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Festival Gnaoua

The Festival Forum

The Festival Forum

Continuing a tradition begun in 2012, for every edition the Gnaoua and World Music Festival Forum invites researchers as well as political, community and cultural leaders to discuss a particular theme for two consecutive morning sessions. In parallel to musical performances, the Forum thus offers a free space to the public, illustrating another dimension of the philosophy of the Festival, based upon its mission to connect the multi-secular tradition of Gnaoua music and world music. This year the Forum has chosen the theme of “Identity and Belonging”, a red-hot issue in a world shaken by identity-related tensions and the rejection of otherness. Indeed, identitary debate has taken centre stage to a degree never before seen. Nationalism and defensive identity politics have rarely been more popular, particularly in Europe and America. But they are not alone.

How can we explain this phenomenon, and what does it represent? Where will these identitary tensions lead ? Is universalism a thing of the past, leaving the way open for “us”, to the exclusion of everyone else? Populist identitary discourse celebrates the bygone days of ancestors, but in retrospect, aren’t these ancestors’ views stunted, severed from their former glory: a desire for confluence, open-mindedness toward other cultures, generous curiosity and eagerness for exchange? In a world where humans have never been more mobile, how can we articulate national identity, hospitality, and the sense of belonging? Can (or should) these notions be conjugated in the plural, without assignation of any kind? What space can be made for new, post-migration generations to freely define themselves? Are we forever and always defined by “blood and soil”? Or, do we recognize ourselves in Simone Weil’s words, as cited by Patrick Boucheron, “a human being has roots by virtue of his real, active and natural participation in the life of a community which preserves in living shape certain particular treasures of the past and certain particular expectations of the future”.

This tenth edition of the Forum will be structured around four round tables :

Opening session ;

Identity-related tensions and the rejection of otherness : a universal and inevitable wave

Migrations and human mobility : how can we rediscover brotherhood ?

Identity and Belonging : a past or a potential future ?


List of participants

Hisham Aidi • Political scientist and documentarian

Bouchera Azzouz • Filmmaker and essayist

Ali Benmakhlouf • Professor, Polytechnic Mohammed VI university, director of the Center for African Studies

Raja Ben Slama • Professor of Arab civilisation, director of the National Library of Tunisia

Patrick Boucheron • Historian and Professor, « Collège de France »

Aomar Boum • Anthropology and history professor, UCLA

Nadia Bouras • Historian, author and professor, specialising in migration and integration of Moroccans in the Netherlands

Yasmine Chami • Historian, anthropologist, and novelist

Ilham Kadri • CEO of Solvay

Yacouba Konaté • Author and professor, Félix Houphouët-Boigny University

Fouad Laroui • Writer

Marco Martiniello • Research director at the Fonds National de la Recherche Scientifique ( FRS-FNRS) and director of CEDEM (Centre d’ Etudes de l’ Ethnicité et des Migrations) at Université de Liège

Fadila Mehal • CEO and founder of Marianne de la Diversité, vice-president of the Robert Schuman Institute, Councillor of Paris

Hassan Rachik • Anthropologist and professor at Polytechnic Mohammed VI University of Rabat

Mohamed Sghir Janjar • Doctor of anthropology

Robert Wisdom • Actor

Mohamed Tozy • Writer 



Friday 23rd & saturday 24th of june 2023, starting 9:30 am- Atlas Essaouira & Spa Hotel

Other speakers are in the process of being confirmed and will be announced shortly


Sponsors and partners

Institutional Partners
Official Media Partners
Media Partners



AN ASSOCIATION TO Gnaoua's voice