Arabic Language Initiative

The Five College Arabic Language Initiative allows students at each of the five campuses to develop a concentration of study devoted to the Arabic language and culture. Students are able to work with faculty at all campuses to pursue their studies.

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Dr. May George holds a doctoral degree in education from the University of Arizona with a focus on bilingual education. After receiving her Ph.D., she has held two prestigious post-doctoral fellowships, an Andrew Mellon Fellowship and a Fredrick Douglas Fellow, to support her continued research on bilingual education.

Dr. George has more than 20 years of teaching experience in higher education nationally and internationally. She has also worked with the United Nation Missions in Kurdistan Iraq to educate women. Dr. George’s research interests center on curriculum theory design, classroom pedagogy, and language acquisition.

Mohamed ElSawi Hassan is a senior lecturer at the Dept. of Asian Languages and Civilizations at Amherst College. He received his Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics from Ain Shams University, Egypt in 2008.

His research interests focus on Systemic Functional Linguistics, Critical Discourse Analysis and Discourse theory. He is a contributing editor of Metamorphoses, the Journal of the Five College Faculty Seminar on Literary Translation. Recent translations include articles for Wasla magazine in Egypt and co-translating African Folklore: An Encyclopedia into Arabic.

Nahla Khalil received her PhD in literary studies in 2008. Before joining the Dept. of Comparative Literature at UMass Amherst, Nahla taught at Amherst College, Smith College and The Five College Center for the Study of World Languages. Nahla teaches language classes at all levels in addition to literature and culture classes. Nahla’s research interests include Arabic and Arab American literature, foreign language pedagogy, translation, cultural studies and women and minority studies.

Shaimaa Moustafa teaches Arabic language courses at Mount Holyoke College and UMass.  She completed a Ph.D. in Education from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a concentration in Languages, Literatures, and Cultures.

Brahim Oulbeid received his B.A. degree in English Language and Literature, along with Arabic and French teaching certificates, in Morocco. He completed his master’s degree in Education and in Teaching French from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Brahim is currently a PhD Candidate under the Language, Literacy and Culture concentration at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst College of Education. Prior to joining the Five College Arabic Initiative, Brahim taught Arabic and French in Morocco, UMass Amherst, and Westfield State University. He has also taught intensive Arabic courses through the STARTALK Arabic Summer Academies at the United States Naval Academy and in Boston.

Brahim’s research interests include Second Language Pedagogy, Bilingual Education, and Language, Culture and Identity. His recent publication is titled: Arabic language teaching in the U.S.: Two Arabic language users’ views on culture and self-positioning as teachers.

John Weinert received his bachelor's degree from Bard College and went onto complete his master's degree in Arabic Language and Literature at the University of Texas at Austin.  He has worked as Director of Program Operations at the Subul Assalam Centre for the Arabic Language in Fez, Morocco, and in 2010, he was awarded a year-long fellowship from the Center for Arabic Study Abroad for advanced studies in Damascus, Syria. 

Before joining Smith College, he taught at the University of Texas at Austin, the University of New Haven, and the United States Naval Academy.  John's research interests include Arabic language pedagogy, dialects, code-switching, and shifting patterns of language use in Arabic-language media.


Spring 2023 Arabic Courses

Subject Course # Sect # Course Title Instructor(s) Institution Meeting Times
ARAB 102 01 First-Year Arabic II Mohamed Hassan Amherst College M/W/F | 8:30 AM - 9:50 AM
ARAB 202 01 Second-Year Arabic II Ahmad Alswaid Amherst College M/W/F | 8:30 AM - 9:50 AM
ARAB 302 01 Third-Year Arabic II Ahmad Alswaid Amherst College M/W | 12:30 PM - 1:50 PM
ASIAN 131 01 First Year Arabic II May George Mount Holyoke College MWF 01:45PM-03:00PM
ARA 101 01 Elementary Arabic II Smith College W F 2:45 PM - 4:00 PM; M 3:05 PM - 4:20 PM
ARA 101 02 Elementary Arabic II John O. Weinert Smith College M W F 8:00 AM - 9:15 AM
ARA 201 01 Intermediate Arabic II May George Smith College M W F 9:25 AM - 10:40 AM
ARA 301 01 Advanced Arabic II John O. Weinert Smith College M W F 10:50 AM - 12:05 PM
ARABIC 102 01 Elemntr Four-Skilled Arabic II Nahla Khalil UMass Amherst TU TH 11:30AM 12:20PM; M W F 11:15AM 12:05PM
ARABIC 202 01 Intrmd Four-Skilled Arabic II Nahla Khalil UMass Amherst TU TH 10:00AM 10:50AM; M W F 10:10AM 11:00AM

Contact Us

Program Director

Steven Heydemann, Professor in Middle East Studies, Smith College

Five College Staff Liaison

Ray Rennard, Director of Academic Programs