Morocco’s Mehdi Qotbi Awarded France’s Grand Officer of the National Order of Merit

Moroccan artist and president of the National Foundation of Museums of Morocco (FNM), Mehdi Qotbi, was promoted by the French President, Emmanuel Macron, to the rank of Grand Officer of the National Order of Merit, one of the highest distinctions of the French Republic, during a ceremony organized Thursday evening at the Elysée Palace. In an address, the French head of state said that Mehdi Qotbi is "an exceptional artist" and a "builder of bridges between countries and people.' ''Mr. Qotbi is one of the hunters of art and talent,' said the French President. "You never cease to create, to exhibit, to teach the visual arts, to cross paths with personalities who inspire you and whom you inspire," he said. Describing the artist as "one of the links between Morocco and France", Macron emphasized that Qotbi is "one of those who bring to life on a daily basis the indestructible fraternal bond that unites our two countries.' "This distinction honors me because it pays tribute, beyond my person, to the marvelou s teamwork accomplished by the National Foundation of Museums which, under the enlightened leadership of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, and with the great support and interest that our Sovereign has for culture and the arts, has produced major new national and international exhibitions and is helping to preserve and publicize our rich multicultural heritage throughout the world,' Qotbi told MAP news agency. Made a Knight of the Legion of Honor by former French President Jacques Chirac in 2000, then an Officer of the Legion of Honor by his successor Nicolas Sarkozy, the Moroccan artist was promoted to the rank of Commander of the Legion of Honor in 2016 by President François Hollande. The ceremony was attended by the French Interior Minister, Gérald Darmanin, the Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs, Stéphane Séjourné, the President of the Arab World Institute (IMA), Jack Lang, and several personalities from the world of diplomacy, culture and the arts. Source: Agence Marocaine De Presse