Royalty, Morocco, and the modern inspiration as told by Saida El Okbani

Special Edition of Republic Underground

WIth Irina Tsukerman, Media VP, Timberwolf-Phoenix LLC

Featuring guest host, Amine Boubsis, co-founder, media VP MVoice Radio

April 6, 2021 

Above, screencapture of the event as it aired on MVoice Radio’s Facebook Live. 

 In follow up with the Women’s History Month, a program of interviewers with Republic Underground guests that celebrated the lives of successful women from all walks of life and all over the world. During a special edition event of this series, Tsukerman co-hosted a special interview with Saida El Okbani. Co-hosting with her was Moroccan media entrepreneur Amine Boubsis of MVoice Radio. 

Tsukerman: Saida, hi! Thank you so much for coming and joining us here. We’re going to have a great conversation. The floor is Amine’s.  

Boubsis: Thanks so much for the wonderful introduction and thanks so much for joining us today. My name is Amine Boubsis, and I am the co-founder and the VP of Mvoice Radio. Our mission is to promote the diverse voices of Moroccan Americans and also showcase their unique 

contributions. 

We pride ourselves on telling great stories to promote, celebrate, and empower our Moroccan American community. We have also had some incredible partnerships with organizations in the U.S. and Morocco. 

El-Okbani: 

Thanks so much for having me. It’s a pleasure to be here with you. 

Boubsis:

Let’s jump right into it. Tell us a little bit about yourself, your personal story, and a little bit about your background as well. 

The cohosted event appeared on MVoice’s Facebook live. 

 

El-Okbani: 

“We can start with the important part. I was born and raised in Rabat, Morocco where I finished my industrial engineer degree, and then graduated with a master’s degree in management and finance. Growing up, I had several influences that I can speak of, many that shaped my adult life.  There are many influential women in the history of the world, but these three women come to my mind. One was my late grandmother, Iju, who was a true Muslim woman and a fighter. She passed away at the age of 95 without ever having learned to speak Arabic. ” 

El-Okabni then told the story of how her grandmother was a true Muslim woman who taught her the traditions and values of what it meant to be a strong Moroccan woman. 

“She shared with me many stories about the other Muslim women,” she noted.  

“As a young child growing up in Morocco, especially in the capital, Rabat, I grew up hearing about the royal family especially the princess Lalla Aicha, who was an icon of women’s rights,” she noted the power of Princess Lalla Aicha, in shaping her world view, as a little girl growing up in the Moroccan capital. Lalla Aicha was famous for her speech that “liberated” the Muslim women of Morocco, see Morrocan World News. 

She then spoke on the influence that princess Lalla Asma, King Mohammed VI’s sister, had on the influence of authenticity of human rights projects. She spoke about the royal family, including the late members, who paved the way for human rights and environmental value building in Morocco. 

“She gave me the right piece of the puzzle,” she said of Princess Lalla Asma, speaking of the inspiration she received from the life and activism of the princess. 

“That said, the rest of my personality is linked to the privilege of being Moroccan. I left Morocco to live in the United States a few years ago but like all Moroccans in the world, I keep my Moroccan component present and alive with me,” she then read from the Moroccan constitution, clauses regarding the diversity of Morocco as laid out by the state. In the passage she read from, she described how Morocco was fed by the presence of its Arabic, Islamic, Amazigh, African, Andalusian, Hebrew, and Meditteranean components. 

“This is what I mean about Moroccan privilege,” she said, as she paused her reading.

One may read more on the Moroccan Constitution at the Constitute Project. 

Boubsis then noted how it was “humbling” to hear the love that El-Okbani expressed for Morocco and her strong family-oriented values. He then shifted the conversation to a little bit more about the Abraham Accords’ follow-up and the building of bridges between Morocco, Israel, and Jewish communities around the world. Boubsis then asked El-Okbani how she came to head the new Ulpan HaMizrach in Morocco of the American Sephardi Federation.

“It’s a great question, “said El-Okbani.

“I have a passion for learning and building bridges between Muslims and Jews,” she then noted how “thanks to his majesty King Mohammed VI’s historic decision” to extend and build the relations between Morocco and Jewish communities, there are now opportunities for the two cultures to build and thrive.