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French minister speaks to Moroccan youths on rights, citizenship and employment

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In a guest lecture last weekend, French Minister of Justice Rachida Dati encouraged Casablanca students to fight ignorance and help build their country.

French Justice Minister Rachida Dati gave a guest lecture on Saturday (June 21st) at Casablanca's Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry. The visit was the first of its kind for the minister, born in France to North African parents, as it provided her an opportunity to meet with the country's youths.

In an address entitled "Access to Rights and Citizenship", Dati expressed immense optimism and confidence in the capacity of Moroccan youths to build their homeland. Speaking of the 16 million young men and women who represent the budding spirit of Morocco, she noted, "You must take pride in Morocco, and show courage to develop your country. You have to work hard."

Today's youth have a responsibility to speak up and spread awareness of rights and citizenship in all suburbs, not just major cities, she said, since "access to rights, together with access to knowledge, constitute the basis for access to citizenship, which, in turn, leads to realising democracy".

"You shoulder a huge a responsibility because you stand for the foundation of a nation opening onto the world and defending tolerance and freedom," she added.

Indeed, Dati called for hard work and diligence to fight ignorance, which she called the greatest ally of terrorism and darkness.

"[Ignorance] creates fear of those who seek to curb freedom, and the values of democracy, tolerance and respect for the other," she commented.

The French minister touched upon several other subjects.

On the question of illegal immigration from Morocco to France, Dati called for the adoption of special laws and a new policy of integration which would allow everyone to live in better conditions.

The minister praised the rising number of woman matriculated in Moroccan universities, noting that women have begun to be widely respected and hold a prominent scientific standing equivalent to that of men.

Dati spoke at length about employment issues, describing her discussions with more than 100 young Moroccan men seeking jobs. The minister praised Morocco's professional training associations and called upon French enterprises in Morocco to offer vacancies matching both the employer's needs and the job seekers' skill sets.

"Morocco is rich in natural resources," she said. "Young people must have confidence in those resources and in their future. We must help young people who wish to stay in their home country in order to take part in its development."

To further that process, Dati announced new partnerships between French and Moroccan universities, whereby Moroccan students would receive degrees in law, business and real estate which would be recognized by French universities.

She also announced a forthcoming French-Moroccan agreement in which Moroccan youths would receive professional training and employment in French enterprises in Morocco.

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