Politics

Morocco's First First Lady

Lalla Salma broadens the role of women in Africa

June 07th, 2016
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After marrying the king of Morocco in 2002, Lalla Salma has brought a breath of fresh air to the Kingdom with her modern views on the world. Far from being merely the wife of Mohammed VI', she is an example for all the women of Africa and the world in general.

Lalla Salma's story is marks a new trend in Morocco. The kings of Morocco were formerly polygamists and their wives hidden behind a niqab, the traditional veil. However, Lalla Salma is the only wife of the current king and she is both educated and emancipated. She attended the ENS school in Morocco and then went to one of the most prestigious schools of the country, where she met her future husband. Lalla Salma was recently given the title of princess, an honor normally only reserved for the children of the king.

She also attends events the king is too busy to attend himself. It is the first time in the history of the country that the wife of the king has been presented to the people. This has had the effect of making the king more human and closer to his people, without desacralising him. Lalla Salma represents the future of Moroccan women. The King wishes to see Moroccan women be 'independent and modern while still attached to traditions'.

The princess is an engineer but is also active in humanitarian actions and scientific research. Indeed, she is well-known for having created a foundation bearing her name to aide cancer patients. Since its creation eleven year ago, millions of people have been tested, treated and awareness of the illness has been raised. Moreover, the princess embodies a new culture in the diplomacy practiced by First Ladies. Indeed, she has very good relationships with the Queen of Jordain and the First Lady of Senegal.

In 2011, she delivered a speech at the United Nations starting that she welcomes ‘all the First Ladies of Africa (...) and we know that women are the future of power in Africa'. Lalla Salma is creating a small but progressive revolution in Morocco and also in Africa, using her status of First Lady to improve the relationship of her country with others and to promote numerous humanitarian action.

References

Cultural Diplomacy News
Julie Essertel, CD News