WPI Students Explore Morocco

A group of WPI engineering students had an invaluable global educational experience at the Morocco project center in partnership with Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco.

A group of WPI engineering students had an invaluable global educational experience at the Morocco project center in partnership with Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco. The students completed their IQPs during A term from August 22 to October 18.  Through their community service they devised good solutions to challenging societal development problems.  These students enjoyed the sensory experience of being a part of a vibrant, enriching and diverse Moroccan culture.

There were nine students working on their IQPs and each was assigned to one of three unique projects.   One project involved students working with the Fondation Rita Zniber to support an orphanage in the city of Meknes.  These students were challenged to learn about the adoption laws and philanthropy within the government industries in order to help the foundation team develop an effective fundraising strategy.  On this project, the students developed materials for the Foundation Director, Madam Ouaffa, which she will use in her outreach to industry, NGO and government agencies.

The second project took place at Arabesque, Inc., a mosaic tile company in the city of Fez, owned by the Naji family.  WPI students focused on the pollution problem caused by the wood fired kilns that produce the tile.  Students were challenged to develop solutions to mitigate the pollution problems while maintaining the traditional kilns and recommended scrubbers and control.  Arabesque, Inc., is noted for supplying mosaic tile for The Patti Cadby Birch Moroccan Court, created onsite at the Metropolitan Museum of Fine Art in New York City by the Naji family in 2011, in the renovated Islamic Arts Wing at the MET.

The third project was related to agriculture and drip irrigation in the Altas regions.  The students used two farms as models for adopting drip irrigation.  They also focused on government support and observed how farmers in the region are adapting to new technology.

In addition to the project experience, students had an opportunity to learn to speak Arabic, study Arabic music, calligraphy, and the history of Morocco.  They gained an insider perspective by staying with local families and experiencing indigenous food, religion, and traditions.  They had a memorable time as they enjoyed riding camels in the desert, wearing head scarfs and socializing with the Moroccan natives. 

View a video about the Moracco project center on our homepage.

March 22, 2013

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