UNE Tangier: 1st American University Campus in Morocco

TALIM UNE Line to dorms_2
In Morocco, I've come to learn of "soft openings," where, after years of construction or restoration, an institution – hotel, cultural center, university – just quietly opens its doors and starts business.

TALIM UNE January 10_2014_2The University of New England (UNE) softly opened its doors earlier this month on the grounds of the American School of Tangier (AST).  Instead of years of construction, it's been more like months (a bare 18 months since the agreement between the two American institutions), and the place is beautiful.

Here's what the UNE website said:

On a breezy Tangier afternoon, 23 undergraduate students made their way onto the grounds of the first American university in Morocco, which was designed by the architect Anouar Amaoui (here in the blue suit, with Anouar Majid).

As the students walked through the thick iron gate, they looked on in awe of the chalky white exteriors juxtaposed against arabesque cobalt blue balconies. Undeterred by more than 20 hours of travel and the bulkiness of luggage, students clustered around tethered palm trees to snap photos outside of their new home for the semester.

This historic project – it is the first time that an American university has built a campus in Morocco – is the brainchild of Dr. Anouar Majid, the peripatetic professor who has brought UNE to his native Tangier.  Anouar Majid is also a polymath: he teaches, blogs, and is the author of a number of books on quite a wide range of topics touching on the Maghreb and Islam.  He has even written a novel.

We've met the UNE staff on the ground, and they are an impressive bunch with whom we look forward to working on a number of projects – conferences, volunteers from among the students, film showings.

Welcome to UNE Tangier, and may their soft opening set the stage for their big splash inauguration in April.

TALIM UNE SaveDateOpening_5

Gerald Loftus – text; Anouar Majid – photos

15 thoughts on “UNE Tangier: 1st American University Campus in Morocco”

  1. I second that Audrey. Our support for Anouar’s and Ms. Ripitch’s achievement. 100 years from now it will be an enormous presence and one of the continent’s Ivy league schools the way he will work it.

  2. Felicitations Prof Majid! We had corresponded briefly last year when I was attending a theatre conference in Tangiers; I teach at Montclair State U in NJ, USA and work on Pakistan and women’s rights etc. I will be in TNG again for the theatre conference may 29- June 3 and would love to meet you and visit the campus. My email is fak0912@yahoo.com
    Do plz let me know if you will be there and if we can meet
    Best regards, Fawzia Afzal-Khan

  3. Congratulations Anouar! Wishing you every success with UNE Tangier in the future.

  4. This is a wonderful development. As early as 1950 when the American School in Tangier was first started in a rented villa off the Place de France, directed by a Mrs. Davit, wife of the then American Legation’s second secretary, and financed by American and Moroccan businessmen, an American university was always planned for sometime in the future, based on the American universities in Beirut and Cairo and to be located at Cap Malabata. The end of the international zone days and Moroccan independence intervened and the vision faded, but it is wonderful that a version of this dream of more than 40 years ago has finally come to fruition!

  5. HI Annouar
    a great honour to our generation and the benefits it will provide for the next ones.
    Teacher of English and film critic

  6. Congratulations, Anouar! The campus is beautiful, the possibilities enormous and the accomplishment breathtaking.

  7. Congratulations for a successful «soft opening» of this wonderful project in the magic city of Tangier in Morocco. As a professional of student recruitment at level university, I am quit confident that it will play its role as a committed university.
    Looking forward to join you as staff member.

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