About Morocco Exchange Network

Morocco Exchange is a non-profit organization developed in response to the current world political situation and is an initiative of the cross-cultural organization Crossing Borders Education. Morocco Exchange works in collaboration with the Langcom Institute, the Asociación de Programas Universitarios Norteamericanos en España (APUNE), the University Hassan II in Rabat, the Moroccan Association of Teachers of English (MATE), the Dutch Institue for higher education in Morocco (NIMAR), the Ecole Superieure Roi Fahd de Traduction Tangier, and with NGOs such as the DARNA women’s center in Tanger, the Masal youth project in Salé, Chaouen Rural, the World Women’s Banking (WWB), and the High Atlas Foundation (HAF).
Some of the American study abroad programs in Spain (organized by APUNE) that are working with Morocco Exchange: Arcadia, Boston College, Boston University, Central College, CIEE in Sevilla, IES in Granada, New York University, Syracuse University, and University of California.
Recent Developments
Since 2003 Morocco Exchange facilitated over 500 programs and introduced more than 6000 students
and faculty to Morocco.
In May 2009 Morocco Exchange finished the production of the feature documentary "Crossing Borders" (www.crossingbordersfilm.org). In 2010 Crossing Borders has been selected at twelve International Film Festivals and won several awards.
We are actively supporting the womens' center Darna in Tangier, the youth associations Hope for Salé and Ouled el Hay in the poor neighbourhood of Salé, the Association for Subsaharan Immigrants, the High Atlas Foundation, Chaouen Rural, a Marrakech project of World Womens Banking and several individuals.
On our programs we visit families in villages of the Rif Mountains (an area where about 80% of adults and 70% of young girls are illiterate). Morocco Exchange created a way of repairing the windows, roof and toilets of the local school, meaning the lively village kids are a bit more comfortable in classes during the winter season.


Key Staff

Managing Director


ARND WÄCHTER is the Founder and Managing Director. Arnd completed his MA and Post-Graduate Certificate in Education at Brunel and London University. He has over fifteen years experience of living abroad, and has taught Cross Cultural Education, World Religions and German for the past twelve years in the UK, Japan, USA, New Zealand, Morocco and Spain. Arnd's fascination for foreign cultures and for the transformative power of journeys has led him to explore a wide range of travel destinations on six continents. In 2008/9 Arnd produced the feature-length documentary Crossing Borders which won several awards. Currently he is facilitating faculty programs for American universities, is presenting regularly at intercultural conferences, and is developing an intercultural film series in which CB-Education is partnering with Michigan State University




Project Manager Rabat and Program Leader

SARAH ROBYN caught the travel bug at a young age. Travelling extensively throughout sub-Saharan Africa, Mongolia, the Middle East, and South East Asia, its hard to picture her life back at home in the US. After graduating Temple University with at BA in Political Science, and studying abroad in Amman, Jordan, she joined the Peace Corps as a rural health educator in the Fes-Boulmane region of Morocco. After her service of over two years she chose to stay in Morocco within the field of study abroad and share her love of Arabic, Tamazight, and Moroccan culture with others.




Administration Manager

LIZZI PEARCE originally hails from London but has lived and worked in a number of different countries: Australia, Canada, Austria, France and Cyprus. After graduating with a BA Hons in Business and Tourism, most of her professional life has been in administration. She was PA for the Director of the Value, Planning and Risk Team at Davis Langdon (an international Engineering Company), a Project Officer for Kent Tourism and an Office Manager at a Design company in London. She has also worked as 1st mate on a ship in Australia and was a singer in Cyprus.  Lizzi maintains a strong interest in foreign culture and is never happier than when surrounded by people of different backgrounds. For her it’s an inspiration to discover fundamental human similarities within all differences. As Carlos Furentes once said: ‘Recognise yourself in he and she who are not like you and me’. 



Facilitator for Post-Screening Discussions

CHRISTINA TOBIAS-NAHI has been working in the International Development field for many years both abroad and in the US - most recently in the DC area as Director of Public Affairs for Islamic Relief USA where she also worked from 2006-2011. In summer 2014 she worked with the US State Department and Legacy International on an exchange program for girls bringing from the MENA region to develop their leadership skills in the US and for a couple of years with the Joint Council on International Children's Services organizations.  She worked for almost a decade in Boston at Tufts University co-running a college campus interfaith program and at Harvard University with The Civil Rights Program at the Graduate School of Education.  She holds a B.A in Ethnology from the University of Hawaii, an M.A. in International Relations from the Boston University-Paris Overseas Graduate Center and an Ed.M. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She has published several book chapters on education issues faced by immigrant children living in the US and served on the Massachusetts counsel for diversity and safe schools. She currently serves as an Oxfam Sisters on the Planet Ambassador and is a Board member of MAFRAD, Morocco American Forum for Relief and Development and travels to Morocco regularly.

Program Leader

NOOR DARWAZEH was born in Dallas, Texas but was mostly raised in Amman, Jordan where she also got her education and graduating with a BA in Graphic Design from Yarmouk University before moving back to the states. Aside from her passion to the arts she always believed in the power of communication, celebrating diversity and learning along the way. All of that was truly realized when she got introduced to an inter-cultural and inter-faith NGO in Jordan seeking common ground. Over the years that turned out to be the most amazing and nourishing experience, and it was through her volunteering work three years ago that Noor met and was introduced to the inspiring work and founder of Morocco Exchange and the documentary Crossing Borders. Noor loves reading a good book, listening to beautiful music and sketching whenever she gets a chance.tion. She has published several book chapters on education issues faced by immigrant children living in the US and served on the Massachusetts counsel for diversity and safe schools. She currently serves as an Oxfam Sisters on the Planet Ambassador and is a Board member of MAFRAD, Morocco American Forum for Relief and Development and travels to Morocco regularly.


Program Leader

CLAIRE BERGEN lives in a small Berber village 35km from Marrakech for over 7 years. She worked before in eastern France in a youth information center and as editor of a magazine of practical information. As well as being a great marathon walker she travels to India as soon as possible (Himalaya), Africa, Europe and even the United States (San Francisco New York and Washington). As a nature lover she fell under the spell of Morocco, of its geographical and cultural diversity, but also the human wealth of its inhabitants. She will never get tired and every day is a discovery. It's a bit of everything she loves to share with others.





Program Leader

TOSCA SALTZ is from Northern Wyoming and attended college in St. Paul, MN. She majored in Classical languages, and has been interested in languages and cross cultural communication throughout her studies and work experience. This led her to serve from 2013-2016 as a Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco, working at a women's center. Her experience and love of Morocco brought her to Fes, where she works as a educator.






Program Leader

MARÍA MUÑOZ knew the love for Moroccan culture when she made an exchange program at high school. This experience inspired her to start learning Arabic and studying Translation and Interpreting in Granada, Spain. She has also studied abroad two years: she stayed a year in France and one year in Tangier. Now she lives in Morocco and cannot imagine herself not bargaining when shopping or not drinking green tea with mint everyday! She loves sharing her experience with others and encouraging going deeper in the Arab and Muslim culture to remove those Occidental stereotypes that frighten people from this wonderful culture. As a language and cultural exchange lover, María speaks Spanish, English, French and classical and Moroccan Arabic and wishing to add more!





Program Leader

MELISSA TOPACIO LONG has lived in Marrakech since 2011 and develops intercultural programming for student groups. She volunteers for a youth empowerment and storytelling program called Hikayat Morocco. In 2014, her passion for creating international exchange and dialogue opportunities encouraged her to earn a master’s degree in international education at the School for International Training. She has also lived in France, where she studied, taught English, and led high school leadership programs. Melissa has traveled extensively in Latin America and in Europe; and spent time in Turkey, Tunisia, South Korea, China, and the Philippines. In her spare time she hikes, plays soccer, and does yoga. 





Program Leader

MARK MAHON has loved Morocco and the Sahara since first visiting the country in 2009. Mark joined the Peace Corps in 2013 as a youth development volunteer in Morocco, serving in a small town on the edge of the Sahara Desert. He has a passion for the entire North Africa region and for all things Moroccan, from mint tea to couscous. Mark is from Minneapolis, Minnesota. He has a BA in Political Science as well as a MA in International Affairs from American University. In his career, he has worked to bolster youth empowerment and community development priorities. Mark speaks French and Moroccan Arabic, and he tries to emulate the boundless optimism and warm hospitality of the Moroccan people.




Advisory Board 

KATHRYN MILLER is an Assistant Professor for the History Department of Stanford University. She received her Doctorate in History from Yale University in 1998. Her teaching experience includes courses in religion, medieval cultures, Islamic Law, and Mediterranean routes. She has published numerous articles on Muslim History in Spain and continues to study the historical relationship between Islam, Christianity, and Judaism.
DWIGHT F. REYNOLDS is professor of Arabic language & literature in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Over the past twenty years he has conducted fieldwork on musical, folk, and literary traditions of the Middle East in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and Turkey. Recent publications include (Cornell University Press, 1995); editor and co-author (University of California Press, 2001).
WILFORD H. WELCH, former US diplomat, chairman Cross Cultural Journeys Foundation. Wilford received his BA from Yale University, a Law Degree from the University of California at Berkeley, and a PMD degree from the Harvard Business School. For over forty years Wilford's professional career has been devoted to understanding and interpreting global trends. This includes six years as a U.S. diplomat in Asia. He currently serves on the board of Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs where he serves as board liaison to The Center for International Conflict Resolution. He is on the board of the World Affairs Council and a member of the Explorers Club.
ALI AZERIAH is professor of English and Head of the English Department of L'Ecole Superior du Traduction in Tangier, Morocco. Professor Azeriah will assist in program development and provide students with an introduction to cultural diversity in Morocco.
ALMUDENA ARIZA is an adjunct history professor for both New York University and Syracuse University in their study abroad programs in Madrid, Spain.
REINHARD HAUSER, Ph.D., is a psychologist and psychotherapist in private practice in Zurich, Switzerland and international trainer and founder of process work training programs.

 

About Morocco Exchange

Network

Morocco Exchange is a non-profit organization developed in response to the current world political situation and is an initiative of the cross-cultural organization Crossing Borders Education. Morocco Exchange works in collaboration with the Langcom Institute, the Asociación de Programas Universitarios Norteamericanos en España (APUNE), the University Hassan II in Rabat, the Moroccan Association of Teachers of English (MATE), the Dutch Institue for higher education in Morocco (NIMAR), the Ecole Superieure Roi Fahd de Traduction Tangier, and with NGOs such as the DARNA women’s center in Tanger, the Masal youth project in Salé, Chaouen Rural, the World Women’s Banking (WWB), and the High Atlas Foundation (HAF).

Some of the American study abroad programs in Spain (organized by APUNE) that are working with Morocco Exchange: Arcadia, Boston College, Boston University, Central College, CIEE in Sevilla, IES in Granada, New York University, Syracuse University, and University of California.

Recent Developments

Key Staff

Managing Director
ARND WÄCHTER is the Founder and Managing Director. Arnd completed his MA and Post-Graduate Certificate in Education at Brunel and London University. He has over fifteen years experience of living abroad, and has taught Cross Cultural Education, World Religions and German for the past twelve years in the UK, Japan, USA, New Zealand, Morocco and Spain. Arnd's fascination for foreign cultures and for the transformative power of journeys has led him to explore a wide range of travel destinations on six continents. In 2008/9 Arnd produced the feature-length documentary Crossing Borders which won several awards. Currently he is facilitating faculty programs for American universities, is presenting regularly at intercultural conferences, and is developing an intercultural film series in which CB-Education is partnering with Michigan State University.

 


Project Manager Rabat and Program Leader
SARAH ROBYN caught the travel bug at a young age. Travelling extensively throughout sub-Saharan Africa, Mongolia, the Middle East, and South East Asia, its hard to picture her life back at home in the US. After graduating Temple University with at BA in Political Science, and studying abroad in Amman, Jordan, she joined the Peace Corps as a rural health educator in the Fes-Boulmane region of Morocco. After her service of over two years she chose to stay in Morocco within the field of study abroad and share her love of Arabic, Tamazight, and Moroccan culture with others.

 



Administration Manager
ILONA KÄSTNER studied Philosophy and Cultural Science (M.A.), mythology and ancient wisdom traditions in Berlin. She has a background in storytelling and script consultancy for independent film production companies in Germany and has worked in the field of transformational education. Since 2009 she is engaged in creating opportunities for collective healing through mindfulness practices, body work and storytelling. She is a passionate dancer and Authentic Movement practitioner and is delighted to support the peace work of Crossing Borders Education and Morocco Exchange in her role as admin manager.
 

 


Facilitator for Post-Screening Discussions
CHRISTINA TOBIAS-NAHI has been working in the International Development field for many years both abroad and in the US - most recently in the DC area as Director of Public Affairs for Islamic Relief USA where she also worked from 2006-2011. In summer 2014 she worked with the US State Department and Legacy International on an exchange program for girls bringing from the MENA region to develop their leadership skills in the US and for a couple of years with the Joint Council on International Children's Services organizations.  She worked for almost a decade in Boston at Tufts University co-running a college campus interfaith program and at Harvard University with The Civil Rights Program at the Graduate School of Education.  She holds a B.A in Ethnology from the University of Hawaii, an M.A. in International Relations from the Boston University-Paris Overseas Graduate Center and an Ed.M. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She has published several book chapters on education issues faced by immigrant children living in the US and served on the Massachusetts counsel for diversity and safe schools. She currently serves as an Oxfam Sisters on the Planet Ambassador and is a Board member of MAFRAD, Morocco American Forum for Relief and Development and travels to Morocco regularly.
 

Program Leader
NOOR DARWAZEH was born in Dallas, Texas but was mostly raised in Amman, Jordan where she also got her education and graduating with a BA in Graphic Design from Yarmouk University before moving back to the states. Aside from her passion to the arts she always believed in the power of communication, celebrating diversity and learning along the way. All of that was truly realized when she got introduced to an inter-cultural and inter-faith NGO in Jordan seeking common ground. Over the years that turned out to be the most amazing and nourishing experience, and it was through her volunteering work three years ago that Noor met and was introduced to the inspiring work and founder of Morocco Exchange and the documentary Crossing Borders. Noor loves reading a good book, listening to beautiful music and sketching whenever she gets a chance.

 

Program Leader
CLAIRE BERGEN lives in a small Berber village 35km from Marrakech for over 7 years. She worked before in eastern France in a youth information center and as editor of a magazine of practical information. As well as being a great marathon walker she travels to India as soon as possible (Himalaya), Africa, Europe and even the United States (San Francisco New York and Washington). As a nature lover she fell under the spell of Morocco, of its geographical and cultural diversity, but also the human wealth of its inhabitants. She will never get tired and every day is a discovery. It's a bit of everything she loves to share with others.

 

 

Program Leader
TOSCA SALTZ is from Northern Wyoming and attended college in St. Paul, MN. She majored in Classical languages, and has been interested in languages and cross cultural communication throughout her studies and work experience. This led her to serve from 2013-2016 as a Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco, working at a women's center. Her experience and love of Morocco brought her to Fes, where she works as a educator.

 

 

 

Program Leader
MARÍA MUÑOZ knew the love for Moroccan culture when she made an exchange program at high school. This experience inspired her to start learning Arabic and studying Translation and Interpreting in Granada, Spain. She has also studied abroad two years: she stayed a year in France and one year in Tangier. Now she lives in Morocco and cannot imagine herself not bargaining when shopping or not drinking green tea with mint everyday! She loves sharing her experience with others and encouraging going deeper in the Arab and Muslim culture to remove those Occidental stereotypes that frighten people from this wonderful culture. As a language and cultural exchange lover, María speaks Spanish, English, French and classical and Moroccan Arabic and wishing to add more!

 



Program Leader
MELISSA TOPACIO LONG has lived in Marrakech since 2011 and develops intercultural programming for student groups. She volunteers for a youth empowerment and storytelling program called Hikayat Morocco. In 2014, her passion for creating international exchange and dialogue opportunities encouraged her to earn a master’s degree in international education at the School for International Training. She has also lived in France, where she studied, taught English, and led high school leadership programs. Melissa has traveled extensively in Latin America and in Europe; and spent time in Turkey, Tunisia, South Korea, China, and the Philippines. In her spare time she hikes, plays soccer, and does yoga.

 



Program Leader
MARK MAHON has loved Morocco and the Sahara since first visiting the country in 2009. Mark joined the Peace Corps in 2013 as a youth development volunteer in Morocco, serving in a small town on the edge of the Sahara Desert. He has a passion for the entire North Africa region and for all things Moroccan, from mint tea to couscous. Mark is from Minneapolis, Minnesota. He has a BA in Political Science as well as a MA in International Affairs from American University. In his career, he has worked to bolster youth empowerment and community development priorities. Mark speaks French and Moroccan Arabic, and he tries to emulate the boundless optimism and warm hospitality of the Moroccan people.

 


Advisory Board

 

KATHRYN MILLER is an Assistant Professor for the History Department of Stanford University. She received her Doctorate in History from Yale University in 1998. Her teaching experience includes courses in religion, medieval cultures, Islamic Law, and Mediterranean routes. She has published numerous articles on Muslim History in Spain and continues to study the historical relationship between Islam, Christianity, and Judaism.

DWIGHT F. REYNOLDS is professor of Arabic language & literature in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Over the past twenty years he has conducted fieldwork on musical, folk, and literary traditions of the Middle East in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and Turkey. Recent publications include (Cornell University Press, 1995); editor and co-author (University of California Press, 2001).

WILFORD H. WELCH, former US diplomat, chairman Cross Cultural Journeys Foundation. Wilford received his BA from Yale University, a Law Degree from the University of California at Berkeley, and a PMD degree from the Harvard Business School. For over forty years Wilford's professional career has been devoted to understanding and interpreting global trends. This includes six years as a U.S. diplomat in Asia. He currently serves on the board of Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs where he serves as board liaison to The Center for International Conflict Resolution. He is on the board of the World Affairs Council and a member of the Explorers Club.

ALI AZERIAH is professor of English and Head of the English Department of L'Ecole Superior du Traduction in Tangier, Morocco. Professor Azeriah will assist in program development and provide students with an introduction to cultural diversity in Morocco.

ALMUDENA ARIZA is an adjunct history professor for both New York University and Syracuse University in their study abroad programs in Madrid, Spain.

REINHARD HAUSER, Ph.D., is a psychologist and psychotherapist in private practice in Zurich, Switzerland and international trainer and founder of process work training programs.