University opens exchange discussions with Morocco
14 June 2013
Dr Saad-Eddine El Otmani, Foreign Minister of Morocco, visited the University yesterday to open discussions about staff and student exchanges with Moroccan universities.
The minister, accompanied by Moroccan Ambassador Mohamed Mael-Ainin, had talks with Sydney Medical School and the Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies. He also met Vice-Chancellor Dr Michael Spence in the Great Hall.
Dr Spence said the visit brought together Australia's oldest university and the country with the world's oldest university - the University of Karueein in Morocco was founded in 859 AD.
The minister was introduced to Moroccan student Salma Refass, who is in the second semester of a Master of Economics course at Sydney, and met other students with research interests in Morocco.
Dr El Otmani, who is on his first visit to Australia, is head of the Justice and Development Party in Morocco. He is a qualified psychiatrist and an expert in Islamic law, and practised as a doctor before entering politics.
"He was interested to hear about the Sydney medical program as well as other degrees," said Professor Merrilyn Walton, Associate Dean International at Sydney Medical School, who had a meeting with the minister.
Professor Jeff Riegel, Chair of the Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies, said Dr El Otmani was particularly interested in the scholarship of Rifaat Ebied, an honorary associate professor in the Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies.
"As a consequence of the visit, the School of Languages and Cultures will be exploring with the Moroccan Embassy the possibility of staff and student exchanges with Moroccan universities," said Professor Riegel.
Contact: Richard North
Phone: 02 9351 3191