Download our 2010 Year-End Report

Chicago’s Sister City Since 1982

Committee Co–Chair: Marilyn Diamond and Janet Murphy

Chicago and Casablanca signed an official Sister Cities agreement in 1982. Since that time, the Casablanca Committee of Chicago Sister Cities has worked with their dedicated counterparts in Morocco to strengthen the bonds between the two cities through cultural, educational, and economic projects.

The July 2005 Pew Global Attitudes report credited the Chicago/Casablanca Sister Cities International Program with an unprecedented achievement in public diplomacy. Favorable attitudes by Moroccans towards the United States rose 22 percent in 2005, making them higher in that country than in any other Muslim country in the world, even allies like France, Germany and the Netherlands.

Some of the many notable Casablanca Committee projects include “Chicago Week in Casablanca”, where 82 participants from Chicago carried out a multi-sectoral mission to Casablanca in 2004, including a medical component, city planning, business, volunteerism strengthening and educational component.
In conjunction with Global Voices, the Committee traveled to Casablanca in 2007. Highlights of the trip include: a best practice exchange with the Cara Program; a park planning expert worked with city planners in Casablanca; and an sister school agreement was signed.

Most recently, the Casablanca committee took a trip to Morocco in April of 2008. They donated $15,000 to the Sidi Moumen Cultural Center in Sidi Moumen, a low-income neighborhood in Casablanca. This center was created by Boubker Mazoz, President of the Casablanca Chicago Sister Cities, and serves the youth in the community with a computer center, tutoring, and a theater.

Mayor: His Excellency Mohamed Sajid
Country:   Morocco
Country Location:   North Africa, bordering the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, southern border with Western Sahara, eastern border with Algeria. 
Geography: Coastal plains, mountains, desert. 
Industry:  phosphate mining, manufacturing and handicrafts, construction and public works, energy. Sector Information as % GDP (2006): Agriculture 13.3%, industry 31.2%, services 55.5%.
Flag Description: Red with a green pentacle (five-pointed, linear star) known as Solomon’s seal in the center of the flag; green is the traditional color of Islam.
Did You Know?  Casablanca is home to Hassan II Mosque, the largest religious monument in the world after Mecca.  




Sister School Chicago students and their IDMAJ counterparts volunteered as camp counselors in a summer camp at Al Akhawayn University (AUI) in Ifrane, Morocco. 


African Urban Poverty Alleviation Program: Mr. Abdelhakim Sefiane, an audiologist from Morocco, visited Chicago to train with Beltone Electronics to review the donated hearing aide software and programming.


The African Urban Poverty Alleviation Program proposal, submitted by the Casablanca committee, was approved by Sister Cities International.  Work will begin on supporting a clinic in the Sidi Moumen neighborhood.  Support will include securing equipment/medical materials, the renovation of toilets and the construction/renovation of additional rooms. Our project will provide a more sanitary environment inside and outside the clinic, needed computers and equipment to better organize patients and their files. Ultimately we want to increase the amount of patients seen, treated or counseled  by a doctor and renovate the space within and outside the clinic.

After Morocco won independence from France in 1956, limited numbers of its top young scholars turned from Parisian to American universities to obtain technology and science degrees. From the mid-1960s through 1980, Chicago's Moroccan population seldom exceeded 15, with only a handful making the city their permanent home. In the early 1980s, a new wave of Moroccan immigrants began arriving, many with the primary purpose of working, not earning a degree. Numbering at least several dozen by the end of the decade, some ran small retail shops while others opened restaurants catering to both Moroccans and non-Moroccans. The children of Chicago Moroccans provided the impetus for some parents to pursue Moroccan cultural activities and community ties more actively than had been done before.


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