Moroccan Minister of Culture Mohamed Amine Sbihi
Casablanca - Raja Battaoui
In an interview with Arabstoday, Moroccan Minister of Culture Mohamed Amine Sbihi described his quest to use the resources of the Constitution to encourage culture and creativity. He revealed the reasons for his statement and his relationship with his Ismail Alaoui. He also gave an overview of the programme, which he is working on for the development of the field of culture in Morocco and the reformation of conditions of the the artists and intellectuals.
Arabstoday: you hold a PhD in mathematical sciences, he was a lecturer professor in mathematics in Montreal. Why did you choose to be a minister of culture and not for any other ministerial position that relates with your scientific qualifications?
Mohamed Amine Sbihi: First of all, I would like to point out that my duty to bear the management responsibility of the cultural sector within the government team, came according to the organisational rules adopted by “Hazib Al Takadom wa Al Ashtrakya” (Party of Progress and Socialism), to which I belong. My experience as an administrator for the education and training sector in the party and working together with a group of colleagues for years enabled me to look closely at issues of education to formulate a project draft and propose possible solutions to promote this vital sector for Moroccan society. This is a strategic theme in the progressive modernist community project of our Party. Therefore, we consider the cultural issue with all its meanings, its components, and its community tributaries and dimensions, is ultimately a reflection, integration and expression of the contents and values ??that Moroccan schools teach. Most important of all, the honorable duty of managing this sector goes with the strong political management that encourages us to improve the cultural sector to be one of the fundamental pillars of integrated development in our country. For our awareness of the role of culture in the development of knowledge and values which weave bonds with the homeland and to highlight the meaning of citizenship in all dimensions of community at home and in the relationship with other humanitarian cultures which make me as minister of culture appreciate the high responsibility of this political and managerial task.
AT: Can the Moroccan artist and creative today say that with you he regained losses in the era of former Culture Minister Ben Salem Himmich?A
MAS: Personally I cannot imagine things in accordance with the comparison that you mentioned, but I use in my approach to the situation, the principle beliefs and requirements of the government programme to which I referred earlier and I hope so much to make this strategy a natural and necessary entrance to honour the intellectuals, writers and creators in recognition of their leading roles in the enrichment of the national cultural and creative horizon and to contribute to a renewed vision for the revitalization of culture and art.
AT: Retirement, health coverage, working conditions, intellectuals, the lack of theaters and the relationship between the intellectuals and the ministry. All are heavy files on the table of the Ministry of Culture, what are you going to do to address them?
MAS: Since my appointment, I held a series of meetings with various bodies at cultural, artistic and professional events that belong to the sector in order to listen to ideas, proposals and legitimate demands of the creators. I can say that the dialogue was in a responsible and communicative atmosphere in these meetings. With the same positive spirit, we will continue to work with all partners in the area, as we will examine their demands and give them proper discussion so all of us can engage in a new start for establishing a relationship of cooperation and integration between the Ministry of Culture, creators and artists.
I greatly understand much of the aspirations expressed and the ministry is ready to work to overcome the obstacles and constraints of the past to move strongly and hopefully to the future. For my part, I consider that honouring the writers and creators and taking care of their social situation, health and other issues constitutes one of the pillars of the new ministry policy. On the other hand, our will to proceed with the development of a cultural policy based on expanding the areas of cultural activation and universalising its benefits at both the territorial and local partnership of elected bodies and open the way for partnerships with civil society and the private sector, something which will enable the improvement and development in the sector's current institutional balance, and enable the creation of theaters, a new cultural spaces. I have a well-established belief that culture has become one of the main factors to push sustainable development, and if we certainly won the economic, social, and political bet.
AT: The Morocco Book Award results mostly did not satisfy intellectuals and writers and was the subject of criticism. How would the Ministry of Culture bring back the value of the Book Awards and its transparency and credibility?
MAS:All I can do is to emphasize that the new approach to this file will be on the basis of transparency, credibility and intellectual integrity that serve culture, knowledge and creativity and not to any other considerations.
AT: How can you successfully combine the fields of thought, politics and associative work?
MAS: I was lucky that I grew up in a family saturated with values ??and appreciation for national sciences, culture and books and this is what made me motivated for science, knowledge, and getting on the right academic path thank God. In parallel to that, since I was a college student I had a special awareness of major political home issues, so I joined “Hazib Al Taskadom Wa Al Ashtakya” (Party of Progress and Socialism), and moved in its structures and the ranks since 1975 and to this day. Being engaged in the public domain and seeking to participate in spreading the values ??of citizenship and modernity, democracy sought by our party, made me get involved in a practical and automatically in a dynamic civil society and especially the Slaoui associative fabric, where I was one of the founders of “ Sala Al Mostaqbal” (the Future Sala).