A Great Lakes Colleges Association initiative supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Oral History and Intangible Cultural Heritage of Morocco

Project Statement

Title of your Project

This project will explore the art of storytelling (including both folktales and oral histories of life stories) in Morocco. The goal is to help preserve the intangible cultural heritage of Morocco and to research the value systems of Moroccan cultures, including indigenous cultures and languages.

Our intention as student and faculty researchers is to collaborate with members of diverse communities in collecting and preserving folktales and life stories. We hope to learn about value systems related to these tales and stories and to analyze their role in cultural preservation as well as the ways in which diverse and divergent stories and life histories can foster social inclusion and intercultural belonging.

We are likely to share your interview content in multiple ways. Your interview will be publicly shared, in part or in full, through inclusion in final class projects and in future classroom and other formal presentations. It will also be included, in part or in full, in a public digital project accessible on the web using OHMS and other digital storytelling platforms with multi-searching functionalities, or other publishing tools. We may incorporate your narratives and ephemera into future scholarly publications in both written and digital project forms. Should your copyright-released interview materials be featured, they will remain part of the project until it is taken off-line or absorbed by an institutional archive.

Listen to the Interviews

This project is in the fieldwork phase. Searchable interviews coming soon.

Additional Materials

This project is in the fieldwork phase. Links to archival materials coming soon.

Funding & Support

This project is supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation through the Great Lakes Colleges Association’s Global Liberal Arts Alliance.

Explore the project

Written by

My name is Meriem Sahli. Since 2019, I developed a passion for oral history through the preservation of Moroccan intangible cultural heritage (folktales and oral histories) and its use for more social cohesion and inclusion. I received my doctoral degree from Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdallah in Fes in applied linguistics. I earned my MA from Lancaster University, UK in teaching languages with a specialization in Arabic home literacy and how immigrant children develop their reading skills. I have a long experience teaching Arabic language and literature and training faculty in teaching Arabic as a foreign language. I started my teaching career in Denmark teaching immigrant children Arabic before joining Al Akhawayn University where I have been teaching Arabic language and literature, and training faculty in teaching Arabic as a foreign language. I taught Arabic at Middlebury School of Arabic for three summers. A good teacher needs to know the extent to which her students learn, therefore I became a certified Arabic oral proficiency (OPI) tester from the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) tester since 2013. I have been assessing the spoken abilities of learners of Arabic at Al Akhawayn University and at AMIDEAST. I put my long experience in learning, teaching, assessing, and training to develop up to date online instructional materials for Al Akhawayn University in media Arabic and in teaching Arabic as a foreign language. As a teacher/researcher, I am curious about what is happening in the field of education, I have researched children’s reading literacy, the mechanisms by which Arab families use to make their children better and successful readers. I also developed a framework for setting up strong language programs through researching the linguistic development of learners of Arabic who attended short term Arabic language programs. I am also working on how teachers of Arabic have to enrich students’ multiliteracies in 21 century classrooms. In collaboration, I have written chapters on Moroccan education, education in the MENA region, and the challenges the teaching of English in Morocco faces. The objective of this research is to reflect on education and education successes and failures in Morocco, in the MENA region, and in Africa.

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