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M Jan Rumi, Honorary Consul of Morocco in Hawaii

M Jan Rumi


Office of the Morocco Honorary Consul

1419 Sixteenth Ave

Honolulu, Hawaii 96816-4303 USA



Morocco in Hawaii

Testimonial from Reynold Feldman, PhD

I am writing this as a charter member of Hawaii's Friends of Morocco, an informal group that understands why relations between our island state of 1.2 million and the North African Kingdom of 35-40 million is significant and should our help.

My initial involvement came as a member of the Community Mentors Committee, chaired by Dr. Maeona Mendelson, that took a delegation of 14 high-school and college students from Hawaii to Morocco for the Second World Congress of Youth in August 2003.  One of the other adults, Mr M Jan Rumi, accompanied his son Fayez, one of the youth delegates.  For a number of reasons Jan was later named Morocco's Honorary Consul in Hawaii.

Like other of the adults involved in this project, I came away extremely impressed by the people, the beautiful country, and the leadership of Morocco.  I have been there three times thus far, most recently this July, and will be playing a leadership role in an international education conference (on human-centered education) there, near Fez, this coming July.  I may also get involved in a regional-development project in the Northeastern part of the country that affects the indigenous Berber people.

Why I believe this relationship, between Hawaii and the far-away Kingdom of Morocco, is so important is Morocco's desire to be mentored by Hawaii, not only in matters of tourism (it is also Morocco's number-one business in dollar terms), but also to become the major catalyst for moderation and Aloha in the Muslim and Arabic Worlds.  The Moroccans were the source of the Andalusian Muslim dynasty in Spain where for several hundred years at least Jews, Christians, and Muslims were able to live in peace, harmony, and fruitful collaboration.  Some of the greatest works of architecture, poetry, philosophy, theology, and music came from that epoch from members of all three Abrahamic faiths.

Apparently leaders in Morocco would like to reclaim that heritage in becoming a, if not the, major voice for moderate Islam throughout the Muslim world.  And a number of those leaders have come to see our state as a kind of role model for tolerant, respectful, productive living across all kinds of differences.  I personally (as a Jewish-Catholic) am excited to see the possibility of our state becoming more than just one of the world's premier holiday destinations.  Beyond our beautiful geography and incomparable climate, what we may really have going for us is our social climate, our Aloha spirit.  Perfect, of course, it's notwe're not.  But relative to most of the rest of the world, Hawaii may just harbor the secret to enable all of us and the Planet to reach Century 22 intact.  That's why I think of Hawaii, potentially at least, as "the capital of the 21st Century"the place that shows the rest of the world that cross-ethnic, cross-racial, cross-cultural, and cross-religions relations can be sources of creativity rather than misunderstanding and violence.  If we have our wits about us, we may just begin producing and exporting the one thing most needful in the world right nowthe Aloha Vaccine.

So, that's why I am buzzed about the developing relationship between us and Morocco, led by Jan, Mae, and others.  Also, I see where we might train selected government, NGO, educational, and commercial (especially tourism) leaders of Morocco here in English (their second language is French), our way of doing things (including enterprise), the ways of democracy, volunteerism, andyesAloha.  The other side of the coin is, we can begin to import the wonderful leather goods, ceramics, carved wood, clothing, spices, and foods of that world of 1001 Nights and begin, through exchanges, to develop a generation of our youth who can speak French and Arabic, have lived and worked (or volunteered) in Morocco, and who know and have regard for Islam, the Qu'ran, and some fellow human beings who happen to be Muslims.

I'll end there, but I hope you get a sense of how profoundly important successful, mutually fruitful relations between our former kingdom and Morocco's current one might be and how, if we play our cards right, Hawaii can become a kind of Switzerland of the Pacifica place whose catalytic importance in world affairs far outweighs its small size or physical beauty.  That is, Hawaii like Switzerland could be a headquarters for brokering agreements based on international understanding and common humanity despite differences of nationality, religion, ethnicity, race, etc.

So, my friend, I hope this writing will help you put into context why this developing set of relations, though small potatoes now, could become one of tomorrow's biggest stories and that you will be motivated to come in before it all happens and in a way help midwife it into existence.  That would be awesome all around.



Reynold Feldman, PhD
Executive Director,

2005-2009, Honorary Consul of the Kingdom of Morocco in Hawaii.  All rights reserved.

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Date last updated:  19 November 2009