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Thursday 17 March 2011
Visit and Keynote Lecture by the Moroccan Ambassador to the EU, 15 March 2011
On Tuesday, March 15, 2011, the fifth NATO Regional Cooperation Course (NRCC-5) and a group of visiting Roma Tre University students had the honour of attending a keynote lecture by H.E. Menouar ALEM, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco to the European Union (EU) and Moroccan Representative to NATO.
The Ambassador's visit, the first by a Moroccan Ambassador to the NATO Regional Cooperation Course (NRCC), was significant in strengthening relations between the NATO Defense College (NDC) and Morocco. He was welcomed by the Commandant of the NDC, Lieutenant General Wolf-Dieter LOESER, who highlighted the importance of the visit, especially in the light of recent events in North Africa and the Middle East. The Commandant spoke of the NDCís close ties with the region as a whole, through its dedicated Middle East Faculty, and renewed the Collegeís invitation to Morocco to participate in the NRCC. This is the NDC's main educational programme for its partners from the Mediterranean Dialogue (MD) and the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI), as well as other countries from the region interested in participating.
Earlier in the day, NRCC-5 and Senior Course 118 attended a lecture by Dr. Peter van HAM, Director of Global Governance Research and Professor at the College of Europe in Bruges. Dr. van HAM provided a comprehensive overview of the European Union (EU), its evolution, institutions and governance mechanisms, seen from a European perspective. Since Ambassador ALEM's keynote lecture focused on the relationship between Morocco, North Africa and the EU, it presented the perspective of a non-EU member. The two speakers thus offered complementary viewpoints on Europe, providing a beneficial and academically valuable opportunity for course members.
During his lecture, the Ambassador spoke about the crucial political and economic relationship between North Africa and the EU, highlighting socio-economic factors which have translated into instability and security challenges. In this context he stressed the importance of bilateral relations between Morocco and the EU in various fields, notably technical coordination, economic and financial cooperation, and the forging of strong societal links. Such cooperation has already provided an important contribution to the strengthening of a common economic sphere. However, the Ambassador found it imperative that the relationship between the North African countries and Europe should be further strengthened in economic, political and security affairs in a true spirit of partnership, so as to consolidate and enhance stability in the region.
During the Q&A period, the Ambassador discussed how the relationship between the European and North African regions could be further improved. In particular, he pointed to the possibility of further developing trade agreements and investment in North Africa, especially in the tourism sector, as well as promoting greater cooperation in the civil society and university fields. Speaking about NATO, the Ambassador mentioned the importance of Morocco's role as a member of the Mediterranean Dialogue and its participation in peace operations in the Balkans.