Sunday, November 03, 2013

The People's Cultural Cafe - An Important First Step

Last week the Cultural Cafe at Dar Tazi was the venue for a meeting hosted by the Spirit of Fes Foundation - 1er Café Culturel et Citoyen organisé par la Fondation Esprit de Fès. A round table discussion was moderated by Faouzi Skali and attended by more than one hundred people
Faouzi Skali

Last week, at the headquarters of the Spirit of Fes Foundation, a simple but important event took place - the first of a series of meetings between the social and cultural activists, students and citizens of the Fez Medina.

The hour and a half, a debate was on the theme "A public debate on the cultural spaces of the Medina of Fez."

Faouzi Skali stressed the importance of harnessing the diversity of the inhabitants of the medina but, as Layla Benmoussa pointed out, it is not so easy for a lot of the medina inhabitants to get involved so the way forward is to create small projects that enhance people's quality of life.

An important point was made about discovering the synergies that exist or can be developed between organisations such as Le Soleil de Fes and Le Chanter de Jeunesse.

Fatima Zahra Senhaji "There needs to be a education if young people to get involved in organisations"

The roundtable was remarkable for its variety - participants represented a range of  inter-cultural, linguistic, and generational sectors. All had a passionate love of Fez, often, as they described it,  "uncontrollable and irrational (but the heart , as they say, has its reasons)", along with a great deal of insight about the real problems.

Phillipe Laleu, Director of the French Institute of Fez, pointed out that the French institute offers a cultural window between France and Morocco.  He said that it was important that artistic organisations convince the politicians that they are effective - not an easy task. He gave the example of the problems experienced attempting to get permission to use the Batha Museum as a venue for other uses outside of the Festival of World Sacred Music. He added that it was a failure if lobbying and that effective lobbying is important.

Phillipe Laleu, Director of the French Institute of Fez

Phillipe went on to say that organisations need more than vision, they need expertise and collaboration with other organisations

Other speakers said that new projects are important but they must have funding. Politics is life and so the grass roots getting funding will encourage others.

Other questions discussed revolved around issues like, what is this culture we are making? Is it simply for amusement or is it to change the spirit of the medina and to effect the heart? Young people want to be involved in the reanimating on of the culture, but how do you get them involved in How do you involve young people in more than simply concerts or single events?.

As Faouzi Skali observed,  the image of what is needed proceeds the reality.  The vision needs to come with a strategy and then it is a matter of getting the public to own the image

This debate was filmed for broadcast on the internet and the creation of  FesBook - a continuing in-depth virtual forum.

It is hoped to have new discussions at least once every month and there was a general consensus that if people want change it can only take place by network pooling and building citizen's initiatives.

Marouane Hajji

The evening also included a musical contribution from the extraordinary Marouane Hajji and oud player Tayyeb Ouazzani, after which the audience  continued the discussion informally over tea.

The participants were
- Layla Benmoussa : architect, development officer of the Spirit of Fes Foundation .
- Jacques Chenuil : actor and director of Theatre of the Oppressed , director of the Sun Association of Fez.
- Raja Drissi : teacher, facilitator of theatre workshops.
- Jawad Jaouani : political - science researcher , journalist, vice - president of the Youth Building Morocco Association.
- Phillipe Laleu : Director of the French Institute of Fez.
- Fatima Zahra Senhaji : student in information science and communication , member of the Sun Association of Fez.
Faouzi Skali: (Moderator of the Round Table )

For more information and to get involved contact...
Spirit of Fes Foundation
Sidi Al Khayat - BP 679-30200 FES
Tel. 05 35 74 05 35 / email . / Fondationespritdefes

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