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Mississippi State University, International University of Rabat Honored by Institute of International Education for Innovative Partnership Program

Award Signals Strength, Growth of US-Morocco Educational Ties

Washington, DC, January 26, 2017 (MACP) —The Institute of International Education (IIE) honored Mississippi State University (MSU) on Monday with an Andrew Heiskell Award for Innovation in International Education for its partnership with Morocco’s International University of Rabat (UIR). In 2015, the two universities launched a dual degree program in automotive and aerospace engineering that has since grown to include projects to improve primary and secondary school education and redesign workforce training in the automotive, aerospace, agricultural, and other sectors.

“We’re very proud to see MSU recognized with the Heiskell Award, recognizing the innovative program that we’ve developed with the Université Internationale de Rabat,” said MSU Vice President for Research and Economic Development David Shaw in a release. “We’ve made a strong commitment to globalizing our campus, and this partnership with a Moroccan institution is tangible evidence of this. We are now growing and deepening the relationship, including exploring other academic programs that might be offered and research collaborations that open up new opportunities.”

IIE’s Heiskell Awards, which will be presented at a ceremony in Miami, Florida on March 14, 2017, “showcase the most innovative and successful models for internationalizing the campus, study abroad, and international partnership programs in practice today.” IIE described the Mississippi-Morocco initiative as a “wide-ranging bi-national partnership” that “has garnered attention at the highest levels of government,” even leading the government of Morocco to invite MSU’s president, former Undersecretary of Agriculture Mark Keenum, to serve as Honorary Consul to the Kingdom of Morocco.

Educational ties between Morocco and the US have strengthened markedly in recent years with a number of American schools establishing joint programs and even campuses in Morocco. In April 2013, Georgia Tech announced plans to build a research lab at UIR; in April 2014, the University of New England inaugurated a campus in Tangier, Morocco; and in May 2015, Morocco and Northern Virginia Community College signed a memorandum of understanding to orchestrate faculty and student exchanges, joint research projects, and vocational training.

According to IIE’s latest Open Doors Report, which tracks data points like places of origin, fields of study, and host institutions on international student exchanges, Morocco has been the top destination for American students studying in North Africa and the Arab world and second only to Israel in the Middle East since the 2012/2013 academic year. Before the Arab Spring, Egypt had been a destination of choice in the region for American students.

“Morocco and the US have been friends for over two centuries, and the countries have a great deal to learn from each other,” said former US Ambassador to Morocco Edward M. Gabriel.  “The Heiskell Award is well-deserved recognition for an educational exchange partnership that underscores that friendship and provides students with tremendous opportunities to explore and build respect for each other’s cultures.”

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 Contact: Jordana Merran, 202.470.2049

The Moroccan American Center for Policy (MACP) is a non-profit organization whose principal mission is to inform opinion makers, government officials, and interested publics in the United States about political and social developments in Morocco and the role being played by the Kingdom of Morocco in broader strategic developments in North Africa, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East.

This material is distributed by the Moroccan American Center for Policy on behalf of the Government of Morocco. Additional information is available at the Department of Justice in Washington, DC.

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