Out of curiosity, I have reviewed the entire list of 'speakers' (http://www.gesmarrakech2014.org/en/program/speakers) in the Global Entrepreneurship Summit held in Marrakech last week and did not see a single Moroccan academic, working in the broad fields of economics or science and technology. Only the participation of an American professor working at Al Akhawayn University saves the day and can be considered as a local contribution.
The finding is distressing and suggests two hypotheses. The first, that would be downright depressing, is that local researchers would have absolutely nothing to say about entrepreneurship in the country that hosted a World Summit on the phenomenon. In addition, if local academics have nothing to say on entrepreneurship, would this mean that it is not part of their teaching either? If this is the case, it is urgent to launch a major national initiative to introduce entrepreneurship in the heart of the Moroccan system of higher education and research.
As I know a few Moroccan colleagues who are doing their best with little means to introduce entrepreneurship in their institution of higher education, I know that the first assumption is not entirely true. There are a few entrepreneurial pockets in the Moroccan higher education, particularly in elite public and private schools. Political leaders in charge of higher education should make an objective assessment of these initiatives and build on them to spread the entrepreneurial culture in the national higher education and research system.
Knowing that the first Moroccan university appears at the 30th place only in the Arab world, as ranked by US News and Report, entrepreneurship could be an easier and cheaper leverage than basic research to improve the standing of Moroccan universities in the region.
The second hypothesis is that GES organizers did not bother to look for contributors in Moroccan academia. If there is an ounce of truth to this assumption, they would have done a disservice to their country by suggesting to participants, Americans and others, that the entrepreneurship is entirely foreign to Moroccan higher education and research.
Not living there to be able to say, with a bit more certainty, which hypothesis is true, I suspect that there would be some truth in both.
A society that does not like or trust its own intellectuals is set to always look for thought masters elsewhere.