkey at a Hollings
Center conference designed to create better understanding between universities in
Western and Islamic countries. Following the conference, the Moroccan university welcomed
two visits from Illinois Wesleyan administrators, faculty and staff who laid the foundation for collaborative projects and research. Illinois Wesleyan
also hosted two professors from Morocco in the fall of 2009, one from AUI.
“We realized all campus constituencies could benefit from discussions with our counterparts
in Morocco and bring their experiences back to Illinois Wesleyan,” said Interim Provost
Frank Boyd, who traveled to AUI in 2008.
The agreement between Illinois Wesleyan and Al Akhawayn marks the second direct student
exchange agreement for IWU, which also partners with Keio University in Japan. The
effort continues the University’s impetus toward providing more international opportunities
for students through direct exchanges and study abroad programs offered through the
Study Abroad Office. Currently, more than 50 percent of the students at Illinois Wesleyan
will study abroad during their time on campus.
Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, founded in 1993 by royal decree and inaugurated
in 1995, was created with a liberal arts approach and teaching principles based on
the American model, valuing diversity and an international outlook. The only university
of its kind in Morocco, Al Akhawayn has a residential campus in Ifrane, Morocco, 1,700
students, 131 faculty, and all classroom instruction is in English.
Illinois Wesleyan University, founded in 1850, is a highly selective liberal arts
college in Bloomington, Illinois, USA, which works to foster students’ spirit of inquiry
and deepen their world view.
Contact: Rachel Hatch, (309) 556-3960