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Belgium: Diwan Awards celebrates Belgians of Moroccan origin

The final event of the 5th edition of the Diwan Awards took place on Friday 24 March 2017. The ceremony awarded 37 nominees from the Belgian Moroccan community who are setting an example to inspire the young generations in areas as diverse as medicine, engineering, sports, entrepreneurship and culture, among a total of 13 categories.

Prior to the ceremony, the public was invited to cast their votes during a six month period. Last year, some 22.000 voters participated; of which 32% were native Belgians. Among the 2017 winners, one finds the association Papy Boom which published videos showing how elderly citizens remain active, Rachida El Garani who has directed award winning film Into the Darkness and 2015 gold medalist at the Taekwondo world championship Jaouad Achab. Complete winners list

Many Belgian politicians, including Prime Minister Charles Michel, have attended the event which also attracts more and more media attention. This is an opportunity for Belgians of Moroccan origin to gather with a sense of pride and to let young generations know that they too can access a better social situation if they make the needed efforts, says initiator of the Awards Fatima Abbach. 'We also want to show models of positive integration to the native Belgians, as immigration represents a real chance for the country to develop and to shine on the international level', she adds.

The Diwan Awards is the most important initiative of the association Diverscity which also publishes a bilingual (Flemish-French) magazine - Aywa - dedicated to inspiring Belgian immigrants. Its success led the way for similar events to be held for the first time in Germany and The Netherlands in the coming months.