Stories Exchange Project Morocco

I. Introduction

Stories Exchange Project Morocco will apply the rich and diverse traditions of Moroccan storytelling to participants’ everyday experience, enabling them to respond actively and creatively to new opportunities for personal, social, economic, and political development.
The project will be organized by the Rabat-based non-governmental organization SEP Maroc in cooperation with the Fund for New Performance/ Video of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and in consultation with the United States Embassy Rabat and the American Chamber of Commerce in Morocco, and with two organizations established by His Majesty Mohammed VI: the National Initiative for Human Development and the Royal Institute of Berber Culture.
Advancing participants’ individual and professional growth, Stories Exchange Project Morocco will prepare them to initiate clearly focused cooperation among the diverse organizations and local communities which they represent. It will also encourage them to play active roles in efforts to increase citizen participation and prosperity in Morocco.

Participants will gain skills in communication, organization, and management which will enable them

to put their education and training to work in pursuing careers in their various fields, to initiate and            develop entrepreneurial ventures, and to help create career opportunities for others;
to develop pragmatic and sustained cooperation among civil society, government, and business organizations in Morocco;
to demonstrate that Morocco can initiate creative intellectual and cultural exchange between the Islamic world and the West, and provide a dynamic environment for global investment and business partnerships.

II. Background
Stories Exchange Project Morocco will further develop strategies initiated in Central and Eastern Europe by the Prague-based Stories Exchange Project.
This first phase of the Stories Exchange Project was initiated in 1994 by the Fund for New Performance/Video, which was established in 1990 as a not-for-profit educational foundation. FNPV uses advanced information and communications technologies to mobilize cultural resources for political, social, and economic development, and to promote international cooperation.
In the Czech project a consortium of cultural and educational institutions, governmental and non-governmental organizations, businesses, and foundations in Europe and the United States helped generate a capacity for active citizen participation by Roma (Gypsies) in nations recovering from Soviet domination.
The project involved observers from Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria as well as advisors from the United Kingdom, France, Austria, Germany, and the United States. It was underwritten by both international and national foundations including the World Bank, the U.S. Information Agency, the Cultural Ministry of the Czech Republic, the Trust for Mutual Understanding (a Rockefeller family fund), and the EDS corporation. It worked with the EastWest Institute in Prague to involve Czech and Romani participants in organizing public performances and discussions, education programs and business initiatives, and implemented a rural economic development project of the Carpathian Foundation in Hungary. In partnership with the Getty Research Institute in 1999 FNPV organized discussions by video conference of local cultural and economic development and citizen participation projects in Los Angeles and Prague.
In 2000 a grant from the Information for Development program of the World Bank enabled FNPV both to expand the work of the Stories Exchange Project in Europe and to create video, Internet, and other electronic presentations to facilitate development of the project worldwide.
FNPV has produced two video documentaries on the methods and achievements of the initial phase of the Stories Exchange Project. These will be available on a globally distributed DVD to be released in 2011.
III. Participation
The primary participants in the first three-year round of the Stories Exchange Project Morocco will be men and women in their twenties and thirties who work in educational and cultural institutions, community associations, governmental and non-governmental organizations, business firms, and the media: young Moroccans who have demonstrated a strong commitment to reconciling traditional and modern strategies of community and citizenship development.
Serving as role models and mentors to boys and girls between the ages of sixteen and eighteen, these young leaders will collaborate with their younger partners and their home organizations in planning and managing initiatives in diverse urban neighborhoods and rural communities.
IV. Initiation
The work will begin in Casablanca and Rabat and in nearby towns and villages, then gradually expand to other regions of Morocco.
Participants will be compensated for the time they devote to project activities after work or school and on weekends.
The first year of activities will begin with day-long training sessions in Rabat on alternate Saturdays. These will prepare both older and younger participants
to collect, write, and edit their own stories and those of colleagues, schoolmates, family members, neighbors, and friends: stories about changing opinions, making difficult decisions, overcoming obstacles,
learning to live and work with individuals and groups with different experience and views;

to lead public discussions of issues raised by the collected stories;

to develop and produce live presentations of the stories for audiences throughout Morocco, and audio, video, and on-line programs for global dissemination.

In the Saturday sessions, older and younger participants will work in teams, reviewing and discussing stories collected. They will edit a selection both to post on the Stories Exchange Project web page ( and to present in live events. They will also discuss strategies for gathering and presenting further material.

In the sixth month, participants will begin to take part in advanced training sessions. These will prepare teams of participants at both age levels to cooperate with their home organizations and local communities in generating ideas and development strategies for micro-projects which respond to social and economic problems illuminated by the collected stories.
Simultaneously Moroccan, European, and American scholars, curators, actors, musicians, dancers, designers, film-makers, and photographers will begin to assist participants in organizing national and international traveling exhibitions and performances as well as Internet-based renderings of the work of Stories Exchange Project Morocco. These live and electronic productions will activate traditional arts of Morocco in vivid, memorable presentations of stories about individual decision-making and innovative expression and action in the context of participants’ organizational and community affiliations.
During the first year – and throughout this initial three-year run of the project— older participants will organize regular encounters among colleagues in their home organizations in order to form a network of diverse Moroccan institutions: public and private, for-profit and not-for-profit. Stories Exchange Project Morocco will engage these partners both in advancing and evaluating its own initiatives, and in cooperating with each other and with members of the National Initiative for Human Development in organizing further citizen participation projects in urban and rural communities.

V. Development
The second year will focus on implementing the micro-projects and on advancing preparations for the traveling exhibitions and performances and Internet presentations.
Further training workshops will prepare participants

to organize and coordinate fund-raising campaigns to support the micro-projects, exhibitions, and performances;

to engage their home organizations in identifying and mobilizing supplementary in-kind assistance for these initiatives;

to increase public participation in the activities of Stories Exchange Project Morocco.
Participants will also continue collecting, discussing, editing, and presenting new stories which ground the micro-projects and live and Internet presentations in the everyday realities of personal experience and exchange.
VI. Continuing Development: National and International
The third year of this first phase of the project will complete – and organize evaluations of – the traveling exhibitions, performances and Internet programs as well as the micro-projects proposed, funded, and administered by teams of participants.
SEP Maroc, the Fund for New Performance/Video, and other partners and advisors of Stories Exchange Project Morocco will initiate and supervise internships in business firms and in cultural, educational, and social institutions in the United States and Europe. These will further prepare participants to take advantage of employment opportunities in their various fields.
Participants will work with the organizers of Stories Exchange Project Morocco to develop preliminary proposals for further sustainable story-based citizen participation initiatives in urban and rural regions throughout Morocco and North Africa, and in Moroccan communities in the Middle East, Europe, and the United States.

3 Responses to “Stories Exchange Project Morocco”

  1. Looks great, & I will reread it much more carefully. Good luck. The world needs this.

  2. Great work Mitchel

  3. I can just say go ahead with this projekt
    I also want to paticipate as I could to make good thing happen for peace, tolerance and love over the world!
    I got your adress by a student of me A H ME D who metMr Mitchellis Chanellis in Rabat in a Café in the old medina!
    Please contact me here is my phone: 062 12 54 67
    peace and Love!
    Mohammed El IDRISSI

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