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Home »» Moroccan Of The Month

Ahmed Ben Thami Raiss  [ March, 2005 ]
Ahmed Ben Thami Raiss

For two years prior to my graduation from Lycee Moulay Youseff in 1962, I was lucky to be asked to be a tutor of both classical and colloquial Arabic for some officials at the American Embassy in Rabat. [One of those officials was Mr. Jeff Corydon, author of an article in the last issue of Tingis!] It was through my contact with these wonderful Americans that I received an invitation to join the Arabic Research program of Georgetown University, assisting with Dr. Richard Harrell for two years. During that time, the friends I had made while tutoring in Rabat worked to help me obtain a State Department scholarship to study in the U.S. And in 1964 I was able to enroll at the University of Arizona, where I majored in International Relations.

The summer before I was to attend the U. of A. I was selected to work with one of the early groups of Peace Corps Volunteers in their training program at Princeton University. These Volunteers were headed to Morocco and Tunisia and one of them would become my wife. In September 1964 Linda headed east to Tunisia to teach French as I headed west to begin my undergraduate studies and discover a whole new world! Linda and I married shortly before I finished my degree and we headed to back to Morocco for me to pursue my dream of becoming a foreign service officer in the Moroccan diplomatic service. However, this dream was not to materialize.

After a stint of a bit more than a year with the World Food Program in Rabat, during which Linda worked as a bi-lingual secretary at the United Nations Development Programme, we returned to the United States where I hoped to attend graduate school. While applying to graduate schools, I spent a year teaching at Trinity Pawling School in New York and adjusting to becoming a father!

In the fall of 1970, Linda, Thouraya and I headed to Athens, Ohio where I had been accepted and granted a Teaching Assistantship. Two years later, with my M.A. in hand and another daughter [Bouthayna] in tow, we headed east, settling temporarily - we thought - before returning to Morocco, where we fully expected to return and raise our family. However, the years melted away, Muhammad-Omar was born, we settled in Braintree, Massachusetts and in 2001 I retired from the faculty at Braintree High School, where I had taught American Government, Modern European History and Ancient History for 31 years.

Retirement - "jubiliacion" in Spanish - is just that! I am enjoying the new role of grandfather and have developed a passion for golf. Linda and I love to travel and recently took a fabulous three-week trip to Chile .




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