Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) in Israel is forging collaborations with Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P) and Université Internationale de Rabat (UIR) in Morocco.

These are expected to be among the first formal collaborations between universities from Morocco and Israel since the two countries signed a normalization agreement on December 10, 2020.

BGU and UM6P will sign a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on scientific research projects and student and faculty exchanges in the areas of agriculture, water, energy and ecological restoration. The sustainability research partnership will be supported by global companies ICL (Israel) and OCP (Morocco).

Ben-Gurion University President Prof. Daniel Chamovitz. Photo by Dani Machlis/BGU

“BGU and UM6P have much in common,” said Ben-Gurion University President Prof. Daniel Chamovitz.

“From their desert settings to their focus on applied research and innovative teaching methods, the two universities are well suited to collaborate on projects in sustainability and climate change. Both universities are committed to thriving in the desert, and both look outward – focused on helping our regions, countries and the world.”

BGU recently consolidated 50 years of research into the School of Sustainability and Climate Change and UM6P has made this subject a top priority of its research and education programs, within its Green Tech Institute launched last year and its School of Agriculture, Fertilizers and Environmental Sciences launched in 2015.

Mohammed VI Polytechnic University campus. Photo courtesy of UM6P

With UIR, BGU will have joint activities and research, starting with a workshop on culture, spiritualism, ethnicity and desert kingdom heritages. Topics will include land ownership, water sources, agriculture of arid and semi-arid lands, land restoration and issues related to sustainability from various technological, biological and health perspectives.

Another area of study will include the cultural heritage of Moroccan Jews from their history in Morocco to their current diaspora. The intertwined destiny of Jews and Muslims in the MENA region will also be explored.