Honorary Degree Recipient
Doctor of Laws
System Academic Administration, December 4, 2007
Mohamed Benaissa received a bachelor's degree in communications from the University of Minnesota in 1963. After studying at Columbia University, he went on to serve the United Nations and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization for approximately eleven years. He returned to his hometown Asilah in 1976 and served in a variety of positions including City Council member and president, and then mayor. In 1993, he was selected Morocco's Ambassador to the U.S. by His Majesty King Hassan II and then as Morocco's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation starting in 1999 to the present. As Minister, his major accomplishments include the establishment of a "new strategic relationship between the U.S. and Morocco," conflict mediation in parts of the Middle East, the expansion of cross-cultural linkages, trade agreements, and the establishment of Morocco as a "Non-NATO" ally of the U.S. He co-chaired a forum directed at democratic reform in the countries of the G-8 and Middle East/North Africa region with former Secretary of State Colin Powell and Treasury Secretary, John Snow. Largely because of him, the U.S. Congress established the "Friends of Morocco in Congress." He is described as a man of diplomacy and a man of culture, and one of the University's most distinguished alumni.
Biographies are as-of time of award presentation.