مرحبا بكم في هذا الاجتماع التجاري!
The greater metropolitan area of the District of Columbia has a vibrant Moroccan-American community. There are a number of social and professional networks and regular community events. From my experience, many of these events, such as the upcoming Second CEO Small Business Summit, feature a range of distinguished speakers and interesting topics. This year’s Summit will be headlined by Ilyas Al Omari, governor of Tangier, Tetuan, and Al Hoceima. The event will take place on May 19, 2017 from noon to 6 p.m. at the National Press Club. Tickets can be purchased at Eventbrite and must be purchased in advance.
However, these events do not always draw the attention they merit. It was a shame, for example, that at the last event I attended, one of the more vigorous and prominent journalists critiquing Donald Trump’s press policies — David Cay Johnston — a winner of the Pulitzer Prize who broke the story on Trump’s tax returns, drew an embarrassingly small crowd at the end of the program. This was truly a missed opportunity, particularly in light of the importance of a vigorous press as a check on arbitrary power in both our countries.
My experience is that these events are open and inclusive — both to Moroccan-Americans and to others such as myself who simply share an interest in Morocco. I certainly understand a certain Moroccan skepticism toward organized business and political activity; without being unduly critical, it seems to me that there are enough cases in Morocco of organizations and government that serve the self-interest of an exclusive group that a certain skepticism comes naturally.
However, my conviction is that while these events do create a certain amount of visibility for their organizers, they are primarily motivated by genuine desire to perform a public service, raise important issues, and bring the community together. Accordingly, I urge my friends, acquaintances, and anyone else with an interest in Moroccan-American affairs and the relationship between our two countries to take a closer look, attend, and participate. If my experience is any guide, you will be amply rewarded.
(Full disclosure: a number of my friends are active in the organization and promotion of many of these events.)