Fez, Cultural Program


Founded in 808, Fez is often called the best-preserved medieval city in North Africa. Considered Morocco's spiritual capital, it functions as a magnet for both pilgrims from sub-Saharan Africa and tourists wanting to experience Moroccan culture.

Over the course of this study trip, students experience a city that to many will be largely unfamiliar. Students are exposed to the challenges of travel; they learn how to negotiate cross-cultural encounters and translate those experiences into text and images.

The course provides training in cross-media platforms and an introduction to the workings of cultural and social life in an unusual and complex historic city.

Professor Justin McGuinness The American University of Paris

While contemplating Islamic architecture and learning how its design plays a role in Fez's public identity, students also examine urban renewal and communications – in the context of a heritage city located in a developing country. Of particular note is the Fez Sacred Music Festival, which has, over the last 18 years, changed the image of Fez both in Morocco and abroad and caused many to reevaluate the roles of religion and spirituality in global developing civil societies.

Students produce blog entries on the Fez Forum, in which public intellectuals work for world peace and a better global understanding of the Islamic tradition. The accompanying course provides insight into the many aspects of working in an Arabic and Muslim context; students work on practical projects and develop their communications skills – whether through video and blog production, communication campaigns aimed at local populations or content for an international Anglophone audience.

With training in cross-media platforms and an introduction to the cultural and social life of this historic city, students obtain a more profound grasp of the relationship between media, religion and globalization. Students will also be made aware of the difficulties of capturing quality audiovisual footage of live events and will learn how to improvise and develop sociocultural technological solutions in a complex environment.

AUP has been bringing its students to Fez and its accompanying music festival for years and intends to continue fostering this positive and proactive relationship into the future.

This Giving Tuesday, AUP is uniting its entire community in support of our Coup de Pouce travel grant. Please support our #OneMoreJourney campaign to help students benefit from the lasting experience of an international study trip. When it comes to Coup de Pouce, a little help really does go a long way.