Then and Now
The first American Language Center (ALC) in Morocco was founded by the United States Information Service (USIS) in the late 1950s in Rabat. During the 1960s, USIS opened the American Bookstores (ABS) in Casablanca and Rabat, as well as other ALCs around the country. In the early 1970s there were six Centers: Casablanca, Fes, Marrakesh, Meknes, Rabat and Tangier.
At that time a need to create an entity separate from the US Embassy that could manage the ALCs and ABSs was perceived, and the American Cultural Association was established. In 1978, a change of policy dictated that USIS begin the process of withdrawing from direct involvement in the field of teaching English as a Foreign Language (EFL). As a consequence, the position of English Teaching Officer, one of whose responsibilities was to act as general director of the ALCs and ABSs, was eliminated. The board of directors of the ACA was expanded, and the association was strengthened and invested with all the equipment, inventories and other tangibles that the ALCs and ABSs possessed.
Beginning with the 1978-79 academic year, USIS formally dissociated itself from the ACA and the current management structure of the ALCs/ABSs was put in place. In response to requests from local authorities for Centers in their cities, the 1980s saw the initiation of a period of expansion for the ACA, beginning with the founding of ALC Tetouan, administratively a branch of ALC Tangier. This expansionary mode continued into the 1990s, with branch Centers established in Kenitra in 1988, in Meknes and Mohammedia the following year, and in Agadir in 1992. In 1997, a change
in management structure brought about the end of the American Bookstore as a separate entity, the ABSs of Casablanca and Rabat being absorbed into the ALCs of those cities.
In addition to their primary activity of language teaching, the Centers provide to their students and members a wide variety of other cultural and educational activities. Some examples of activities currently being offered are library facilities, listening labs, drama clubs, poetry clubs, multimedia computer labs, video series/discussion groups, excursions, newspapers/letters, quiz nights, literary clubs, and concerts. Please see our list of free learning activities here.