• 24.04.2019

The importance of the choice of the host country for the Erasmus+ project "Morocco. Colors of Diversity"

The importance of the choice of the host country for the Erasmus+ project "Morocco. Colors of Diversity"


Republic of Moldova

A lot of articles were written about the role of Erasmus + programs in the world, about its efficiency for students all around the world, about how it could change the people’s view, the system of beliefs and even the whole life, how it helps to discover new cultures, to embrace the cultural differences and the crash of existing stereotypes, how it helps to become a universal Human being, looking around us and understanding the goal and place of our nature in this big and the same time small world, but in the same time conserving, protecting  and respecting  your own culture and identity….Here we could continue the list of  maximum possible benefits you could get from this program. In this article I will try to focus on the importance of the chosen host country for the project/program implementation. 

A few times ago I was blessed to participate during the Training Course “Colors of Diversity”, which was organised in Marrakesh, Morocco. Projects’ aim was to strengthen the competencies of youth workers and leaders in finding proper approaches for fostering the inclusion of young people with migration backgrounds. I found out that Marrakech was the perfect place to organise the training course with such a topic namely in this country.

The Kingdom of Morocco has a very big history on the country's dependence on foreign countries, as Spain, France, etc., that transformed the country nowadays into one of the world's leading emigration processes. The question with the Sub-Saharan African migrants, refugees also is challenging for the constitutional monarchy country. Thus, Morocco during those wonderful 8 days of the project became for us not just a host country for the organization of the event, but a study case for understanding and analysing of migration processes. We were able to observe and feel all the processes caused by migration, all the difficulties provoked by unlimited migration process and in the same time wealth and diversity of the Moroccan culture accumulated during this age-old process. 

Summarizing the different external influences on Morocco, the late King Hassan II eloquently stated that his country is a tree that has its roots in Africa, the trunk in the Arab-Muslim world and its branches in Europe. This project had a very big influence on gaining a real interest in discovering different cultures and about the art and science of Moroccan diverse population to leave a full life together, to build a common future in peace and harmony. Here I understood, what the “Colors of Diversity mean”.

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I discovered an amazing world with its own charm; diversity of Moroccan languages, clothing, the cuisine, generosity, and the culture. Once coming here you start to feel a friendly environment with a kind sun, which you could not find in such a measure in spring in my country of origin, Moldova and people with burning hearts. Air impregnated with the aroma of essential oils and spices embraces you with their magnificence.

Marrakech is a city that always seems to be on the move. There’s absolutely no point following the various street signs. Speeder drivers are moving, without noticing the traffic light as if dictating that there are more important things than to be waiting for the green traffic light.

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The Majorelle Garden is another bright memory taken by me from Marrakesch.  During his lifetime, Majorelle earned a reputation as a celebrated Orientalist painter. Though Majorelle's watercolors are largely forgotten today, the gardens remain as his creative masterpiece. The special shade of bold cobalt blue, inspired by the coloured tiles he had seen around Marrakech and in Berber burn-houses, was used extensively in the garden and its buildings and is named after him, bleu Majorelle—Majorelle Blue (Jacques Majorelle". The Painter's Keys. 18 November 2003. Archived from the original on November 22, 2008. Retrieved 13 August 2008). To notice that in the 1980s, the property was purchased by the fashion designers, Yves Saint-Laurent and Pierre Bergé who worked to restore it. Now, I could fully understand the meaning of Nicolas Sarkozy’ words about Yves Saint-Laurent, who was named by him as the first to elevate haute couture to the rank of art. In Majorelle Garden for sure, you will be impressed by interlacing in one of nature and human creation to the rank of art. Beauty from ancient times-till nowadays appears as a relationship of man with the world. In this garden, you could feel the highest point of beauty.

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The medina is a shopper's eighth wonder. Slippers, ceramics, jewelry, wooden objects of every kind, bags are very lovely to look at, haggle over and take home. Another part is to know how to haggle over is the art of negotiation. If you will refuse from the idea to negotiate with the seller you could assume the risk of injuring him/her ;).  Here I could reveal a secret of seller’s empathy, if you will say a country of your origin, the level of wealth of which is not such big you could get the maximum discount possible, or even the price for local residents, which could be in twice less-costly. Another little ruse, in our case, was our dear Arabic-speaker participant Messaoud, who kindly agreed to accompany us during this wonderful shopping journey.    

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The architecture of Marrakech’s buildings, walls are perfectly decorated with carved stones with exquisite mosaic. All the time, the mosaic was seen by me as a symbol of an intermingling of numerous cultures, ideas, economies, markets, norms of behavior and the ever more rapid coming together of peoples, despite the barriers imposed by frontiers in this marvelous land, Kingdom of Morocco. In my understanding, Morocco represents a huge culture of understanding of each other.

Another wealth of Morocco I cannot fail to mention is the generosity of local people. When we were asking to make a tee without sugar they were making two kettles (which were so beautiful alike as from the Royal Court) of tea, one was sweet as honey, and another which supposed to be without sugar was with a bit sugar because they could not imagine how it is to drink tea without sugar and they wanted so much that we enjoy the taste of this tee.

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The world of Moroccans generosity was proved especially during the game of knowing of Marrakech, during which we should change different staffs with unknown people from the streets. What was interesting we started with a portion of small food and ended with a new mobile phone cover with a very interesting quote on it “I am a life changer”. During the whole game, people from Marrakech were so open and kind to us, some of them even wanted to make a change with a quite expensive staff (silver jeweler's, watches, etc.), but  our spirit of the realism of the game was stopping them from this actions. 

These are just a few things which show that Marrakech was a best-suited place for “Colors of diversity” organization chosen by organisers. I wish to express my gratitude that they were able perfectly to combine the theme of training course and the country, which met the line of the training course.

As an epilogue I want to thank all the wonderful people I’ve met during the course. I wish to mention also that Erasmus + is more than just a program, which promotes the development of young people as highly qualified and open-minded future professionals, it is also about discovering yourself for yourself, for people around you and it is invaluable for being immersed in a new culture you started to feel yourself a part of that culture, of the mood, a part of the universe. For sure, Erasmus shapes my presence and definitely will leave its footprints in my soul.

Thus, dear student, please embrace beautiful opportunities that come your way and color your life with wonderful experiences, people, events, meetings which give you a taste of life.

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This publication is produced with the support from East Europe Foundation from financial resources offered by Sweden. The contents are the responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of East Europe Foundation or the Swedish Government.

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