Experts from all over the world will be in Rabat, Morocco from September 22nd to October 2nd to take part to three important events on durum wheat and genetics www.cropgs.com
- 2nd workshop on Genomic Selection in plant breeding from theory to practice
September 22nd to 28th
- 1st International Symposium on Genomic Selection for Crop Breeding
September 29th and 30rd
- Meeting of the Expert Working Group in Durum Wheat Breeding and Genetics
Rabat, October 1st and 2nd
All the events will take place at Icarda Headquarter in Rabat. This is the new building donated by Inra Morocco to Icarda and recently refurbished. It is located inside the gated campus of Inra at the edge of the city of Rabat. It holds 6 research laboratories, 30 International Scientists, and a small conference room with the capacity to host 70 attendees.
The workshop on Genomic Selection
This event is a practical and theoretical training. It aims to expand the community of breeders capable of conducting genomic selection as part of their programs.
The attendees will learn how to make decisions and how to get outcomes from their investments in this new technology.
Further, all statistical models needed to perform this analysis will be presented and practically used to obtain actual results. All codes will be freely shared with the attendees. Real examples from maize and wheat genomic selection breeding programs will be presented and used to train the attendees.
This event is organized as collaboration between Icarda Dr. Filippo Bassi and the Swedish University of Agriculture in Alnarp (Slu) Professor Rodomiro Ortiz.
Two trainers have been invited for the workshop: Professor Jose’ Crossa and Dr. Paulino Rodriguez (Cimmyt). They are top class researchers that have already conducted this type of training several times, including in October 2014 in Alnarp.
The workshop will be spread over a period of 5 days with the mornings dedicated to theoretical studies and the afternoons spent doing practical statistical analysis.
- Who should attend: early and midcareer scientists that wish to learn the nuts and bolts on how to conduct genomic selection as part of their breeding or research programs.
- The space is limited to 30 seats. Deadline of Registration : 20 August 2016.
- For further information and to register: http://www.cropgs.com
The International Symposium on Genomic Selection for Crop Breeding
A one-stop networking and learning opportunity to look at the current state of the art of genomic selection in crop breeding programs around the world. This event aims at bringing together European, North-African, and other International scientists with a strong focus in genomic selection.
The floor will be shared by breeders, biometricians, and biotechnolgists with experiences in various crops. Wheat, durum, legumes, maize, and barley will be used as major examples, but all crops will be considered part of the discussion. The organizers aim is to develop an environment to promote discussions among the participants and ensure that networking is a key outcome. The final piece is the inclusion of market experts to help crop breeders develop economic selection indexes to be deployed in genomic selection algorithms.
The Round table
On Friday 30rd a Round table will take place. Title: “Q&A on the how/when/where GS lead”, by a panel of experts. Confirmed speakers are: Wayne Powell (chair), Chief Science Officer Cgiar; Michael Baum (co-chair), Director of Biological and Integrated Gene Management Program Icarda; Jose’ Crossa, Senior Biometrician Cimmyt; Curtis J Pozniak, Professor and Breeder University of Saskatchewan; Alison R Bentley, Scientist Niab John Bingham Laboratory; Mustapha Labhilili, Biotechnologist Inra Morocco; Filippo Bassi, Durum Breeder Icarda; Rodomiro Ortiz, Professor of Genetics and Plant Breeding Swedish University of Agriculture in Alnarp (Slu); Veronique Alary, Cirad – Icarda; and Paulino Perez, Cimmyt.
Who should attend
The 1st International Symposium on Genomic Selection for Crop Breeding is organized by Icarda with the help of Avenue media.
- Who should attend: early, mid, and senior career scientists interested in learning the basic concept and constrains of GS or in shearing their experience in the field. Representatives of the industry are also welcome to seek key public partners for promoting the application of this technology into breeding and to share their experience in implementing it.
- The number of seats for attending this event is limited at 50. Deadline of Registration : 20 August 2016.
- For further information and to register: http://www.cropgs.com
The Meeting of the Experts
Meeting of the Expert Working Group in Durum Wheat Breeding and Genetics main focus is to bring together the steering committee and other EWG members to discuss the global state of durum wheat breeding, genetics, and industry. The committee is expected to deliberate on the future actions, and on the progresses of two main initiatives underway: sequencing the durum wheat genome and the establishment of a durum wheat reference collection for the exchange of useful traits.
- Who should attend: Inscribed members of the EWG in Durum Wheat. Scientists with a focus on durum wheat breeding and genetics that wish to be registered as part of the durum wheat EWG.
- This is an event on invitation only, but all people that wish to attend can contact the EWG chairs to be considered for participation: Luigi Cattivelli (firstname.lastname@example.org) Roberto Tuberosa (email@example.com).
- For further information and to register: http://www.cropgs.com
What to see in Rabat
The best moment to visit Morocco is in fall. This is the season for rest: nights are longer and temperatures fall inland. The winter rains have not yet arrived and it is still pleasant to swim in the sea.
Rabat is a main university town and the capital of the Kingdom of Morocco. The city is located on the Atlantic Ocean at the mouth of the Bou Regreg River. On the facing shore of the river lies Salé. Rabat and Salé maintain important textile, food processing and construction industries; some are from sweatshop labor by major multinational corporations. The tourism and the presence of all foreign embassies in Morocco serve to make Rabat the second most important city in the country after the larger and more economically significant Casablanca.
But what can you see in Rabat? During your tour you will learn Rabat’s history and enjoy its beautiful domes, minarets, wide avenues and green spaces.
Take a walk around the picturesque Almohad northern walls of the Oudaïa Kasbah. Visit Bab Oudaïa, a monumental gate and example of Almohad military architecture. See the Musée de Oudaïa, Moulay Ismaïl’s palace exhibiting collections of Moroccan folk art. Before moving on to city Medina, relax in the Moorish style Andalusian garden.
In the Medina, go through the labyrinth of souks and artisan shops. Protected by powerful ramparts, it reflects the soul of the old Almohad city. Souika street and its shops present magnificent rugs, the delicate work of copperware artisans, succulent pastries and appetizing brochettes. On Thursdays there is a carpet auction. Take note of the ornamental motifs and moldings arranged on the doors of the residential area.
Walk the famous and lively Rue des Consuls where foreign consuls were once obliged to live. Browse shops selling clothes, shoes, food and other crafts. This place is flanked by elegant residences where the craftmen practice their art under the watchful eyes of passersby. South of the Rue Souk visit the Mellah, the Jewish quarter.
For lunch, settle on traditional Moroccan food in one of the restaurants within the Medina. Tarik El Marsa street, which runs along the Andalusian wall, also boasts a full panorama of the crafts practiced here for centuries.
Next, continue to the Hassan tower, which stands on the hill overlooking the Wadi Bou Regreg. It is a gigantic mosque, emblematic of Rabat and famous for its unfinished minaret where storks nest.
Next door, visit the beautiful Mausoleum of Mohammed V decorated with stained glass windows, white marble and a wrought-iron entryway with a stairway leading to an impressive dome.
Also on the list is Ville Nouvelle. The new town has wide boulevards, open green spaces and avenues lined with residential blocks, a railroad, the Bank of Morocco, Musée de la Poste and the cathedral of Saint -Pierre.
In the historical heart of Rabat there is a fortress erected at the edge of the Rabat medina: the Oudayas Kasbah, which keeps over the city. The magnificent gate pierces the elaborate walls of the citadel and opens on Jamaâ street.
On the left stands the city’s oldest mosque, El Atiqa, which was built in 1150. Its white-washed houses give the city that Mediterranean character. Your walk could end at café Maure, where the view of the bay and Salé is breathtaking.
The magnificent Bab Rouah, the “Gate of the Winds”, is monumental. It stands out for the richness of its adornments. It has become a gallery for exhibitions. Under the elaborate arches of the four square rooms, the works of famous Moroccan artists have found their venue.
The Chellah necropolis is a peaceful place. The last residence of the Merinide sovereigns, it is protected by imposing walls, where storks like to build their nests. This is also where the old Roman city of Salé uses to be. You will admire the ruins of a triumphal arch, the forum, thermal bathes and several shops.
Rabat is home to two remarkable museum: the archaeological museum and its impressive collection of ancient relics, and the Oudayas Museum, with its array of marvels of Moroccan crafts, of which the Andalusian gardens, a haven of peacefulness and freshness are a work of art in their own right.
Shopping starts on the Rue des Consuls in the Medina. In addition to silver jewelry, the place is famous for its rugs. The traditional rug of Rabat is fine, with short, often red wool with a medallion in the shape of a diamond at its centre. These rugs are qualified as urban as opposed to the rural products from the Atlas. Their auction sale on Monday and Thursday mornings is an unforgettable moment. As you exit the Oudayas Kasbah, take the time to linger in all the Tarik El Marsa arts and crafts boutiques. Here, some of the most beautiful rbati arts and crafts are found in a single place. The same can be said for El Oulja, the potters village on the road to Meknes. The artisans use clay from the neighbouring quarries to shape the typical objects of daily life in addition to true works of art. Many items of basketwork are also produced here.
One of the remarkable things about Morocco is the harmonious blend of tradition and modernity. One of the largest shopping centers in Africa opened recently in Rabat. And this mall is not the city’s only s shopping center. Most of the local and international luxury boutiques are located along Mohammed V Avenue, the new city’s true administrative and commercial nerve center. You’ll also find a number of stores in the upscale quarters like Agdal, which is particularly lively.
Money and banks
The national currency in Morocco is the dirham. It cannot be converted outside the Kingdom’s borders, so don’t forget to exchange money or bring other means of payment.
Currency exchange: the importation and exportation of Moroccan currency is strictly forbidden. However there is no limit on the importation of foreign currency. On presentation of your exchange permit, you can exchange the international currency of your choice for dirhams.
Where can you change money? There are bureaux de change in airports, certain hotels and most banks. Some counters require your passport for the transaction. Remember to change the dirhams you have left before leaving. You cannot do this for more than 50% of the amount exchanged for your vacation.
Advantage of credit/charge cards: Find out from your bank where you can withdraw cash with your credit/charge card. Banking establishments in large Moroccan cities are often equipped with ATMs. Exchange money as you need it. The vast majority of purchases or services are paid for in cash, after the usual negotiation…
Passports, visas and embassies
Being in possession of a valid passport is compulsory. Whether you need a visa depends on your nationality. Embassies and consulates can direct you before and during your journey.
To avoid any misunderstandings during your stay in Morocco, check that you have a valid passport in your possession and a copy of the address of the hotel. This address will be required by the custom officials.
No visa is required for European Union nationals or those from Switzerland and Canada. For all nationalities, the maximum length of a tourist visit is 90 days.
When preparing for your departure, note the contact details for your embassy and the regional consulates. You can renew your papers there in the event of loss and obtain all sorts of advice (health, safety, etc.). In general, all diplomatic offices have an emergency number to be called in emergencies. Most of the time an administrative department will be able to help you, even in the event of an emergency.