We work at the grassroots level throughout the Muslim World to counter violent extremism before it takes hold, to promote tolerance and understanding, and to foster better relations with the United States.
Over the past several days, I have found myself anxiously tapping my feet under the dinner table. I’ve been frequently lost in thought. And I wake up in the mornings with a start, realizing I’m one day closer to the day that I leave to spend six weeks in Morocco! Since I originally learned of AUA earlier this year and ultimately sent in an application a few months after that, I feel as though all I’ve been doing is planning for, and talking or answering questions about my trip to Morocco. It feels like such a long time in the making that I almost believed it would never really happen! When I think now that in just a few days I will be on my flight that I scheduled what seems like so long ago, it’s startling and exciting, and a little unnerving. I think of all of the things that will be new and strange, but also enchanting and enriching. I think of all I have yet to do to be prepared to leave and all the things I need to not forget to pack! But mostly I think of how excited I am to get there and meet everyone and start working with Youth Without Borders on producing the annual cultural festival in Azrou.
The theme of this year’s festival is Moroccan art, which I love. Never having traveled to Morocco before, much of what I think I know about the country and its culture is construed in my mind’s eye as a vibrant array of images. I picture colorful cities, mosaic tile masterpieces, and elaborately artistic architecture. I have always had a fascination for all kinds of art. Over the years I’ve certainly spent plenty of my extracurricular hours devoted to rehearsals for local theater and dabbling in things like pottery, painting and photography – my latest love. For me, artistic expression has always been a significant part of cultural identity. I’ve learned this in many of my classes as an anthropology student, as well. I am intrigued to learn about and experience Moroccan culture through the vessel of art and entertainment. I hope that I can be an asset to YWB and that my perspective will be helpful in bringing the town of Azrou a successful fifth annual cultural festival.
I can’t wait to get started!