Tangier, Morocco – A Muslim Traveler from the Middle Ages, Ibn Battuta was honored in his very own native city by local and international travel and culture communities.
Founded in 2015, The Moroccan Association of Ibn Battuta has successfully organized an international event that aims to promote the inspiring story of the young traveler who journeyed the world for 30 years. The International Festival of Ibn Battuta which took place from November 9 to 12, 2017 has effectively stimulated the cultural and literary value presented by Ibn Battuta himself throughout his travels.
Organized by groups of young local and international volunteers, the 4-day event also highlighted one of the association’s primary objective of promoting the universal values of peace and tolerance realized through the spirit of volunteering. Students, professionals, artists, speakers who believed in the mission set by the founder of the Moroccan Association of Ibn Battuta Aziz Benami and Honorary President Mohamed Dekkak had united and worked together to achieve an engaging event.
The festival’s opening day took place at the Cultural Center of Ahmed Boukmakh. Hosted by Egypt’s famous TV personality Tamer Shaltout, the ceremony was attended by ambassadors, government leaders and business professionals from different industries. Horses, camels, motorbikes, cultural dances, and band music greets visitors on the way to the entrance. Andalusian and African music brought dynamics to the program which also featured a short fashion show.
An art exhibition filled with historical artifacts, paintings and sculptures welcome guests as they enter the main hall. Some of the painters/associations who participated in the art exhibition includes: Afif Bennani, Amina Badraoui Idrissi, Nadia El Mouaque, Afafe Slaoui, Sophia Abi, Hicham Zouine, Hassan Mrani, Chaimae Aboudi, Aicha Arji Lebbar, Mhamdi Alaoui, Nadia Skali, Jacques Samir Stenka, Houdamouaddah, Noufissa Benjelloun, Aouatef Khelloqi, Association Forsaty Assadaka, Association Marocaine Pour La Solidarité Musulmane, Younes Cheikh Ali, Abdelwahab Sibaouaih and Foundation Abdelhadi Tazi.
Open for public, the evening showcased performances from Les fils et filles du Ziryab, Perle bleue, Groupe Youssef Saber and Orchestre Tarab.
The second day is a celebration of African Day for the promotion of Peace. The day’s highlight includes theater play, conferences, street art, and concert.
Mohamed VI Museum held a conference entitled “L’eau et l’homme : paix et coexistence” with invited speakers Jaafar Kanssousi, Khalid Rami, Khalid Rfifi, Tugba Evrim Maden and Jalila El Ofir tackling peace and coexistence between man and water.
Another conference held by the Anouar group discusses “The legacy of Ibn Battouta.” Keynote speakers include Mohamed Ait Laamim, Abdullah Alaoui, Mustapha Lamhaddar, Jaafar Kanssousi, Muhammad Al-Boughali, Mohammed Abdullah Boodai and Michlah Abderrahmane.
Another interesting conference held at the University of New England entitled “Self-discovery through travel” introduced speakers like Ahmed EL Shehawy, Zouheir Houmane, Anthony David, Noufissa Benjeloun, Aouatif Khelloqi and Bouchra Baibanou
The second evening’s concert was graced with performances from MloukGnawa, Sarro,Cisby , Malika la slameuse, Safiath, Groupe INING and Naj.
The third day was filled with conferences featuring topics on: Juan Goytisolo, a Spanish poet who was considered as Spain’s greatest living writer; the values of International Volunteering and its message of peace; role of having cultural dialogue to the world; and the journey between the Arab world and Latin America organized by the “Council for relations between the Arab World, Latin America and the Caribbean (CARLAC)” and an intervention on “Immigration and integration Arabs in Mexico “organized by the Mexican Embassy in Morocco at the University of New England.
The night capped off with two major events: the gala dinner and live concert. King Barra, Samia Tawil, and Abir El Abed thrilled their audience with their music on the stage of Cultural Center of Ahmed Boukmakh. The association also organized a formal gala dinner set at the Hotel Royal Tulip to honor the awardees acknowledged by the Moroccan Association of Ibn Battuta as “Ambassadors of Peace.”
To close the four-day event of the festival, a carnival parade participated by students, bands and associations marched along the streets of Tangier. Theater play and film shows were also presented for young kids to watch.
The International Festival of Ibn Battuta which started from a simple concept of promoting Tangier and the legacy of Ibn Battuta has produced a positive impact to the host city and captivated the hearts of many to further develop their love and passion to their country and the culture of travel. Local and international volunteers made this engaging festival come to life, certainly, a dream realized.