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KAIST ONE Morocco: The Land of Beautiful Contrasts
[ Issue 158 Page 7 ] Wednesday, December 27, 2017, 19:42:12 Duman Kuandyk Staff Reporter duman@kaist.ac.kr

On October 26, people were rushing to get to KAIST ONE — perhaps the most well-known event for the international students here. After its presentation on September 21, Turkey had passed the torch to Morocco. The representatives of the Moroccan Embassy in Korea also attended the event, giving a short ceremonial speech at the start of the presentation.

One of the hosts, Houda Hamedoun, wearing a beautiful traditional dress called the kaftan, told the guests about the long history of the Berber Kingdom since its foundation back in 788. Since then, always being a key regional power of the Mediterranean, Morocco went through the rule of several dynasties, with the royal house of Alaouite holding the throne of Morocco since the 17th century. Being a protectorate under Spain and France at the beginning of the 20th century, it gained its independence in 1956, and has since then been a home to more than 33 million people who speak the Arabic, Berber, and French languages. The presentation also included the national anthem of Morocco, and guests were politely asked to stand up as the Cherifian anthem was played.

A country in northwestern Africa, Morocco has a geographically important position, having access to the Atlantic Ocean, the Strait of Gibraltar, and the Mediterranean Sea. The hosts also introduced popular spots for tourists, including Marrakesh — a very dynamic city, attracting millions of people from Europe every year. People were amazed by the views of Chefchaouen; known as the “Blue City”, Chefchaouen is home to thousands of houses that are all colored in blue, and therefore has a unique urban scenery covered with vivid shades of blue. Another discovery, perhaps the most surprising one for every visitor of the KAIST ONE event, was the fact that they could enjoy their free time by skiing in the Atlas Mountains.

When the presentation was done, hosts Hamedoun and Zakaria Marmri invited everyone in the hall to try out the traditional Moroccan dance called Ahwash. People enthusiastically joined and started dancing together; no one was able to resist the urge to move in harmony with the music and its energizing beat.

After the dance and a quiz, guests immediately rushed towards the front doors of the hall to get in queue to wait for their turn to taste Moroccan couscous, a delicious dish of crushed and steamed wheat, accompanied by steamed vegetables and chicken. The food attracted so much interest that even people who did not attend the presentation waited as the queue was slowly serviced.

This was the second out of five presentations scheduled for this semester. The KAIST ONE events for Mexico and the US were held on November 2 and 9 respectively. The United Arab Emirates is the last of the five and its KAIST ONE will be held on November 16.

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