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I am passionate about:
Ever since I joined the Peace Corps as a volunteer in the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco in 1993, I have been tremendously passionate about and dedicated to the field of international development.
A little known fact about me is:
I hold a PhD in sociology from the University of New Mexico, where I also taught.
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In 2000, I co-founded the High Atlas Foundation and served as president of the Board of Directors until 2011, and currently lead its operations. I was a faculty member at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Al Akhawayn University (2009-10). In 2003, I was a research fellow at the American Institute of Maghrib Studies; earlier an Associate Peace Corps Director (1998-99), managing the agriculture and environment sector. I write on the subject of promoting human development in the Middle East and North Africa.
I would be happy to connect. https://www.linkedin.com/in/yossef-ben-meir-21436713/ https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1476526258
There are mountain areas where we plant with communities that have the necessary water levels (though modest sized terraces) and have over 90% survival rates. With Saharan communities or ones in arid places, survival rates can be at 60% or so. Our average though is in the high 70s percentile. I spent a lot of years in New Mexico, so we share many of the same challenges and kinds of terrain.
It is such a good question: Why does Morocco present this opportunity? There are of course incredibly thoughtful people who dedicate their lives to illuminating answers to this. I do not have a definitive answer that I can provide. I can say that there are explanations found through research methods and study within the context of the social sciences, and there are also mystical or religious-based explanations. Morocco is a crossroads of civilizations, and its people and kings through centuries overall accepted this dynamism as part of the social identity. For example, at one point in centuries past, it was a global learning and intellectual center of the Jewish people, much like Iraq was. Interestingly and related to this project, highly prominent Muslim and Jewish religious leaders account for Morocco's special experience as it relates to unity, diversity and overall peace due to the many hundreds of burials of saints, elevating the land. Perhaps this relates to why this project is highly appreciated among the Moroccan demographic groups. Having said all this, I do not feel that there is a guarantee that the best of was, will determine the future. Poverty is deep and widespread, and promising national initiatives for development remain unfulfilling for the great majority of people.
Morocco is fortunate to have 13 fruit tree varieties that grow organically, and there are many endemic seed types (for example, there are 14 different fig types in Morocco - and unfortunately most all are threatened - which we are working to bring back). In general, focusing on organic and endemic varieties means that they are adaptive to their environment. Furthermore, the trees that we grow in nurseries are shared with farming families and schools in the immediate province or neighboring ones. This also enhances their acclimation to the environments to where they are transplanted from the nurseries. Finally, when seeds in nurseries and trees in farmers' fields don't survive, we replant in those very spots the following season. Survival rates can vary in regions and seasons, but on average we are now slightly below 80 percent. Monitoring, evaluation, and adaptive management - utilizing local and external expertise - are vital. Our monitoring the trees now for carbon credit offsets - requiring registries, mapping, and timely surveillance - has greatly enhanced our data gathering and analytical system.