From May 23-26, Casablanca, Morocco hosted JCI members who committed to take their actions to the next level.
From 40 different countries, 342 delegates gathered at the 2012 JCI Africa and Middle East Conference. Conference seminars and events focused on challenges facing communities throughout the region and how to use partnerships to maximize impact during local and national projects.
Meeting Challenges with New Ideas
The Conference began with a vibrant Opening Ceremony, featuring traditional Moroccan music. Along with 2012 JCI President Bertolt Daems and 2012 JCI Executive Vice President Pascal Dike, 2012 JCI Morocco National President Yassir Mezouari addressed the energetic delegates with motivating speeches and warm words of welcome. Entertainers launched pigeons in the Mohammed VI Theater Hall, creating an impressive spectacle of flight. The releasing of the birds symbolized young active citizens, ready to reach new heights in their JCI experience. Delegates beamed with pride to be members and leaders ready to produce sustainable change.
The morning after the Opening Ceremony, delegates attended the JCI Morning Show to get their day off to a great start. As a special guest, 2011 JCI Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World Honoree Dr. Serge Michel Kodom spoke about his commitment to active citizenship through his medical work.
“Our communities need our initiative and our action,” Dr. Kodom said.
His inspiring message reinforced the importance of taking responsibility for one’s community and left delegates with their minds open to new ideas about how to use knowledge and skills to contribute to society.
During the General Assembly, the focus shifted to future events as the delegates voted on the location for the 2014 JCI Africa and Middle East Conference. Lomé, Togo was the selected location for the 2014 Conference, with JCI Ghana, JCI Tunisia and JCI Mauritius expressing interest in hosting the event in 2015.
Following the designation of future event location, JCI Côte d'Ivoire gathered the chief delegates to sign a declaration regarding the socio-political situation in the area, specifically in Guinea Bissau, Lebanon, Mali and Syria. The declaration expresses member’s disapproval of the violence in these areas and the need to work through the conflict in a united, peaceful way. This document will be submitted to the Heads of State and governments of those countries, the UN, the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
JCI members also received a lecture from university professor, former minister and active figure in Moroccan society Professor Driss Alaoui Mdaghri, who educated delegates about entrepreneurship, creation and the dynamics of change. His presentation introduced the B20/G20 Forum, allowing delegates to share their voices about the importance of cooperation between the international business community and government leaders.
After busy days spent brainstorming new ideas for positive change, conference attendees spent their nights enjoying colorful parties. At Nations Night, 10 countries showcased their national foods, drinks and music. Moroccan night featured a traditional Moroccan wedding ceremony between Executive Vice President Pascal Dike and his wife Chinyelu.
Creating Change in the Community
On the last day, more than 400 people, both delegates and citizens from Casablanca, participated in the community outreach project. The delegates wore t-shirts displaying the eight UN Millennium Development Goals and paraded from the headquarter hotel to the Ancienne Medina (Old City). During the march, they raised awareness of upcoming voluntary screenings for HIV/AIDS and the fight against the stigmatization of people living with the disease.
Once they arrived in the Old City, the community project focused on cleaning and restoring the local health center. Delegates scrubbed, swept and repainted the inside and outside of the building to allow for better, safer care for the patients. Children from the community also helped with the project and delegates taught them the importance of keeping the health center and surrounding areas clean. Throughout the Conference, several JCI National Organizations presented funds for the community project and more than US $2,800 was raised to support service efforts in the Old City. Taking concrete action in the community united delegates and encouraged them to live the JCI Mission.
See you next year at the JCI Africa and the Middle East Conference in Gaborone, Botswana.
The 2012 JCI European Conference begins on June 13 in Braunschweig, Germany. Start planning now for the upcoming 2012 JCI World Congress in Taipei, Taiwan.
For those who attended the Africa and the Middle East Conference, share your favorite memories on the JCI Facebook page.
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