Moroccan British Society, under the able chairmanship of Her
Highness Princess Lalla Joumala, has witnessed a genuine revival
of its activities. It has rapidly become a hands on and an effective
player in fostering Moroccan-British relations notably in the
cultural and academic fields.
In June 2004, the MBS has accomplished an agreement with
Oxford University, establishing the King Mohammed VI Fellowship
for Moroccan and Mediterranean Studies within St Antony’s
College. This agreement constitutes the building blocks for
establishing sound academic relations between our two Kingdoms,
such as the creation of a Scholarship Fund for Moroccan top
students enabling them to access the best British Universities;
and also the establishment of an academic network involving
several UK Universities and think tanks willing to conduct
joint Moroccan and Mediterranean studies in collaboration
with the newly established Fellowship at Oxford University.
Within the cultural field, the MBS, in conjunction with
the British Library and our Embassy in London, is spear-heading
the organization of a major exhibition of the sacred books
of the three monotheistic religions.
This exhibition, planned for 2006, will be a World premiere,
advocating tolerance, inter-faith dialogue and insufflating
a very much needed spirit of Ijtihad.
The MBS has thus rapidly become an NGO to reckon with as
well as a major catalyst in building up bridges between the
peoples and the cultures of the Kingdom of Morocco and the
The Moroccan British Society is young in years, but not in
ideas. When I first arrived as British Ambassador in Morocco,
two and a half years ago, it was hardly more than a gleam
in the eye. Today, it is a fully-fledged association, with
a distinguished membership in Morocco and in the UK. Its achievements
include, notably, the setting up of the King Mohammed VI Fellowship
in Moroccan and Mediterranean Studies at St. Antony’s
College, Oxford. The establishment of the MBS website marks
another big step forward.
That so much has happened so quickly is due, above all,
to the dynamism and dedication of Her Highness Lalla Joumalla.
As the Moroccan British Society President, she has worked
tirelessly to bring people together, and to turn ideas into
practical reality. She has my fullest admiration.
The MBS has come into existence to fill an important gap.
As cultures, we still know sadly little about each other.
There is much that the MBS and its members can do to bridge
that divide. The Society has, absolutely rightly in my view,
focussed on the fields of education and culture. These are
key areas, too often left on the sidelines of traditional
diplomacy. The Society is uniquely well placed to carry forward
exciting new schemes and ideas in these domains, reflecting
shared interests and values but also, importantly, looking
to the future, and to what we can do, together, to build better
I wish the MBS and this newsletter every success. It can
continue to count on my fullest support.