Approximately 150 educational leaders participated in the International Conference on Education for Democratic Citizenship in Marrakech, Morocco, from February 26 to March 1, 2014, hosted by the Moroccan Center for Civic Education (MCCE), the Center for Civic Education’s Civitas International Programs partner in Morocco. The event was cosponsored by the Center and an array of international institutions from Europe and Canada.
Under the theme of “Educating Youth for Democratic Futures,” participants from educational and civil society institutions from Morocco, the Middle East, Europe, Canada, the United States, and other countries explored how teachers
and schools can educate learners to be effective and active citizens who are committed to democratic principles. Through presentations, workshops, discussion groups, and networking sessions, the conference provided a forum for dialogue and sharing of innovative practices and experiences.
Keynote speakers included Michaëlle Jean, chancellor of the University of Ottawa; Alden Craddock, associate vice president, associate professor of education, and director of the Center for Civic Engagement and Democracy of Maryville University, St. Louis, Missouri; and John Hale, associate director of the Center for Civic Education.
Workshops and discussion groups explored numerous topics and subthemes, including intercultural and interreligious dialogue, civic engagement in nondemocratic settings, collaborative inquiry, the role of higher education, education for peace, character education, and other areas.
One highlight of the conference was a student presentation by a group of young people participating in the U.S. Embassy’s Access Microscholarship Program. The students demonstrated how they developed public policy proposals to address community problems through the Project Citizen curricular program, implemented in Morocco with the support of MCCE. The particular problem they addressed was stemming violent behavior in schools.
The conference built upon partnerships between MCCE, the Ministry of Education of the Kingdom of Morocco, and partners in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Europe, and the Middle East and North Africa region. Participants included academics, professional educators, and government and civil society representatives from Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States, Europe, and the Middle East and North Africa region, along with experts and civil society leaders, educators, media, and youth representatives from Morocco.
Since 2004, MCCE has collaborated with the Center for Civic Education and other international partners to educate Moroccan young people for responsible civic participation. Thousands of young people have participated in curricular programs created or adapted by MCCE, including Project Citizen, Foundations of Democracy, and a ninth-grade civics curriculum developed in collaboration with Moroccan education authorities and Maryville University. Today, MCCE is a regional leader in education for democracy and collaborates with civil society counterparts in countries such as Libya and Tunisia to implement joint programs.