THE PAVILION OF
Groundbreaking at the New York World's Fair 1964-1965 • July 25, 1968
The Pavilion of Morocco, Inc. will reflect the
culture of the country. Products of Morocco
will be exhibited and sold in the pavilion and
an outdoor restaurant will serve Moroccan deli-
cacies. Architect for the pavilion is Mr. Charles
Koulbanis, Mr. John Olenek is structural engi-
neer, and Mr. Ugur D. Bengisu is the designer.
Excerpts from transcription of remarks made
by Moroccan and World's Fair officials at
the groundbreaking ceremonies for the Pa-
vilion of Morocco, Inc. at the New York
World's Fair, Thursday, July 25, 1963.
DR. ROBERTO DE MENDOZA [Deputy Chief of
Protocol]: Mr. Sbai, Governor Poletti, distinguished
guests, ladies and gentlemen. This groundbreaking cere-
mony for the Pavilion of Morocco, Inc. is a happy occa-
sion full of golden promise. The pavilion, beautiful in
the simplicity of its lines, has been designed by Ugur D.
Bengisu in collaboration with New York architects
Charles J. Koulbanis and John Olenek. It will have many
features to captivate the interest of the millions of visitors
to the Fair.
It will depict the agricultural resources of the country
and its wealth in mineral deposits, as well as the modern
industrialization which has expanded a number of its
industries. Shops around the pavilion will feature famous
products of Moroccan handicraft — carpets, leather goods,
wool and silk stuffs, and many others. I understand that
part of the exhibit will portray the tourist attractions of
the kingdom which quite apart from its well-known cen-
ters like Rabat, Tangier, Marrakech and Casablanca, are
Mr. Moktar Sbai and Governor Charles Poletti at the site of
the Moroccan Pavilion, Inc., are shown with Mr. Sbai's
children, Najia and Ahmed Sbai.
many and varied, from skiing on the slopes of its beauti-
ful mountains to swimming and water sports at its mag-
At this moment I should like to have the honor of pre-
senting Madame Sbai, wife of the president of the Pavil-
ion of Morocco, Inc., Madame Sbai. I should also like to
present the architects who have designed the Pavilion: Mr.
Charles J. Koulbanis, Mr. John Olenek and Mr. Ugur
Our first speaker on this very auspicious occasion is a
prominent New York attorney who has been a justice of
the State Supreme Court, trustee of the Power Authority,
and governor of the State of New York. He rendered
most valuable services during World War II, for which
he received many high honors. He visited Morocco in
1961, shortly after the accession to the throne of His
Majesty, King Hassan II; and he has traveled widely in
his untiring efforts on behalf of the success of this inter-
national section. I have the honor to present Governor
Charles Poletti, vice president for International Affairs
and Exhibits of the New York World's Fair Corporation.
GOVERNOR CHARLES POLETTI: Thank you very-
much. The Ambassador referred to the fact that Mrs.
Poletti and I had a very fine visit to Rabat to extend the
official invitation to the government for participation in
the New York World's Fair. That was in 1961, but my
Mr. Moktar Sbai, president of the Moroccan Pavilion, Inc.,
and Mrs. Sbai, receiving the Fair medallion from Governor
Charles Poletti, vice president of the Fair's International
recollection of Morocco goes back a few years before that.
In fact it goes back to 1943 when I was a member of the
staff of General George Patton, and those days we were
roaming around Morocco and Algeria; we saw a bit of
Casablanca and Marrakech and Fez and other places, so
that I've had a little acquaintance with your country from
As Ambassador De Mendoza said, we at the World's
Fair are much delighted that we will have a Pavilion of
Morocco, Inc. We believe that Morocco has much to
show to the seventy million visitors that will come to the
Fair; it's a wonderful country, with a marvelous people.
And we trust that the culture and the tradition and the
achievements of the Moroccan people will be beautifully
presented in this pavilion.
I want to add another word of commendation to Mr.
Sbai, Mr. Bengisu, Mr. Koulbanis and his associate Mr.
Olenek for the magnificent design that you have. I think
it's colorful, attractive, and it ought to be one of the most
interesting points in the International Area.
We of the International Division want specially to
commend Mr. Sbai for taking the initiative in organizing
this pavilion. The Moroccan Government was precluded
from official participation, but Mr. Sbai, who is an Ameri-
can citizen of Moroccan extraction, had such confidence
in the success of the New York World's Fair and such
conviction chat the flag of Morocco should be joining the
other flags of the world here at the Fair, that he alone
cook on the organization of this pavilion. We are happy
to say that his initiative and his resourcefulness have borne
great fruit and we look forward to the collaboration and
the cooperation of the Government of Morocco.
We feel that surely the Ministry of Tourism of Morocco
will want to give its assistance and its cooperation to Mr.
Sbai in connection with this Moroccan Pavilion, Inc. be-
cause American people, who love to travel, will surely
want to see some of these glorious places of which Mor-
occo can boast. And this pavilion is the vehicle by which
that can be done. Apart from showing handicraft and
some good foods and the nice litde bar chac I see chere,
I hope chac che organizers of this pavilion will also in
some way serve to convey to the American people that will
come co this World's Fair, che greac qualicies of the people
of Morocco — and, also, something about the King of
that splendid country.
Those of us who have followed world evencs are ad-
mirers of whac is being done by His Majesty, King
Hassan II of Morocco. He is a young man, but he is coura-
geous, is forward-looking, he is stalwarc, and he is a firm
believer in che values of freedom and juscice and liberty 7 .
And in today's groundbreaking for the Moroccan Pavil-
ion, Inc., those of us here at the World's Fair wish to
extend our best wishes to His Majescy, King Hassan II.
We are proud co have the Moroccan flag at the World's
Fair and delighted that this beautiful pavilion will reflect
some of the superb qualities of the people of Morocco.
DR. DE MENDOZA: Thank you, Governor Poletti.
I now have che honor of inrroducing an imaginacive, en-
cerprising personally, who has made ic possible co have
ac our New York World's Fair, the Pavilion of Morocco,
Inc., which promises to be one of the great actraccions of
che Incernational Seccion. He was born in che cicy of Fez,
seac of che Carouine Universicy, che oldesc universicy of
che Arabic language. He was raised and educaced in Mo-
rocco, attended business school in this country and later
became an American citizen. Among his activities, he
founded in New York, Moroccan Leather Goods, Inc.,
of which he is president. I have the honor co presenc Mr.
Mokcar Sbai, presidenc of che Moroccan Pavilion, Inc.
MR. MOKTAR SBAI: Thank you, Dr. De Mendoza.
Governor Polecci, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for
being with us on this very happy occasion. I also want to
express my deep appreciation to the personnel of the
New York World's Fair and specially to your Mr. Harris
for all the willing and able assistance given to me. I am
looking forward with greac pleasure co concinuing chis
association for che next cwo years.
I have every confidence chac the New York World's
Fair is going to be a tremendous success, and I will do
everything I can to see that the Moroccan Pavilion, Inc.
helps contribute to this well-deserved success. I felt so
very strongly that Morocco should be represented in this
great undertaking that I decided to go ahead with this
pavilion on my own. However, in the next few weeks, I
will be going to Morocco where I will meet and confer
with the various government officials.
As a result of this visit I have every expectation that the
Moroccan Government will cooperate with me on this en-
terprise. The Bureau of Tourism has already indicated an
interest in the Moroccan Pavilion, Inc., and I look forward
to their valuable cooperation. It is through endeavors such
as this great New York World's Fair that the people of
the world will come to understand and appreciate one
another and enjoy the culture of all countries.
In this Moroccan Pavilion, Inc. many of the products of
my native country will be displayed and some will be sold.
A sidewalk cafe is planned, similar to one that might be
found in Morocco, where light refreshments will be
served. There will also be a regular restaurant in which
Moroccan foods and beverages will be served, and less
exotic cuisine too, for less adventurous diners. Moroccan
craftsmen and entertainers will be in various parts of
the pavilion. Again, let me thank you, my friends, for
being here with us today. Thank you very much.
THE PAVILION OF MOROCCO, INC.
a 10,000 sq. ft. site
THE PAVILION OF MOROCCO, INC.
MR. MOKTAR SBAI, President of the Moroccan Pavilion, Inc.
MR. CHARLES J. KOULBANIS, Architect
MR. UGUR D. BENGISU, Designer
MR. JOHN V. OLENEK, Structural Engineer
NEW YORK WORLD'S FAIR 19 6 4-1965 CORPORATION
Flushing 52, N. Y. Tel. 212-WF 4-1964
ROBERT MOSES, President
THOMAS J. DEEGAN, JR., Chairman of the Executive Committee
WILLIAM E. POTTER, Executive Vice President
CHARLES POLETTI, Vice President, International Affairs and Exhibits
STUART CONSTABLE, Vice President, Operations
WILLIAM BERNS, Vice President, Communications and Public Relations
ERWIN WITT, Comptroller
MARTIN STONE, Director of Industrial Section
GUY F. TOZZOLI, (Port of New York Authority) Transportation Section
ERNESTINE R. HAIG, Secretory of the Corporation and
Assistant to the President
MM -■'■•' -•■■
WILLIAM WHIPPLE, JR., Chief Engineer