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Gita Sellman
Director and Executive Board President

Gita's exhaustive credentials include a Master's degree in French and German secondary education and two Bachelor's degrees, in political science/business, and theatre science with a minor in social anthropology. She holds the title CMA, (Certified Movement Analyst) from LIMS Institute in New York. She is a certified guide for Stockholm, and a very experienced international tour manager.

In Gita's professional career, she is a journalist and photographer with photo expositions in five countries to date. She is a language teacher and a dance consultant. Gita is also a poet and a writer - an author of various publications and co-author of an international best-selling book, translated into four languages. She is an experienced international conference organiser in Sweden and abroad.

Gita is a co-founder of the NGOs Film Women International and the International Dance Council, both UNESCO affiliated. She is Founder and Director of IDRA, the Intercultural Dance Research Archives, Folklore Film, and most recently, Academia Arabesca.

Gita has travelled extensively worldwide. She speaks Swedish, English, French, German, Spanish, and has some basic knowledge of 14 other languages.



Houssine Babbaia
Advisory Board Member

Houssine's ancestors were Berber nomads - no wonder he became a desert guide! Today, he's the director of Tamounte Trekking, an agency which specialises in organising tours in the desert, the mountains, and the coast. He began his career as a desert guide driving camels and cooking for excursions while putting himself through school.

Houssine has also been a driving instructor for the participants in the annual Trophie des Gazelles (AICHA), an international desert 4x4 driving competition in Morocco for women.

Houssine has co-directed university and other group programmes in the Moroccan Sahara and in the High Atlas Mountains with Academia Arabesca. He has also travelled extensively in Europe, and his understanding of the West as well as his native country is a vital asset to the Foundation's Executive Board. In addition to his native Berber language Tachelheit, he also speaks Arabic, French, and English, as well as some Spanish.



Johanna Sellman
Executive Board Member

Johanna was born in Göteborg, Sweden but she spent most of her childhood in the Middle East. Years later, while studying North African literature in the United States, she decided it was time to learn Arabic. She made plans to study in Morocco and in the process found that she had a relative living in the Marrakech Medina!

Johanna and Gita crossed paths for the first time in the summer and fall of 2000. After spending a few months studying in Rabat, Johanna met her long-lost relative and joined her for a celebration in her beautiful Riad. Johanna became actively involved with Academia Arabesca in the summer and fall of 2003 when she worked with Gita in Stockholm and in Marrakech.

As well as working actively with Academia Arabesca, Johanna is currently a graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin in the Department of Middle Eastern Studies. She speaks Swedish, English, French, Spanish, Standard Arabic and some Darija (Moroccan Arabic).


Contact Academia Arabesca on Tel +212 (0)524 389 384/ Mob +212 (0)661 207 809 or send us email - info@arabesca.org