Maghribi Scholars Need Not Apply

TALIM Maghreb JPEGGeography lesson (image from

The Maghrib (or Maghreb) is the accepted term for North Africa.

The Maghrib was the birthplace of the Arab Spring (Tunisia).  Its latest blossoming of freedom was in Libya.

The Maghrib is where AIMS Maghribi Grantees come from.  Or came from.

Click on the above link, and this is what you will see:

AIMS Research Grants for North African Scholars

 Note: Due to funding, this program has been put on hold until future notice; please check this page again in the near future for updates. Thank you.

That's right.  Just when spring is breaking out all over the Maghrib, a valuable American program that has been funding dozens of North African scholars' research projects for the past ten years, is under a big funding cloud.

Actually, while the cloud is big, the amount in question is not: the program costs $25,000 annually, and allows (allowed, past tense) ten Tunisian, Algerian, Moroccan, Mauritanian, and Libyan scholars the chance to conduct research in each others' countries.

This $25 K program, of course, is not even worth a decimal point in the larger scheme of things, though the grants that it used to provide do (did) make a difference to the scholars concerned.  If you were a Libyan, newly able to travel to say, Morocco to conduct work in your field, wouldn't you appreciate a US Government-funded program that allows you to do so?

Conversely, might not an Algerian social scientist jump at the opportunity to look at post-revolutionary, post-election Tunisia?  These grants covered every imaginable subject, and we at TALIM have welcomed scholars in fields as diverse as fine arts and water resources.

Part of even larger cuts to international educational exchange, the Deparment of Education reaction to Congressional appropriations prompted a petition garnering thousands of signatures.  The cuts will threaten the work of TALIM and other American overseas research centers, and even such programs as Fulbright/Hays.

"Maghribi Scholars Need Not Apply."  Is that the message that the US intends to give to North African scholars?

Gerald Loftus

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