Saturday, November 21, 2009
Morocco's close ties with Spain
While Moroccan Arabic (Darija) is the common language of Moroccans, many speak at least one other language, usually French, Modern Standard Arabic, and perhaps a Berber language.
Judging by the success of language schools across the country, many people recognise the importance of learning or improving on their language skills, and Moroccans are very good at learning languages. There are nine American Language Centers in Morocco teaching English, and six Cervantes Centres for Spanish, as well as French Institutes in all major cities.
The Cervantes Centre in Fez not only offers lessons in Spanish, but has a large library and a wide cultural programme featuring films, plays, dance and music.
This week, Spain's Crown Prince Felipe was in Rabat to inaugurate the new facilities at the Cervantes Centre in the capital.
Prince Felipe emphasized the “enormous importance” his country places on its relations with Morocco, and he noted their common efforts in the fight against terrorism and against illegal immigration networks.
Felipe was accompanied by his wife, Princess Letizia, as well as by Prince Moulay Rachid, the brother of HRH King Mohammed VI of Morocco, and the two countries’ respective foreign ministers.
The Spanish prince emphasized the “excellent state of bilateral relations” that, in his judgment, translates into the “firm willingness to deal jointly with the challenges encountered on that road.”
“I’m referring to concrete questions of great concern, like the fight against terrorism – which relies on intense judicial and police cooperation between our two countries – or the common efforts against the tragedy of those who migrate in search of new living and work possibilities and fall into the hands of criminal networks that abuse their good faith,” the prince said.
Another of the areas of understanding between the two countries, Felipe noted, is the “dynamic” presence of Spanish companies in the neighboring country and the Moroccan community in Spain.