Arab World Institute Supports Maghreb Joint Bid to Add Couscous to…

Rabat – The president of the Arab World Institute (IMA), Jack Lang, expressed his “absolute support” for the Maghreb joint bid to include couscous on UNESCO’s intangible heritage list.“I am very pleased that the Maghreb countries have come together to nominate this iconic dish that is inspiring millions of people from around the world,” Lang told the Maghreb Arab Press (MAP).The former French minister of culture added that “it is fantastic that the countries and peoples of the Maghreb have come together on a cultural issue.” In March, UNESCO representatives from Morocco, Mauritania, Algeria, and Tunisia submitted a joint bid, calling on UNESCO to include the traditional dish on UNESCO’s heritage list.Morocco’s Permanent Representative at UNESCO, Zohour Alaoui, emphasized “the knowledge and the know-how of the practices related to the production and the consumption of couscous.”Read Also: Maghreb Countries Submit Candidacy to List Couscous as World Cultural HeritageShe added that the move comes in an effort to recognize “the tremendous wealth the Berber culture [has] transmitted, not only to the Maghreb countries but also in Africa, the Mediterranean, and today in the world as a whole. ”Recently, a “couscous war” broke out between Morocco and its eastern neighbor, Algeria.In December 2018, former Algerian Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia insinuated that Morocco has wrongly claimed  couscous as its own.“A neighboring country has taken credit for couscous,” said the former official.Ouyahia continued: “We have to prove them wrong. We are not saying that couscous is Algerian, but Maghrebi. We have to promote Algerian couscous, though.”The spokesperson of the government, Mustapha El Khalfi, reacted to the Algerian claims, emphasizing that “everyone knows the origins of couscous.”He added that “no one can deny” the origins of the traditional dish, implying that couscous is Moroccan through and through. read more