Northeastern.edu, by Matt Collette (Boston, Massachusetts, June 26, 2013) — More than a dozen students immersed themselves in a culture steeped in European and African traditions while participating in a Dialogue of Civilizations program to Morocco.
Morocco may be a predominantly Muslim country, but its historic relationship with Europe—primarily France, which colonized it from 1912 until 1956—and its location in Africa make it a nation with a culture that’s far from monolithic.
“Morocco presents an opportunity for our students to see what it’s like to live in a Muslim country, and then to take it a step forward and get to know the people who live there,” said Peter Fraunholtz, a lecturer in the history department who leads an annual Dialogue of Civilizations program in Morocco.
“It’s an opportunity to find out firsthand what life is like for Moroccans and for the students to challenge their ideas of what Islam is like, how it’s practiced, and what it does and doesn’t permit,” he continued.
For the first time in program history, the dialogue began in Paris, where the students examined the connection between Morocco and France, which like countries across Europe, has experienced an influx in immigrants from Muslim countries. That population surge has led to some of the most significant social and political shifts in recent European history, Fraunholtz said.
While in France’s capital, the students visited the U.S. Embassy in Paris as well as neighborhoods populated by immigrants from Morocco and nonprofit organizations dedicated to improving the lives of France’s newcomers.