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Moroccan Ambassador to Speak at U.Va. Tuesday

April 22, 2011 — Morocco's ambassador to the United States, Aziz Mekouar, will discuss his country's economic and political reforms Tuesday at the University of Virginia.

Mekouar, a guest of U.Va.'s Office of the Vice Provost for International Programs and the Center for International Studies, is taking part in the Ambassadors' Speakers Forum, which has drawn ambassadors from Japan, Indonesia and Nepal to Grounds this spring.

The talk takes place at 5 p.m. in the Nau Hall auditorium and is free and open to the public.

Morocco is a constitutional monarchy lead by King Mohammed VI, who succeeded his father in 1999. The human rights situation has improved since then.

Corruption, however, remains an issue. Youth in the country staged a nationwide demonstration April 17. Transparency International recently ranked Morocco the 85th-most corrupt country in the world. Critics say corruption prevents investment in the North African country.

The government introduced a two-year anti-corruption campaign last fall. King Mohammed is promising to announce a major political overhaul this summer that includes direct elections for prime minister. Under the current political model, the king selects the prime minister.

— By Jane Kelly

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