Migration to Morocco and the UK: Past, Present and Future/ Between Policy and the Everyday

29 January 2015

Thursday 29 January saw  articulating a comparative academic perspective between the UK and Morocco. These events were established by HRH Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Centre of Islamic Studies, The Moroccan British Society (MBS), Cambridge University (CIS), and The British Council Morocco (BC) as a three-way partnership.

The “Migration to Morocco and the UK: Past, Present and Future/Between Policy and the Everyday” Symposium was held at the National Royal Library of Morocco in the capital Rabat. The Minister for Migration and Moroccans living abroad Mr Anis Birmou, Mr Abdelkarim Bennani (Vice President of MBS), Dr Sami Everett (Woolf Institute and representative of CIS) and John Mitchell OBE (Director of the BC), opened the event. Conducted in three languages (Arabic, English, French) with live translation for the audience and panels, the papers brought together a fascinating plurality of perspectives from the cultural to the jurisprudential via the socio-anthropological and the economic. The participants, all of whom closely associate with the UK and Morocco, were from a broad range of ages, sexes, nationalities and beliefs.

Summing up proceedings Professor Driss Ouaouicha (General Secretary of MBS) remarked that “we began the symposium from a UK-Morocco perspective and ended it by discussing migration policy across Western African, Northern Africa, Western and Northern Europe” such is the transnational nature of migration. While this wide lens developed from the day’s discussions, the focus of the event was directed towards micro level analysis of migrant lives, Moroccan diaspora and the impact of immigration in the UK and Morocco, including generational change, sub-Saharan migration to Morocco, questions of gender, religious pluralism and development. These papers enriched a more macro level analysis combining legal and sociological perspectives concerning changing patterns of migration over time for example North to South Return migration and the issues around comparing models of integration.

The conference programme is available here.