The 259 students who graduated this year from the Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco’s only English-language college, are practically guaranteed a job -- unlike those Moroccans who went through the country’s French-inspired education system.
Commencement weekend at AUI, as it is commonly known, is not a very Moroccan affair. The atmosphere at the campus, set amid the pine and cedar forests of the Mid-Atlas mountain range, is part Swiss ski village, part Ivy League college. The university is in Ifrane, a mountain resort originally built for the French colonial elite wishing to escape the summer heat of Casablanca and Rabat. On a recent weekend in June, it was beset by a different kind of elite: AUI’s class of 2010 and their proud parents.
It was quickly obvious from the speeches that AUI did things the American way.
“AUI gives you not just a degree but a whole new personality,” said alumni President Khalid Baddou.
“AUI is more than a university; it is a community with an amazing culture. Here, you are given the weapons to face the real world with,” said science and engineering graduate Ahmad Arjdane.