JUNE 26-28, 2025

forum des droits de l'homme d'essaouira

Forum Page Bannière




JUNE 28-29, 2024 ESSAOUIRA

In alignment with its mission to encourage dialogue and exchange, and in parallel to the concert series, the Essaouira Gnaoua and World Music Festival has always sought to create spaces for discussion and debate. Created in 2012, the Human Rights Forum has quickly become one of the highlights of the Festival. Each year the Forum invites researchers, politicians, artists and civil society leaders to come together to debate topical issues in total freedom. Organized in partnership with the National Human Rights Council and later with the Council of the Moroccan Community Abroad, the Forum has addressed diverse themes over the course of 10 editions, including: culture and youth; Africa, its future, its women creators and entrepreneurs, and its diasporas; creativity and cultural policy in the digital age; the equality imperative; and the power of culture against the culture of violence, among others. Leading figures have participated in the Forum, such as: Leila Shahid (Palestine), Oumou Sangaré (Mali), Edwy Plenel (France), Marco Martiniello (Belgium), Minino Garay (Argentina), Patrick Boucheron (France), Ali Benmakhlouf and Mohamed Tozy (Morocco), Yacouba Konaté (Ivory Coast), Laure Adler (France), Maïmouna N’diaye (Guinea), Mahi Binebine (Morocco), Kamel Jendoubi (Tunisia), Aomar Boum (Morocco-US), and more. The 11th edition of the Human Rights Forum of the Gnaoua and World Music Festival in Essaouira will take place next June 28-29, under the theme of “Morocco – Spain – Portugal: a history that looks to the future.” In 2030, less than six years from now, Morocco, Spain and Portugal will jointly organize football’s World Cup. This shared candidacy bears witness to continually developing political relationships and economic relationships that grow stronger every day: Spain, for example, is and has been Morocco’s principal trading partner for over ten years. This joint World Cup is also the fruit of increasingly varied and significant human relationships, as reflected in the numbers of Moroccan tourists (nearly one million per year) who travel to the Iberian Peninsula as well as Moroccan migrants in both nations. On this level, the three governments seem optimistic about the future, and intend to develop agreements concerning issues such as circular migration. The three neighbouring countries know each other well; indeed, they share a thousand year-old history filled with varied yet constant human, economic, and cultural exchanges. This shared history has nonetheless seen its share of friction and conflict, even armed conflict, as well as tensions of all kinds. Though their neighbours’ influence remains strong in all three nations, the effects of this long history are real and misconceptions persist. Public opinion, so to speak, is not definitively appeased. In this context, the strengthening of economic and political relations between Morocco, Spain and Portugal as well as the joint organization of the 2030 World Cup constitute real advances and assured opportunities. But the challenges facing the three nations have changed over time, requiring even more mutual cooperation, comprehension, and respect. What effects might this joint organization of the 2030 World Cup have on the future relations between the three countries? What role will there be for civil society, for intellectuals, artists and athletes? How will modes of mobility between the nations evolve? And in what way will each of these diasporas speak of exile, community, and country?
THE MEDITERRANEAN … BORDER OR CROSSROADS BETWEEN AFRICA AND EUROPE? José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, Former President of the Government of Spain (April 2004 – December 2011)(Spain)
Driss Bennani, Journalist and TV producer – (Morocco) El Arbi El Harti, Poet and playwright – (Morocco)

round table 1

1000 years of history,
what do we carry within us?

Muslims have been present on the Iberian Peninsula since the 9th century. The Portuguese and Spanish presence would later play a role in shaping the contours of contemporary Morocco. Heritage, culture, traditions…what parts of this history do we carry within us, on both shores of the Mediterranean Sea? How does this history contribute to shaping who we are today, and influence perceptions of our neighbours, whether next-door or across the sea? This round table will also decipher elements of recent and contemporary history, built upon crises and tensions as well as major accomplishments.

Carlos Martins, Musician – (Portugal)

Farida Benlyazid, Producer, director and screenwriter – (Morocco)

Gonzalo Fernández Parrilla, Professor, translator and author – (Spain)

Nadia Hafid, Comic author and illustrator – (Spain)

Youssef El Maimouni, Author and educator specialising in social issues – (Spain – Morocco)

round table 2

Human mobility, economy, diasporas ... neighbouring histories

Over approximately 1000 years, the flows between the three nations have never ebbed. Whether conquerors (centuries ago), migrants, intellectuals, merchandise or cultural productions, the Mediterranean bears witness to these exchanges and crossings. This mobility should be considered in both directions. And there is yet another new aspect to the flux: the mobility of students, skills, capital, knowledge, tourists, and more. What has changed in the modes of mobility between these three countries? How can their bonds grow stronger? What new countenance will they present in the future?

Abdallah Saaf, Professor of Political Science, Researcher – (Morocco)

Iván Martín, Associate Professor at Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona, Spain) and Université Mohammed VI Polytechnique (UM6P – Morocco) – (Spain).

Laila Karrouch, Author – (Spain – Morocco).

Maria João Tomás, Researcher and lecturer, international politics analyst and author – (Portugal).

Mohammed Anouar Haidour, Trade unionist and activist – (Morocco)

round table 3

Sport, art, and culture … Fatum Nostrum (Our common destiny)

And finally, what if the tunnel connecting Morocco (and Africa) to Spain (and Europe) began to resemble this shared organization of the World Cup? And if, in the end, the appeasement and serene development of these relationships were the work of athletes, artists, and intellectuals from both sides of the Mediterranean?

Anouar Majid, Professor, University of New England, publisher, editor-in-chief, Tingis Magazine – (USA)

Mohamed El Morabet, Author and translator – (Spain – Morocco)

Nieves Muriel García, Author and researcher – (Spain)

Oumama Aouad Lahrech, Doctor of Iberian and Iberian-American Literature, Former Ambassador of H.M. the King Mohammed VI to Peru, Bolivia and Panama – (Morocco)

Rodrigo Sobral Cunha, Author, researcher and university professor – (Portugal)

round table 4

The Mediterranean … a border or junction between Africa and Europe?

How can we strengthen connections, making them more resistant to crises, to future changes? How can we see the same way forward, and privilege shared interests? What effects will the 2030 World Cup organization ultimately have upon relations between Morocco and the European Union, between Africa and the European Union? And what will be the future state of equilibrium between the Mediterranean and Morocco’s Atlantic vision?