September 23, 2002
ISU signs first-of-its-kind
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. — In an agreement signed today in Morocco, Indiana State University and Hassan II University-Mohammedia will begin collaborating on a variety of activities including the development of joint degree programs; conferences; research projects and studies; distance education programs; and exchange programs for faculty, staff and students.
The agreement was signed by Indiana State University President Lloyd W. Benjamin III and Rahma Bourqia, president of Hassan II University-Mohammedia, in a ceremony on the Mohammedia campus. The agreement grew out of an informal relationship involving Hassan II's law school for the past few years. Last March, Abdallah El Maaroufi, then-ambassador to the United States from Morocco, visited Indiana State to meet with Benjamin about possible collaborations between Hassan II and ISU.
"This is an extremely important day for our two universities. We have an obligation to help create the cultural and educational context in which mutual understanding and cooperation can flourish. This needs to extend beyond the academic community to include non-governmental organizations and our business community," said Benjamin.
The agreement is the first of its kind between an American institution and a Moroccan university, which generally seek such agreements with European institutions.
President Benjamin and a small delegation from Indiana State University are spending a week in Morocco to begin developing the cooperative activities. While in Morocco, Benjamin will be delivering a major address to leaders from the Moroccan higher education community on the benefits of cultural and educational exchange programs.
In addition, a representative of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, Reginald Henderson, is part of the delegation. Henderson is the director of economic policy and planning for the Chamber.
Morocco was the first country to recognize the United States' independence in 1776. Currently, the United States is pursuing a comprehensive free trade agreement with Morocco.
"We believe this partnership has enormous potential - not only for our institutions, but for the state of Indiana in its economic relationship with Morocco and for our two countries," said Benjamin.
The delegation also will be meeting with the U.S. Ambassador, the president of the Moroccan Chambers of Commerce, the director of higher education within Morocco's Ministry of Higher Education and other government and higher education officials. They also will be attending a reception hosted by the U.S. Counsel General in Casablanca.