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Cablegate: Under Secretary of Education Martha

VZCZCXYZ0006
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHRB #0928/01 3281803
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 241803Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY RABAT
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 0848

UNCLAS RABAT 000928

SIPDIS
TOPEC

STATE NEA/PI AND NEA/MAG
STATE PLS PASS DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION - U/S
MKANTER, DAS ALEWIS AND CHIEF OF STAFF ACEJA
USAID/W FOR ME/MEA - GLAUDATO AND SDAVIS-CLEMONS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID SOCI MO
SUBJECT: UNDER SECRETARY OF EDUCATION MARTHA
KANTER'S VISIT TO MOROCCO

1. Summary: From November 1 through 4, 2009, Under
Secretary of Education Martha Kanter, Deputy
Assistant Secretary for International and Foreign
Language Education Andre Lewis, and the Under
Secretary's Chief of Staff, Alejandra Ceja,
represented the U.S. Department of Education at a
series of visits with Moroccan students, Moroccan
government representatives and members of civil
society, as well as at the Forum for the Future
(FfF) held in Marrakesh, Morocco. The Forum is an
annual gathering of G8, European and BMENA Foreign
Ministers with civil society to discuss and advance
reforms. End Summary.

2. Forum for the Future: Under Secretary Kanter
attended the opening session of the Forum on
November 2 and the principal event on November 3, at
which Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke.
When the Secretary was in other meetings, Under
Secretary Kanter chaired the Economic Reform
Thematic Group for the USG and represented the USG
in the Political Reform Thematic Group.

3. Meetings during Forum for the Future: Under
Secretary Kanter actively engaged in side meetings
and informal discussions with representatives from
Yemen, Jordan, Canada, the UK and other delegations
throughout her time at the Forum. After the Forum,
Under Secretary Kanter participated in an interview
for posting on the embassy's YouTube site.

4. Site Visits to USAID and Peace Corps activities:
Genuinely interested in the Moroccan educational
system and the views and needs of Moroccan youth,
Under Secretary Kanter actively participated in a
series of visits on November 2 and 3 to several
sites:

a. Marrakesh Girl's Dormitory: The dormitory
visited is run by a local NGO that has allowed rural
girls to attend university. U/S Kanter met with the
president and members of NGOs, women caretakers, and
26 students. The students are young women from
simple backgrounds and limited means who have
demonstrated strong academic ability and
determination. These young women are among the 11
percent of students across Morocco who complete
their baccalaureate degrees and enter some form of
tertiary education. This visit highlighted a true
development success as the originally USG financed
activities are now being supported, financed and
expanded under the leadership of Moroccan ministries
and local NGOs. During this visit, U/S Kanter was
accompanied by her DAS for International Education,
her Chief of Staff, a State Department DAS for
European Affairs, the USAID Morocco Mission Director
and the USAID/Washington Chief Operating Office
representative. U/S Kanter was impressed with the
level of academic determination of the girls and
engaged them in a lively discussion.

b. Peace Corps Volunteer Sites: U/S Kanter visited
two sites in Ait Ourir, a small town located 37 kms
(22 miles) from Marrakesh. During these visits she
was accompanied by the Ambassador and Mrs. Kaplan,
the DAS for International Education, the Chief of
Staff, the State DAS for European Affairs, the USAID
Morocco Mission Director, the representative from
USAID/Washington's Chief Operating Office and the
Peace Corps Morocco's Director. The Youth Center is
a Moroccan Ministry of Youth and Sports facility
that is supported by Peace Corps Volunteer Kate
Tsunoda. Kate teaches English at the center and
helps engage the youth in after-school developmental
activities, such as leading drama and music clubs.
The regional delegate from the Ministry of Youth and
Sports, the Director of the Youth Center, and
students greeted the party with traditional Moroccan
drumming, tea and sweets. The delegation was
treated to a welcome rap song and then engaged in a
question and answer session focused on what Moroccan
youth are hoping to see from the Obama
administration.

c. U/S Kanter, the Ambassador and their delegation
also visited a Women's Association called Tadamon-
Tifaout ("shining dawn" in the local Berber

dialect), supported by Peace Corps Volunteer Barbara
Eberhardt. Barbara helps the group of 32 women with
product development, sales techniques, business
development and has recently helped them display
their crafts at an exhibit in Fez. The association
has on display in its "two-room" workshop all of the
stitched items the women make, including hand-
stitched purses to fill an order of 1,000 from
Abercrombie and Fitch. Sitting down to Moroccan tea
and sweets, U/S Kanter, the Ambassador and the
delegation engaged in a discussion with the women
about their experiences and aspirations.

5. Comment: During her three days in Morocco,
Under Secretary Kanter and her team were able to
participate in the Forum for the Future, engage with
leaders from the G8 and BMENA countries and view
first hand the educational realities of Morocco's
youth at both the middle school and university
levels. Her genuine interest in Morocco's future
and her heartfelt message of support from President
Obama made a substantial impact on those with whom
she met. Under Secretary Kanter was an engaged and
engaging representative of the USG. End Comment.

KAPLAN

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