This webinar is being organised with the Society for Algerian Studies.
In 1990, a year after the creation of the Arab Maghreb Union (UMA), the then-King of Morocco, Hassan II, best summed up pan-Maghreb ambitions stating that: “our aim is to turn the Arab Maghreb into one country with one passport... one identity and a single currency”. Thirty years on, very little has been achieved at the leadership-level in integrating these countries, therefore defying the economic forces of gravity. The last meeting of the UMA that brought together all five members was in 1994, with the borders between Algeria and Morocco closed ever since. Tensions over the Western Sahara issue also continue to obstruct relations between the two regional heavyweights.
This webinar will explore the historical background, political rationale behind, and economic consequences of the stalled Maghreb Union project. Panellists will cover various perspectives as well as highlight opportunities facing the least (economically) integrated region in the world.
Idriss Jebari is Al Maktoum Assistant Professor in Middle East Studies at Trinity College, University of Dublin. His research focuses on North African cultural and social history after the region’s political independences from France, and on collective memory in the Arab world, focusing on reconciliation processes and transitional justice. After completing his doctorate on the history of the production of critical thought in Morocco and Tunisia at the University of Oxford, he held a postdoctoral fellowship at the American University of Beirut to study the dynamics of intellectual and cultural exchanges between the Maghrib and the Mashriq. He then taught Middle East History at Bowdoin College in Maine (USA).
Amel Karboul is Former Minister of Tourism in Tunisia. Karboul has held leadership positions across the corporate, political and not-for-profit sectors for more than 25 years. She was the first woman in history to occupy Tunisia’s Minister of Tourism position and co-led the country’s transition after the Arab Spring, leading to Tunisia’s Nobel Peace prize in 2015. She is passionate about nurturing a new generation of responsible leaders and building bridges between the private, public sector and civil society to solve global challenges - particularly in the fields of Tech, AI and Education. She has held leadership roles at numerous organisations including The Maghreb Economic Forum and worked in senior consultant roles at the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and Beratergruppe Neuwaldegg. Karboul serves today as CEO of The Education Outcomes Fund, an initiative to raise $1 billion to support governments around the world to improve the education and skills of 10 million children and young people.
Azzedine Layachi is Professor of Politics at St. John’s University in New York City where he teaches courses in comparative politics and international relations. He is author of numerous books, chapters, and journal articles on North Africa, including Economic Crisis and Political Change in North Africa; State, Society and Liberalization in Morocco; The United States and North Africa: A Cognitive Approach to Foreign Policy; Global Studies: The Middle East and Global Studies: Africa (co-editor). He is currently finishing a book on Algeria: History, People and Political Struggle. In recent years, he has served as associate director of the Center for Global Studies (St. John’s University), members of the Executive Board of the American Institute of North African Studies (AIMS), Associate Editor of the Bulletin of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA), President of the Northeastern Political Science Association and President of the New York State Political Science Association. He currently serves on the Advisory Boards of the Maghreb Center (USA) and is consultant to private and public institutions. In January 2021, he will start serving as co-editor-in-chief of the Journal of North African Studies.
Amine Bouhassane is Co-Founder of the think tank ICEM (Initiatives for the Maghreb Economic Community) and is also the Human Resources Director of HEYME in Casablanca, a major French player in the youth insurance market. He is a frequent contributor at national and international conferences around leadership and Maghreb regional integration and is an active member of the French Chamber of Commerce in Casablanca - Morocco.
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