Visit to Casa-Anfa RC

Last night I gave a presentation to the members of the Rotary Club of Casablanca-Anfa.

As I said in an earlier post, Anfa is the distant ancestor of present-day Casablanca. Today the name refers to a neighborhood of villas originally built for the French and now occupied by the mostly Moroccan Casablanca elite. To give you Chicagoans an idea, last night as I searched for a way to describe the Lincoln Park neighborhood in derija, the Rotarians got what I was trying to say and suggested we call it “the Anfa of Chicago.”

Their banner is a lesson on Casablanca:

On the bottom right is a map of Rotary District 9010, which covers Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Mauritania.

Above that, the lighthouse and hills of the El Hank neighborhood, visible from the ocean.

At the top right, the flame represents the Casablanca Conference, attended by FDR and Churchill in 1943.

Top left represents the skyline of the “new” Anfa, AKA Casablanca.

Below that, bottom left, is the Wilaya, which serves as a combination City Hall and Regional government building, with its distinctive clock tower. An image of this building was used in the marketing materials for the US-Arab Cities Forum (along with the Hancock Tower in Chicago).

The banner was designed before the building of the Hassan II mosque, which is now the most distinctive feature of the Casa skyline.

Hey so what’s the deal with Rotary banners anyway?

Two things:
1) The Rotary network extends all over the world, and Rotarians are always meeting with other Rotarians;
2) rituals and symbols are a big part of Rotary culture–pins, banners, flags, etc.

Whenever I give a presentation or meet with members of a club, I present the banners of Chicago One, first RC in the world, and Chicago Far North RC, my sponsors. In exchange, I get banners from the clubs that host me, which I’ll give to my sponsoring club when I get back to Chicago.


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