Morocco World News
Rabat, July 31, 2012
Participants at the First Meeting on Public Diplomacy, organized by the Moroccan Association for Development and Parallel Diplomacy (AMADIP) in Rabat on July 27 and 28, at the Higher Institute of Information and Communication, stressed the need to unify visions and efforts of public diplomacy actors and have a proactive approach to diplomacy instead of a seasonal and folkloric one. Participants also called on the government to respect the principle of participative democracy and transparency in consulting with different actors of public diplomacy.
Mustafa El Khalfi, Minister of Communication and Government spokesman, called for the launch of a project to measure the image of Morocco in the world. He also stressed the need for capacity building of public diplomacy actors.
For his part, Driss El Yazami, president of the council of the Moroccan community abroad, highlighted the importance of involving the nearly 4 million members of the Moroccan community living abroad in public diplomacy efforts as they are Morocco’s Ambassadors, contributing to promote its image and interests in the world.
Karim Medrek, Director of the Directorate of Public Diplomacy and Non-State Actors of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, stated that his ministry is working to develop a strategy for activating the role of non-state actors in public diplomacy. He also expressed the ministry awareness of the need to involve all actors in building integrated public policies in order to face various challenges affecting Morocco’s foreign relations of Morocco with the rest of the world.
Soumia Benkhaldoune, advidor to the Minister in charge of Relations with Parliament and Civil Society, expressed the ministry’s willingness to coordinate with civil society actors and those concerned with public diplomacy and official bodies in order to ensure coordination and collaboration in the field of public diplomacy. Director of the Institute for Information and Communication Mr. Issi Ali Aarab, and Mr. Driss Drissi, president of Senior Employees Forum of SNRT TV and Radio have emphasized the importance of the role of media in the marketing of Morocco’s branding as a modern state and the promotion of its values and main issues through public and digital media.
Karima Rhanem, president of the Moroccan Association for Development and Parallel Diplomacy, and organizer of the event, stated that civil society, and public opinion in general, have been able to become an important equation in international affairs, making of public and parallel diplomacy one of the mechanisms to promote the country’s social, economic, cultural and political causes and values. This has also significantly contributed to enhancing communication and respect among different civilizations, and promoting peaceful interaction and cooperation among one another
“Only through a strong partnership between official and public and parallel diplomacy – whether parliamentarian, economic, cultural, political and through civil society and media – we can effectively well position Morocco in the map of international politics,” said Karima Rhanem, AMADIP president. She also stressed that the management of foreign policy has become a key national issue, which requires a deep and frank national debate more specifically on the process of decision making, channels of communications, and the factors influencing official and non state actors in public diplomacy.
The meeting had touched on the problem of consensus on the key strategic directions of Moroccan diplomacy, the issue of coordination and complementarily between actors and their inclusion in the development of general public diplomacy strategies to avoid the risk of incoherence and contradiction of the general objectives of Moroccan diplomacy. The meeting also stressed the importance of capacity building to support the effectiveness of key public diplomacy actors while maintaining their independence, and enabling components of civil society and Moroccans Living abroad with public diplomacy experience based on scientific approach and field work.
The issue of governance and transparency in dealing with the various public diplomacy actors was also among the important points raised by participants as key to enabling all actors and raising their awareness about the valuable contributions they can make at the service of the country’s national causes and interests
The meeting is organized in close collaboration with the Higher Institute of Information and Communication, the SNRT TV forum, the Washington Moroccan American Club, Friends of the Moroccan Sahara in Spain, and Morocco World News. It was attended by diplomats, media representatives’ civil society, parliamentarians and academia, in addition to members of the Moroccan community abroad, more specifically in the United States, Spain, France, Italy and Saudi Arabia.
The association is currently working with its partners to issue the Rabat Declaration on a new vision for public diplomacy based on the recommendations proposed during the meeting. The declaration will be announced in the coming days during the press conference.
The AMADIP, created in February 2012, aims at promoting national causes and values through a public diplomacy that strengthens friendship ties, reinforcing the values of tolerance, peace, exchange and intercultural dialogue among peoples of the world, thereby strengthening and expanding development partnerships at the national and international levels.