THE COUSCOUS CHRONICLES by Azzedine T. Downes (Morocco


The Couscious Chronicles: Stories of Food, Love, and Donkeys from a Life Between Cultures
by Azzedine T. Downes (Morocco 1981-85) (PC Staff 1991-95)
Disruption Books
328 pages
June 2023
$12.99 (Kindle); $18.02 (Paperback)


Azzedine Downes moves between cultures, places, and time in this wryly comedic, at times mysterious, and always curious memoir of a lifelong nomad.
The best strategy was to drink tea, smile, and enjoy the frustration of not knowing where the story leads. If time is endless, why rush to the point of a story?
Now an international leader in the fight for animal welfare, Azzedine began his career as a volunteer teacher and later was appointed to leadership in the U.S. Peace Corps. An American Muslim with Irish roots, he’s a natural cultural shape-shifter, immersing himself in the cultures of Morocco, Eastern Europe, Northwest Africa, Israel and his native United States. Along the way he befriends the glue-sniffing shoemakers of Fez, becomes the de facto manager of a traveling break-dance troupe, dodges bullets on his daily commute, and finds himself cursed over a feast of couscous gone very, very wrong.

But his most powerful story recounts Azzedine’s marriage to an elusive girl from Tangiers. Arranged after only two meetings their love story ultimately spans continents and withstands language barriers, international intrigue, and one very antagonistic State Department bureaucrat.

A labyrinth of tales as complex as its namesake dish, The Couscous Chronicles is for anyone who believes that the only real failure is to remain unchanged and in place, that true love is always a blind leap, and that a good story over a cup of tea holds the power to change one’s destiny.

About Azzedine Downes

Azzedine Downes

Azzedine Downes (Morocco 1981-85) is the President and CEO of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). Before joining IFAW, he served as the Chief of Party for the U.S. Agency for International Development in Jerusalem and Morocco, as well as the Acting Regional Director for the U.S. Peace Corps in Eurasia and the Middle East. Fast Company has named Downes one of The 100 Most Creative People in Business. He is a member of the Global Tiger Forum Advisory Council, and currently sits on the U.S. Trade and Environmental Policy Advisory Committee. He currently lives in Providence, Rhode Island. The Couscous Chronicles is his first book.


One Comment

Leave a comment
  • Azzedine recently gave a fabulous talk about his book, current work and many life adventures to our National Institutes of Health (NIH) RPCV group. I would have loved to have spent more time talking with him about his experiences living in the medina of Fez as a PCV. It so happens that exactly 5 years ago today I joined an diverse and interesting group on a Next Step Travel trip, where I made lifelong friends of fellow RPCV travelers as we experienced the amazing place that is Morocco!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Copyright © 2022. Peace Corps Worldwide.