• Dr. Yossef Ben-Meir, President of the High Atlas Foundation
Dr. Yossef Ben-Meir has been dedicated to the field of international development since he joined the Peace Corps as a volunteer in the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco in 1993. In 2000, he co-founded the High Atlas Foundation and served as president of the Board of Directors until January 2011, and since has been president of operations. Dr. Ben-Meir was a member of the faculty at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco (2009-10). In 2003, he was a research fellow at the American Institute of Maghrib Studies in Morocco. Yossef was also an Associate Peace Corps Director (1998-99), managing the agriculture and environment program in Morocco. He writes and publishes on the subject of promoting human development in the Middle East and North Africa. Dr. Ben-Meir holds a PhD in sociology from the University of New Mexico (2009) where he also taught, an MA in international development from Clark University (1997), and a BA in economics from New York University (1991).
• Larbi Didouqen, Director of Agricultural Programs
Larbi Didouquen served as Director of Toubkal National Park - Morocco's largest national park - for over ten years (1993-2004). During this time he worked closely with many Peace Corps Volunteers who were assigned to serve in the park and its neighboring villages. He has been actively involved with HAF since its inception in 2000, playing a key role in project implementation and partnership building. He is currently an independent consultant, and volunteers his time with numerous civil society organizations in the Marrakech Province. Larbi was trained as a forestry engineer.
• Abderrahim Ouarghidi, Director of Programs in Azilal Province
Abderrahim Ouarghidi coordinates HAF's field activities with rural communities, including facilitating community meetings, assisting beneficiaries with project design and implementation, and carrying out HAF's participatory monitoring and evaluation program. He also provides training in participatory development to diverse groups both in the field and at the Center for Community Consensus-Building and Sustainable Development. Abderrahim received his Bachelor's degree in animal biology (2002) and his Master's degree in biodiversity (2007) from Cadi Ayyad University of Marrakech. His field research, focusing on traditional herbal remedies in the Zat and Imenane Valleys, allowed him to spend extensive periods of time living and working with rural communities. Abderrahim is currently pursuing his PhD in ethno-botany, ethno-medicine, and ethno-ecology - an interdisciplinary field that examines the traditional uses of plants and the conservation of their biodiversity. Born and raised in Marrakech, Abderrahim is fluent in Arabic, Tashlhait, French, and English.
• Malika Kassi, Site Manager, Director of Programs in Al Haouz Province
Malika was born and raised in Ouarzazat and received her BA in English in 2009. She worked as a language and cross culture facilitator for the United States Peace Corps, and was also a translator on a water project at Dar Si Hmed for Development, Education and Culture. Malika speaks fluent Tashlhyt, Arabic, English and French, and benefited from a number of development and cross-cultural training programs and workshops.
• Lynn Sheppard, Director of Programs in Essaouira Province
Lynn Sheppard is our Project and Development Manager. She joined HAF in 2013 after 13 years working as a public official and diplomat in the UK, Germany, Belgium, EU and UN. Lynn is based in Essaouira, on Morocco's Atlantic coast, where she manages a heritage preservation and educational project. This project centres around Essaouira's multicultural past and its Jewish, Christian and Muslim cemeteries. She is also responsible for project development and fundraising – both in Essaouira Province and further afield – as well as HAF's social media presence (on Facebook, twitter and Flickr). Lynn speaks English, French and German fluently and is learning Darija.
• Mouhssine Tadlaoui-Cherki, Director of Programs in Mohammedia Province
Tadlaoui-Cherki is a former U.S. Peace Corps program manager of the environment sector in Morocco, where he worked for more than 10 years. The sector he managed included approximately 70 volunteers in rural areas of Morocco whom he supervised and trained in assisting communities’ sustainable development processes. The training programs he developed included volunteer counterparts from CSOs, government agencies and educational institutions. Mr. Tadlaoui-Cherki also has expertise in managing partnerships at the local, provincial, national and international levels, and replicating successful programs. Born and raised in Fez, Mouhssine received his Bachelor’s degree in physics from Mohammed V University in Rabat, and is fluent in Arabic, French, and English.
• Hana Ezzaoui, Director of Programs in Boujdour Province
Hana Ezzaoui is HAF’s Participatory facilitator in the Boujdour province. She received her Baccalaureate in institutional development in Laayounne. She is dedicated to social work and has significant development experiences with local associations. She created, along with other members from Boujdour city, to create an association called “Rwabit Association for Social Work, Environment and Development” where she currently serves as president.
Hana enjoys travelling and is open to diverse cultures and traditions of Moroccan society and of the world. Born and raised in the Moroccan Sahara, Hana speaks Arabic, Hassaniya dialect, and French.
world. Born and raised in the Moroccan Sahara, Hana speaks Arabic, Hassaniya dialect, and French.
• Jaqueline Seeley, Director of development
Jacqueline Seeley’s well-rounded international experience in food security and education encompasses knowledge from proposal writing, donor relations, public relations, programme operations to training and assessing national educators and teaching foreign languages all while thriving in a multicultural environment. From her time abroad Jacqueline has experiences working within many stages of development assistance; she has worked with Government officials and the Diplomatic circle while working for United Nations World Food Programme while also integrating with the community and working directly with the end beneficiary during her time with the United States Peace Corps. Jacqueline embraces hard work, dedication, innovation and creativity in both work and life. Fluent in French and learning Arabic, a multicultural environment has been part of her life passion since she was a teenager.
• Fatima Zahra Laaribi, Office Manager
Fatima Zahra Laaribi is a Marrakech native. She graduated from Cadi Ayyad University, where she received her Bachelors Degree in English Studies, Prior to working at HAF, she was an intern at Conseille Gest, a firm. She also trained as an accounting assistant and worked in a law firm.
Fatima Zahra has been working with HAF since October 2012, as HAF's Administrative Assistant, where she helps to coordinate all of HAF's various activities from the central office in Marrakech, and is responsible for managing HAF communications with local, national, and international partners. Fatima Zahra enjoys reading, especially Arabic literature.
• Safae Lacheheb, Program Assistant
Safae Lacheheb, born and raised in Rabat, received a Bachelor's degree in money and finance (2007) from Mohammed V university of rabat, and a Master's Degree in Risk Management in Finance from Mohammedia School of Engineering (2010) in Rabat. Safae has just completed her Masters in Econometrics and Economic Modelling Techniques at the Hassan II university of Mohammedia.
Safae speaks Arabic, French and English. Safae has been working with HAF since November of 2012, and is now the Training Coordinator at the Centre for community Consensus and Sustainable Development at Hassan II University in Mohammedia Morocco.
HAF Community-Level Coordinators (HAF Team Members are part of the local communities that are also HAF project and training sites)
• Younes Khitouch, Program Assistant
Younes Khitouch is a Participatory Facilitator at the High Atlas Foundation center in Mohammedia. He is devoted to sharing the honor of the work of human and social development of HAF. Previously, he was a coordinator at the Association of Talaie, engaged in integrating youth social work. Younes has led many cultural ceremonies. He also holds a degree in Economics and Management, which he received in 2010 and he is currently in his second year of econometrics economic modeling technique at Hassan II University in Mohammedia.
• Joke Van Dooren, Project Assistant
Joke Van Dooren is volunteering for one year with HAF in the framework of the Youth in Action programme funded by the European Commission. She will support projects in Essaouira, help HAF with partnership- and capacity-building and support the social media presence. She is Belgian (Flemish), and speaks Dutch, French, English and is learning Darija. Joke has a bachelors degree in Social Work and obtained last June her masters in Sciences of Population and Development. She is an international trainer focused on the Euromed youth cooperation and her main interests are social skills development, intercultural learning, interreligious dialogue, learning through volunteering, and self-directed learning. She has a lot of experience in national and international youth work. Since 2006 she has been actively involved in youth and sport projects in Essaouira.
• Noura Maarouf, Field Facilitator
Noura Maarouf was born in Kasbat-Tadla and raised in Zaouit- Echeikh, located in the region of Beni-Mellal. She studied at University Beni-Mellal “Sultan Moulay Slimane”. She holds a Diploma of Agricultural Studies from the Institutional of Agriculture in Khenifra “Poly Culture Elevage”. Noura has a passion for social and in 2011 she and other civil society organizers joined forces to create Assocation Ajial Al Moustkbal, which works towards capacity building and empowerment for women throughout the Ben- Mellal region. Noura speaks fluent Arabic and French, and some English. She began working with HAF in 2011 as a local facilitator in Zaouiat –Echeikh municipality.