• 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.
• Amina Elhajjami Program Director, National Endowment for Democracy for Province Al Haouz and Taroudant
Amina was born in the Al Haouz Province near Marrakech. She received a Bachelor’s Degree in geography from Cadi Ayyad University of Marrakech in 2010. While studying she volunteered with associations in Marrakech and Al Haouz that were involved with local sustainable development. After graduating she worked with the association N'fis pour le Développement Economique et Social in the Al Haouz province for three years. While working with the association she received various certifications relating to her professional development. Amina speaks Arabic, French, and Berber.
•Fatima Baamrani, Project Manager in Taroudante Province
Fatima Baamrani studied biology in Marrakech at University of Cadi Ayyad University. She received a diploma in information technologies at ESGI in Ouarzazate. After her studies she worked as a trainer with MEDA MAROC providing youth ages 15 – 25 with financial education, as well as life and entrepreneurial skills. Before joining the High Atlas Foundation Fatima worked in hospital administration for hemodialysis services. While at the hospital she also worked with the Ministry of Education in Ouarzazate teaching illiterate women how to read and write with the Association of El Michaal. Currently, Fatima joined HAF in 2012 and now works with cooperatives, nurseries, organic certification, and various development projects in the Taroudante Province.
• 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.
• 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, program 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.
• Caroline Hoffmann, Report and Public Information Officer
Caroline Hoffmann manages HAF's public information and image, including social media and newsletter campaigns, while also assisting with grant proposals and development. She began working with HAF as an intern while completing a Boren Fellowship in Marrakech and Meknes, and continued to work for the Foundation after graduating from New York University with a Master of Arts in European and Mediterranean Studies. Her educational background is in history, economics, and Middle East studies, with a focus on the society, culture, and politics of the Maghreb.
• 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 and a diploma in business management. 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 office manager 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.
• 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.
• 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.
• Hicham El Alami, Project Assistant
Born and raised in Casablanca, Hicham moved to Ifrane to seek a bachelors degree in computer science at Al Akhawayn University. He speaks English, French and Arabic, and enjoys traveling and international experiences. Before joining HAF, Hicham volunteered with social student associations working to improve the life Ifrane region, including: Hand-in-Hand, Service Learning, and Design for Change. Hicham joined HAF in October 2014 and is responsible for assisting the implementation of HAF's projects in the Ifrane region.
• Oumaïma Fassi Fihri, Project Assistant
Oumaïma Fassi Fihri is a student at Al Akhawayn University. She is working on a Bachelor of Art in International Studies with a concentration in International Relations and a double minor in African and Asian Studies. She did a lot of volunteering and charity work and is very interested in social and cultural issues. She started being sensitive to the environmental cause at a very young age and had the opportunity to represent Morocco at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris to defend a sustainable development project. She speaks French, Arabic (classical and Darija), English, and, less fluently, Japanese as she gives a great importance to languages and communication. Oumaïma joined High Atlas Foundation in October 2014 to assist the implementation of HAF's projects in the Ifrane region and, thus, try to improve life in Ifrane and the Middle Atlas.
• Ida Sophie Winter, Project Assistant
Ida Sophie Winter is a student at the University of Missouri-Columbia, where she studies Arabic and German and is majoring in Journalism, French and International Studies. Currently, she is spending an academic year at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane as a Boren Scholar. Ms. Winter is originally from Wisconsin.