From May 25 to June 2, GMF’s Transatlantic Leadership Seminar, “Global North-South Cooperation – Tapping New Opportunities for Development and Growth,” traveled to France and Morocco to examine transatlantic north-south relations first hand. In Paris, Rabat, Tangier, Chefchaouen and Casablanca, the delegation engaged with government, business, and civic leaders to learn about the political, economic and cultural forces shaping the region.
The Seminar began in Paris on the eve of a European Parliamentary election that saw the far right gain significant ground in Denmark, France, and the United Kingdom, with gains from the far left in Greece. The changing political climate gave the cohort insight into the rising challenges for united Europe—particularly debates about immigration and inclusion that bring the disparate far right groups together into a single bloc. In Paris the delegation met with Sciences Po professor Alfredo Valladao, who addressed question of who globalization both includes and excludes, the growing role of cities as compared to nations, and the resultant fear that often strengthens anti global movements around the Atlantic basin and beyond.
The relationship between Europe and Africa provided a second point of dialogue for the delegation. The chair of the European Parliament Subcommittee on Security and Defence, Arnaud Danjean, discussed with Koert DeBeuf, author of "Inside the Arab Revolution", perspectives on recent developments in North Africa and the effect on the future of political Islam. The delegation also visited the suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, home to mass demonstrations in 2005 following the deaths of two boys killed in a police chase, to see firsthand the living conditions and lack of public infrastructure that creates a fertile ground for renewed unrest. The visit to Paris also featured a journalist and civic activist, Rhokaya Diallo, who shared with the group her strategies for the use of humor in combating racism.
In Morocco the delegation engaged in discussions about the country’s leadership priorities, economic agenda, and political liberalization with key leaders—including the Moroccan Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane. During a site visit to the port of Tangier the cohort had the opportunity to witness Morocco’s export oriented manufacture in action as hundreds of Renault cars were being loaded into vessels bound for the European and African markets. The delegation rounded out their time in Morocco with dialogues with civic and religious leaders, and visits to an impoverished neighborhood of Casablanca. The site visit highlighted the shared Moroccan and French efforts to create educational and employment opportunities to curb extremism fueled by severe poverty. Facilitated reflection at the end of the seminar prompted the group to consider strategies for strengthening social cohesion and north-south relations from both European and American perspectives.
GMF’s Transatlantic Leadership Seminars enable leaders from business, government, and civil society to become aware and manage the rapidly changing environment of the 21st century. GMF Seminars achieve this mission with direct exposure to key actors and trends driving change inside and around Europe and the United States. The seminar builds on the best practices of GMF’s signature program, the Marshall Memorial Fellowship, and is available to alumni and associates of GMF leadership development fellowships. Read more about GMF’s Transatlantic Leadership Seminar.
For more details, please see the Transatlantic Leadership Seminar Program Book.
Report by Filip Vojvodic Medic