On Friday, November 3, the University of Oklahoma’s Center for Middle East Studies welcomed Dr. Mohamed Daadaoui as part of the Brown Bag Lecture Series. Dr. Daadaoui’s lecture “It’s Good to Be the King, or Is It?” discussed the three main challenges facing the Moroccan monarchy, the monarchy’s responses, and what these challenges mean for the future of the monarchy. Dr. Daadaoui concluded that it is no longer good to be the king in Morocco because the monarchy has opened itself up to criticism by delving into the political fray. Dr. Daadaoui predicted that it will take reinvention to lift the monarchy back into its place of irreproachability.
After an introduction by Dr. Samer Shehata, Dr. Daadaoui launched right into his lecture. After differentiating the types of monarchies and management techniques they employ, Dr. Daadaoui presented the three challenges to the monarchy. The most effective example was the challenge presented by the popularity of the Party for Justice and Development under the leadership of Abdelilah Benkirane, and the monarchy’s response of sacking him. This example best demonstrated how the monarchy had lowered itself into the political scene. Dr. Daadaoui convincingly demonstrates that doing so has shifted the monarchy’s iconography from one of order and stability to one of a political institution capable of being criticized, and it will therefore require rebranding to succeed in the long run.
Dr. Daadaoui was careful not to portend the death of the monarchy, which makes his argument more credible because it is clear from the 2011 uprisings that there is no predicting the future of the region’s regimes. The lecture was very substantial and provided solid evidence for its claims, without going too extreme in its conclusions.