The CD4D impact does not end with the short-term assignments in countries of origin. On the contrary, many diaspora experts manage to extend their impact far beyond. We contacted a participant from the first phase of the CD4D project, who went to Morocco in 2015 to participate in the project. His impact remains visible up until this day.
Younous Arbaoui is an assistant professor at the Amsterdam Centre for Migration and Refugee Law at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. He teaches courses on migration and human rights while conducting his own research on global migration law. Besides his activities in the Netherlands, he remains connected to his country of origin – Morocco – through the legal clinic named Clinique Juridique Hijra (Hijra means ‘migration’ in Arabic).
Younous’ passion for teaching started in Morocco, where he worked as a teacher before moving to Amsterdam in 2004 for his studies in International Law. In 2015, he wanted to transfer his knowledge back to his country of origin and CD4D offered him the opportunity to do so. During his assignment, Younous trained Moroccan civil society organizations working in the field of migration. This context fostered new connections in Morocco, which led him to found Clinique Juridique Hijra. “I had the opportunity to establish the Clinique Juridique Hijra providing free legal aid to migrants in Morocco. Under my leadership, this NGO was awarded funding from various international organizations, establish ‘Revue Hijra’ as the first Moroccan academic journal on migration law, and organize summer schools and moot court competitions about migration law”.
Clinique Juridique Hijra largely relies on the efforts of young volunteers, particularly university students, making the clinic the perfect opportunity for them to gain experience in the field of Migration Law. These young and motivated students ensure the sustainability of Hijra and make it one of the key organizations in the field of migration law in Morocco.
Younous is determined to drive the success of his organization to a global scale. “Currently, Clinique Juridique Hijra is preparing the kick-off of a national civil-society platform aiming to ensure the participation of NGOs in the follow-up and review mechanism of the UN Global Compact for Migration (GCM), which is one of the recommendations in my recent article about the GCM’s impact in Morocco.”
Younous believes that diaspora members are valuable actors in global development because of their ability to transfer knowledge and experiences across borders. For example, his position as a diaspora member allows him to consolidate legal clinics in Morocco and be involved in Moroccan civil society, which in turn allows him to enrich Dutch and European scholarship with Moroccan perspectives.