Morocco – Ifrane – preparatory visit iEARN Conference 2009 – april 2009

An Amazing Conference

An Amazing Location

An Amazing Country

An Amazing Team

You’ll be soooo sorry…… if you miss it!!

Preparatory visit by Bob Hofman, iEARN Executive Council, to Rabat and Ifrane, Morocco.

 Reports Tuesday April 28th 2009 – Friday May 1st 2009



Tuesday 28-04-2009

I left at 05:00 am in the morning from my home town in Dieren, Netherlands.

From Schiphol, via Paris – Charles de Gaulle – I flew with Air France to Dakar, Rabat.

On arrival at 14:30 pm (comparing to The Netherlands it’s 2 hours earlier in Morocco) I was welcomed by Mourad Benali and Chinioui Abdeljalil from MEARN.

The Rabat Airport is small, customs and luggage went very smooth and quick.

It was my first visit to Morocco; I expected sand, heat and desert… instead Rabat offered the most wonderful climate, fresh, 22C, green and sunny. After a 15 minute drive we arrived in the city center of Rabat and I checked in the hotel that was kindly offered by MEARN. In the evening we enjoyed dinner in a very good fish restaurant and discussed the program of the days to come. Morocco made me feel very welcome :-)


Wednesday 29-04-2009After a good night sleep, I got up at 6 am to check mail, had a very rich breakfast with all kinds of Moroccan sweets and met Mourad at 07:00 am to travel to Ifrane. We took the 07:17 am train to Meknesh.


The train ride was very comfortable and we enjoyed the beauty of Moroccan landscape.The final destination of the train was Oujda, some 10 hours more travelling… so in many cabins people were sleeping on the coaches and children were playing.
Around 10:30 we arrived in the city of Meknesh to meet Mr. Nourdine Laouni (Secrétaire Général MEARN). We took a taxi and drove for another hour to the city of Ifrane. The sideways of the roads were covered with flowers and small cities appeared like little spots in the ever so green landscape.
At 11:45 hrs. we arrived at the Al Akhawayn University, beautiful surrounded by woods.The entrance is impressive and the security is friendly and very secure; for sure the participants to the 16th iEARN anual conference will feel and be very safe!!
The Main Hall is impressive, due to the very steep roofs. I learned that in winters there might be 2-3 meters of snow, again something that didn’t match with my ideas about Morocco at all. Never to old too learn!Once passed the main hall the campus is an oasis of peace and it was so clean, not a piece of paper around.
To formally set the partnership with the Al Akhawayn University and MEARN about the conference we had several meetings. From left to right:- Mr. Nour-dine Laouni – Secrétaire Général MEARN- Dr. Hassane Darhmaoiu – Professor School of Science and Engineering – Al Akhawayn University- Mrs. Fouzia Messaoudi – Ministry of Education – Genie project – implementation of ICT

– Mr. Young-Hyan Yoon – associated professor IT and Communication – Korea

– Mr. Bob Hofman, iEARN International, EC-representative

– Mr. Mr. Tofiq, event coordinator – Al Akhawayn University

Front Row

– Mr. Mr. Aziz Hajir – Ministry of Education – project manager of Koica project

– Mr. Mourad Benali – Chair and Country Coordinator of MEARN

The above picture is the outside of the main auditorium; the location where the registration, opening session and closing will take place. Below the well decorated entrance of the auditorium.
The Auditorium has a capacity of 600 participants, and a complete theater sound and lightning system.There is a possibility for live broadcasting and there is a translation booth on each side.Below the inside of the entrance where the conference registration will take place.
The decoration on the walls and ceiling are amazing ;-)
Above the Mosq in the center of the campus.Beneath the most beautufull sports hall I have ever seen.
The swimming hall is unique and of Olympic qualifications.
The same for the sports hall… so spacious… with an amazing roof construction.
Of course Mourad and Nour-dine dressed up well for this important meeting; based upon this visit we can only say that a very professional team is dedicating so much time and energy to host the 16th iEARN Conference.The quality of the location that the MEARN team has selected is oustanding and has all that we need to have a wonderful conference.
Above one of the computer rooms that we can use during the conference; there is wireless (Wifi) access around the campus and each dorm room has internet connection (bring a UTP/RJ45 cable!!)Btw, we also visited the dorm rooms, bright and clean, and restaurants where each day the (halal) food will be served. The meal we enjoyed during the visit was excellent.
The Al Akhawayn University works closely with Korea on implementing ICT in learning. During our visit an agreement was signed; to celebrate this important event, a Korean day was held with demonstrations of Korean paperwork and Taekwondo. This day reflects the vision of Al Akhawayn University to celebrate diversity and welcome the world on their campus. What better place for the iEARN annual conference can be found?
Thursday 30-04-2009
In this building (above) hosts the MEARN organistation; as indicated clearly by the sign on the wall (below).
A full day to work with Mourad, Nour-dine and Chinioui on the report for the iEARN Assembly.The walls of the MEARN are decorated with many tokens of appreciation and workshop/events announcements.
Most important: Mr. Chinioui Abdeljalil watches over the financial matters of the conference!
Friday 01-05-2009
A few hours before departure…the last meeting.If one thing became clear to me during this preperatory visit, it’s that a very professional MEARN team is doing an amazing job. I’ve been to many conferences; seldom did I see a location that matches so well what is needed to have a safe, interesting, in one word a super iEARN World Conference.If you decide not join, I’m sure your going to be very sorry!If you do, we’re looking forward to meet you in July… here’s the link to register…. see you in Ifrane, Bob.




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