Arab Maghreb

Morocco Appoints Former Journalist Najlae Benmbarek Director of Public Diplomacy

Morocco has appointed Najlae Benmbarek, a former magazine journalist and presenter of the “Grand Angle” show on Morocco’s 2M television channel, as director of public diplomacy. 

She will also lead Morocco’s communication with non-state actors, including national and international NGOs as well as other relevant actors for Morocco’s public policy and diplomacy ambitions.

The appointment followed the Government Council meeting on Thursday in Rabat. During its meeting, the council discussed, among other “top priority” issues, the COVID-19 crisis, foreign policy, as well as Morocco’s post-COVID-19 prospects.  

According to a government statement, another key aspect of the council meeting was proposals for appointments to various senior government positions, in accordance with the provisions of Article 92 of the Moroccan constitution.

Benmbarek’s appointment is the expression of the government’s push to broaden and consolidate Morocco’s recent diplomatic overtures on various sensitive matters, Government Spokesperson Said Amzazi suggested in his press briefing after Thursday’s meeting.   

A graduate of the Rabat Institute of Journalism, Najlae Benmbarek also holds two master’s degrees, one in European Affairs from the University of Strasbourg and the other in “major reports” journalism from the University of California, Berkeley.

After starting her career in print media, she worked at 2M as a reporter and then as a presenter for the television show “Grand Angle,” one of Morocco’s most popular investigative shows. She has won three international awards, including the International Prize for Mediterranean Documentary and Reportage in Marseilles in 2009, as well as two CNN/Multichoice African awards for Best Reporting from Africa.

Benmbarek also has under her belt notable experience in corporate management.

Read also: New, Diverse Ambassadors to Reinvigorate Moroccan Diplomacy

In addition to her rich journalistic experience, she worked as communication director for two of the most prominent players on Morocco’s socio-political scene: The General Confederation of Enterprises in Morocco (CGEM) and the Social, Economic, and Environmental Council (CESE). 

Prior to her appointment this Thursday, Najlae Benmbarek was adviser in Public Diplomacy at the Moroccan embassy in London.

According to Morocco’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, the country’s diplomacy thrived in 2019, from making notable inroads on its Western Sahara position, cementing its newfound continental leadership role, to securing new, morale-boosting new partnerships. 

While varied in its scope and practice, public diplomacy is “widely seen as the transparent means by which a sovereign country communicates with publics in other countries,” according to the University of Southern California’s Center on Public Diplomacy.  The goal is to inform and influence “audiences overseas for the purpose of promoting the national interest and advancing its foreign policy goals.” 

This means that Benmbarek’s new position will mainly consist of devising a communication plan either maintaining or expanding the inroads Morocco’s diplomacy has made in recent years. 

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