The University of Ottawa pays tribute to Al Quaraouiyine

The prestigious Canadian University of Ottawa paid tribute on Wednesday to Al Quaraouiyine of Fez, considered the oldest operating university in the world.

As part of this year’s celebration of the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Morocco and Canada, the Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ottawa, Jacques Frémont, and HM the King’s Ambassador to Canada, Souriya Otmani , over to , within the boundaries of the Canadian University, to install and unveil a memorial plaque in honor of Al Quaraouiyine University founded in 859 by Fatima Al Fihriya.

Ms Otmani on this occasion thanked the Rector of the University of Ottawa for “the exceptional cooperation” with the Moroccan diplomatic mission, for the 60 years of diplomatic relations and multifaceted cooperation, especially in the field of higher education.

“While the laying of the memorial plaque in honor of Al Quaraouiyine University is a highly symbolic gesture, it is nevertheless a reference today in Canada’s national capital to one of the leading figures of national and world cultural heritage, benefiting, like so many other historical buildings of Moroccan imperial cities, from the very special benevolence of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, who makes their protection and improvement a national priority,” said the diplomat.

This gesture also highlights “the excellent ties of friendship and cooperation” that Morocco and Canada have always maintained, but also the crucial role that higher education institutions and others have played in acquiring knowledge, developing and disseminating knowledge, reflection, critical thinking and individual development, research, communication and dialogue, she added.

For his part, the Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ottawa was pleased to welcome some 800 Moroccan students out of 10,000 international students at the university, stressing that this number is increasing, especially in favor of the tuition fee waiver program awarded by its university for francophone and anglophone students.

Mr. Frémont expressed his satisfaction with the many scientific partnerships and the current faculty and student mobility between the University of Ottawa and several major Moroccan universities, of which he, in passing, praised “the excellent development and the good evolution”. He also argued for a strengthening and densification of this academic collaboration, arguing that it would benefit both countries.

In front of an audience of diplomats, academics, representatives of Moroccan institutions in Canada and students of the University of Ottawa, Ms. Aziza Chaouni, professor of architecture at the University of Toronto, gave a virtual presentation in detail, illustrated by images, architecture and various features of the Al Quaraouiyine University.

Ms. Chaouni, born in Fez, knows every nook and cranny of this prestigious institution as she oversaw the renovation work on the building a few years ago.

In addition, the Ambassador of HM de Koning and the Vice Rector for International Affairs and La Francophonie of the University of Ottawa, Sani Yaya, announced the award by the two parties to one of the Moroccan Master’s students with a one-time scholarship in the amount of $10,000.
Subsequently, a reception was held for the occasion by the Embassy of the Kingdom, in a room furnished and decorated in a typical Moroccan way.

The tribute to Al Quaraouiyine University comes the day after an academic day jointly initiated by the Moroccan Embassy and the University of Ottawa, on the occasion of 60 years of bilateral cooperation, especially academic one.

According to a press release from the Moroccan Diplomatic Mission, the event, organized in virtual mode, was attended by diplomats, vice-chancellors, students, professors and experts from both Morocco and Canada.

It featured a presentation by the Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ottawa to the students of the Moroccan Diplomatic Academy on the assets of Africa, as a continent of the future, as well as on Canada-Africa relations and the mutually beneficial benefits of the triangular cooperation between Canada, Morocco and Africa.

Other interventions were made notably by the President of the Polytechnic Mohammed VI University, Hicham El Habti and the Director of the Moroccan Academy of Diplomatic Studies, Hicham Bensoltane, regarding the functions and assignments of their respective institutions and with the desire to establish and develop new academic partnerships with the University of Ottawa, benefiting Morocco and all African countries.

The debates led by several experts, Canadians and Moroccans, also focused on issues related to water management in the face of the challenges of climate change.

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