Teacher and author Ahmed Benjelloun has a PhD in economics and management. As Director of Communications at the ISTH (a tourism and hospitality institute founded by his family) in Fès, Morocco, he is a keen innovator. Meet him below.
What did you study?
I have a vocational bachelor’s degree in international management plus a research master’s in management sciences (I specialised in marketing, logistics and international trade) from the Ecole Nationale de Commerce et de Gestion, Fès, Morocco. In July 2018 I also obtained (with distinction) a PhD in economics and management from Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah University, Fès. My thesis title was ‘Cultural Marketing as a Vehicle for Promoting the City of Fès’.
Can you tell us more about your career?
From the very beginning of my higher education I was actively involved in cultural events in the city of Fès. I helped organise numerous festivals, chief amongst which were the World Sacred Music Festival and a Sufi culture festival.
After obtaining my master’s I immediately began working at the ISTH – a private vocational training institution founded by my parents in 2004. My mother graduated from Paris-Sorbonne University in 1974. She had also worked as HR director for a major public company. As for my father, he was a lawyer and graduated from the tourism institutes in Tanger and Nice (1975). Having worked as an entrepreneur, he later became a consultant for the tourism, hospitality and leisure sector.
What makes the ISTH different?
The ISTH has been training tourism, hospitality and catering staff since 2004. All our degrees are accredited by the Moroccan government. In 2007 we expanded our course catalogue by joining the Federation for Education in Europe. We now offer bachelor’s degrees in tourism and hospitality, marketing and communications, as well as European master’s degrees in management and tourism strategy and in human resources management.
What exactly is your role at the ISTH ?
When I took up my post at the ISTH I began a major modernisation project, focusing in particular on creating a younger, more dynamic brand image and a new visual identity (logo, graphic design, website, communications, media etc.). I have also helped develop partnerships with institutions and professionals in the tourism sector, which is important to ensure our courses meet the current needs of employers, but also, of course, generates internship opportunities for our students and job opportunities for our graduates. Apart from that, I have always been passionate about teaching and have always known that education was my vocation. In the past I have myself taught the marketing, management and intercultural management modules for our bachelor’s and master’s students.
Do you teach anywhere else in Morocco?
I’ve taught marketing, management and entrepreneurship at the Ecole Supérieure de Technologie de Fès (a higher education institution). That was an excellent experience, since I had studied there for three years myself. Since the beginning of this year I have also been teaching as a non-staff lecturer at the Université Euro-Méditerranéenne in Fès: I teach marketing and management at their business school as well as a separate marketing module that is part of the International Master’s in Tourism and Heritage – a double-degree programme organised in partnership with Paris Pantheon-Sorbonne University.
Your passion for the city of Fès and your knowledge of the tourism sector have also been the subject of a book…
Yes, indeed. In fact, today is a special day because I’ve just had my first book Fès, destination du tourisme culturel accepted by a publisher. It’s going to be released in May. I would be honoured to present a copy to the FEDE Chairwoman Claude Vivier Le Got. I hope it will inspire her to visit Fès!
What was your experience of the FEDE’s General Assembly in Malaga?
I had already attended the General Assembly in Lisbon, which was a wonderful experience both professionally and personally. The 2019 GA was also excellent: well-organised, with interesting workshops, plenty of useful information and an excellent atmosphere. This GA, as in previous years, was an excellent opportunity for meeting other FEDE member institutions, particularly via the academic dating event, which gave us the chance to discuss collaborative projects with other institutions (student exchanges, skill sharing etc.).
I am looking forward to next year’s GA!