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Global Focus Program

At Chatham University, 2019-2020 is the Year of Morocco. Throughout the academic year, Chatham will host events focused on Morocco as part of Global Focus, with many open to the public. More events will be added to this page throughout the year.

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The award winning Global Focus program seeks to instill global competence in Chatham students by leading a campus-wide initiative focused on a specific country or region of the world over the course of an academic year through the curriculum, films, lectures, performances and cuisine.

The program also promotes cross-cultural understanding by forging connections with off-campus international initiatives in the greater Pittsburgh area and beyond.

Contact Us
Dr. Luke Peterson
Faculty Coordinator Global Focus 2019-2020
Chatham University
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Located on the northwestern tip of the African continent, Morocco is a culturally rich and geographically stunning country totaling a population of nearly 37 million people. The name “Morocco” comes into English most likely as an Anglicization of a Spanish term for the Arabic-speaking peoples of North Africa, the Marruecos. But the name for Morocco used by its citizens themselves in the local Arabic dialect is Al-Maghreb Al-Aqsa or simply Al-Maghreb, meaning “The Farthest (Point) West,” a name that evokes the substantial distance between the Moroccan coastline and Arabian Peninsula which birthed the Islamic faith and codified the Arabic language in the 7th and 8th centuries of the Common Era.  

The Spanish influence on Morocco extends beyond language, though. For more than 700 years, a Spanish Muslim civilization flourished across the Iberian Peninsula joining amazingly diverse cultural elements together under the banner of one, unified policy and society: Al-Andalus or simply Andalusia. Today, Morocco’s link to nearby Spain (only 14 kilometers across the Strait of Gibraltar) represents its link to Europe and to the broadly framed “West,” and invites daily examination of themes such as regional migration, national identity, the contingency of culture, and the concept of global citizenship throughout the Mediterranean Basin.

During the 1950s and 60s, Morocco was a haven for European and American artists and intellectuals like the writers William S. Burroughs and Tennessee Williams. Today, tourism is still one of Morocco’s most important industries as the country routinely welcomes more than 10 million visitors per year in order to sample a vibrant mix of Arab, Berber, Amazigh, Jewish, Spanish, and Phoenician cultures that have given Morocco the unique character it possesses today.