Scottsdale youth ambassadors, mayor travel to Morocco

Pictured is Scottsdale Sister Cities Youth Ambassadors with students from Marrakech, Morocco. (submitted photo)

During this upcoming spring break, 12 high schools students, including two teachers from Scottsdale, will travel to Marrakech, Morocco as part of Scottsdale Sister Cities program.

The traveling students and teachers come from four Scottsdale area high schools, Chaparral, Coronado, Desert Mountain and Saguaro High Schools.

Moreover, among those traveling, will be Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane and his wife, Joanne, according to a press release. Also participating in this trip will be Scottsdale Sister Cities Association’s president, Lisa White.

Ms. White says this exchange mostly aims at addressing the Islamic cultural misunderstandings, according to a press release.

“The Moroccan students have a different view of America now, and the same will happen for our students when they live with those students in Marrakech,” she explained in a prepared statement.

In the fall of 2017, SCCA welcomed nine students from Marrakech for the same educational trip, where they gave several presentations about their city, and also explored the cultural and educational sites in the state of Arizona.

While on this one-week educational trip, the students will carry a presentation which seeks to inform the residents of Marrakech about the culture and relevant information about the United States, and Arizona in particular.

According to Max Rumbaugh, a board member with SSCA, the planning and preparation for this trip was extensive and greater than that of previous trips.

Having gone to Marrakech on five occasions, three with students and teachers, Mr. Rumbaugh is confident the students’ extensive preparations would make life easier when they arrive in Marrakech.

“The students have been participating in orientation sessions since last spring. They have explored the history of Morocco, the languages of the country, some cultural aspects of Morocco, and how they will be Youth Ambassadors, not just students visiting the city,” Mr. Rumbaugh said in a prepared statement.

“Importantly, they have already met their hosting students, in most cases, and look forward to renewing the friendship which started last fall.”

Even though the students’ stay is limited to one week, they will give a presentation to at least two student groups, one university and one to the Mayor of Marrakech, Mohamed Larbi Belcaid.

Among the students who are traveling to Marrakech is Desert Mountain High School International Club President and Junior Board member, Molly Opheim, who is eager to leave a positive impression in Marrakech.

“I hope to learn more about the Moroccan culture and what the typical day is like for a girl my age in Marrakech. I want to show a positive image for Scottsdale when I am in Marrakech, and leave a lasting impression with the Moroccans about how great Scottsdale is,” Miss Opheim said in a prepared statement.

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