Amazigh Culture in Morocco

The Amazigh Cultural Center was founded in 2003. The Amazigh people are the native inhabitants of North Africa who have lived in the Maghreb since before the arrival of Islam in the seventh century. The Amazigh Cultural Center focuses on the preservation and promotion of the Amazigh language and culture in the Maghreb. About 60 percent of the population in Morocco is of Amazigh descent. This compares with much smaller minorities in Mauritania, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt. According to the new constitution, drafted in 2011, Amazigh is now a national language, along with Arabic. The Amazigh Cultural Center works to standardize the Amazigh language, as there are several variants of the language used across the Maghreb. The center also produces materials and trainings for teachers across Morocco. There is also a department of translation within the center that works to translate important works of literature into Amazigh, as well as translating books originally in Amazigh to other major languages. The department of computer science at the center worked with Microsoft to introduce the Amazigh alphabet in Windows in 2012. UNESCO filed a report saying that the Amazigh language will be extinct by 2050 if nothing is done but the center is working to prevent that.