Scottsdale youth ambassadors return from Morocco

Scottsdale and Marrakech high school students painting one of twelve murals at an elementary school for disadvantaged students in rural Marrakech. (submitted photo)

Scottsdale and Marrakech high school students painting one of 12 murals at an elementary school for disadvantaged students in rural Marrakech. (submitted photo)

Thirteen high school students spent their spring break sharing the American culture with people of Marrakech, Morocco, through the Scottsdale Sister Cities program.

While the trip was meant to provide an educational experience for them, the students had opportunities to make six presentations about Scottsdale and Arizona.

During the week, they spread goodwill about America to nearly one thousand moderate Arabs whom they encountered, according to a press release.  They met the Vice Mayor of Marrakech and was able to give one of their presentations about Scottsdale in the Marrakech City Hall.

The next day, two of the youth ambassadors helped carry greetings from Scottsdale Mayor Lane to newly elected Marrakech Mayor Belcaid.   They learned that King Muhammed VI had approved the Marrakech/Scottsdale relationship and they were present when Mayor Belcaid signed a confirmation of the relationship.

The trip was educational in that they visited four high schools and two universities, attended classes with host siblings, experienced the culture of the country, and were exposed to French and Arabic languages, the release stated.

“I learned that Muslims are good people, are very hospitable and to never take other’s word on things: experience it yourself,” one student stated in the release.

All students became close friends with Marrakech students by staying in the homes of hosting students.

“This trip allowed me to make incredible friends across the globe, learn to be independent and grow as a person by expanding my boundaries,”  a student stated in the release.

In addition to having a wonderful cultural and educational experience the students also had fun.   While their classmates were at the Pacific Ocean in California or Rocky Point in Mexico, the Scottsdale students had time to ride camels and run along the beach of the Atlantic on the west coast of Morocco.

The sister city program was initiated in 1956 by President Eisenhower to permit people to practice  citizen diplomacy and spread goodwill through exchanges by residents of one US city and a foreign city.  Scottsdale and Marrakech have been Sister Cities since 2011, the release stated.

For more information about Scottsdale Sister Cities go to: www.scottsdalesistercities.org

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