Middlebury Schools Abroad

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Faculty & Administration


Kerstin Wilsch, Ph.D., Director of the C.V. Starr-Middlebury School in the Middle East - Jordan

Kerstin Wilsch has spent many years in the Middle East and North Africa in a variety of academic positions.  Her Ph.D. is in Arabic Language and Translation, from the University of Leipzig.  For the four years prior to becoming the Director of the program in Jordan, Kerstin was living in Jordan, working as the Coordinator of the Translation Section at the German-Jordanian University in Amman, where she also served as acting Vice Dean.  Before coming to Jordan, she was at the German University in Cairo for two years, and from 1999 to 2005, she was the Coordinator of the German Department at the Ecole Supérieure Rio Fahd de Traduction at the University Abdelmalek Essaadi in Tangier, Morocco.  Kerstin has also taught Arabic at the University of Oxford for three years, and spent some time early in her career in Yemen.

Kerstin has published a number of translations, in a variety of literary genres, from Arabic to German, and has worked several years for Lisan magazine. Her most recent translation is a collection of short stories by Mariam Nasser titled Café der Engel (2009).


Hope Fitzgerald, MA, Assistant Director of the C.V. Starr-Middlebury School in the Middle East - Jordan

Prior to joining Middlebury, Hope served as director of the Arabic Summer Institute at the University of Texas in Austin. She previously worked as Arabic program coordinator at the Translation and Interpreting Institute Language Center in Doha, Qatar, and as a lecturer at the University of Texas.  Hope has taught and supervised Arabic language and content courses at the university level since 2007, and has contributed to curriculum and assessment projects with the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) and The National Middle Eastern Language Resource Center (NMELRC). She holds MA degrees in Geography and Foreign Language Education from the University of Texas at Austin. Hope has studied and worked in Jordan, Egypt and Qatar, and enjoys traveling throughout the Middle East.

Mohammad Alabbadi, B.A., Resident Coordinator of the C.V. Starr-Middlebury School in the Middle East – Jordan.

Mohammad graduated from the University of Jordan in 2012 with a double major in English and German Language. In his third year of study, he spent a month in Berlin, Germany for an intercultural language course. After his graduation he started working for the Language Generation Center in Amman, assisting local and foreign students. Since his university years, Mohammad has regularly volunteered in the fields of culture and education. He is eager to meet the new students of the Middlebury program and looks forward to helping them have a wonderful time in Jordan.

Elsa Belmont Flores, BA, Resident Coordinator of the C.V. Starr-Middlebury School in the Middle East - Jordan

Elsa is from Mexico City. She graduated from Middlebury College in 2012 with a major in Geography and a minor in Arabic. Since graduating, Elsa has served as the Teaching Assistant for the Arabic Program at Middlebury College and has been studying at the Middlebury Arabic Language School during the summers in order to attain her MA degree in Arabic Language and Pedagogy. Elsa has experience living in Mexico, Wales, and Egypt, and has traveled in Jordan, Palestine, and Turkey. She enjoys traveling, playing Badminton, and working with children. She is incredibly excited to help students as they settle in and discover Jordan.


Amjad Ali, BS, Instructor, Colloquial Jordanian Arabic

Amjad began working with the Middlebury program in Amman, Jordan in the spring of 2012. He has been teaching both Colloquial and Modern Standard Arabic for almost a decade, instructing university undergraduate, and graduate students. Amjad has worked with instructional and scholarly organizations such as ACOR (American Council of Oriental Research), CIEE (Center of International Education Exchange), KIOCA (Korean International Cooperation Agency), Fulbright scholars, and undergraduates at the University of Jordan. He is currently completing an instructional manual and text for the teaching of Jordanian Colloquial Arabic.  Amjad is currently pursuing an MA program at the University of Jordan in Education.


Nadia Al Assaf, MA, Instructor, Modern Standard Arabic

Nadia received her BA in Arabic and her MA in Teaching Arabic Language to Foreign Learners from Jordan University. She has worked at Jordan University in The International Institute for Teaching Arabic to Speakers of Other Languages as a lecturer since 2009.  Nadia began working with the Middlebury program in the fall of 2011 teaching MSA and Colloquial Arabic.

Mustafa Al Kuisi, Ph.D., Instructor, Environmental Policies & Water Resource Management course

Dr. Al Kuisi holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Hydrogeochemistry and Environmental Geology. He has more than 14 years of national, regional and international experience in water resources and environmental pollution. During these years, Dr. Al Kuisi has been involved in many studies related to hydrogeology, engineering geology, climate change and water quality. He is recognized by many countries in the region as a regional expert on environmental hydrogeochemistry. He has supervised graduate Master theses and as well as Ph.D. theses on a variety of topics. Current research includes global climate change and changes of the chemical and isotopic compositions of water resources due to human intervention and contamination especially by organic pollutants, as well as salinization of water resources in the Middle East.

Salwa Mubaidin, Ph.D., Instructor, Media Arabic & Modern Standard Arabic

Salwa Mubaidin earned her Ph.D. in Methods of Teaching Arabic at the University of Science and Technology in Sudan, M.A in Secondary and Post-Secondary Education at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, Diploma in Education and Psychology from the University of Jordan and a Bachelor degree in Arabic Language and Literature. She has taught at both the secondary school level, as well as the university level, at several universities in Jordan. She has been teaching Arabic as a foreign language at the University of Jordan since 1982.   


Nizar Qbilat, Ph.D., Instructor, Arabic Literature

Nizar Qbilat holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in Modern Arabic Literature from the University of Jordan in Amman. He has taught Arabic at Jordan University’s Language Center since 2004 and has published four research papers. In 2011 and 2012 he was an instructor at Middlebury's Arabic Language School.

  Abeer Dababneh, Ph.D., Instructor, Gender Studies

Upon graduation with a Ph.D in Gender Studies from the University of Leicester in England, Abeer Dababneh began teaching both undergraduate and graduate courses at the Women's Studies Center, and the Faculty of Law at the University of Jordan. She concentrates on issues of democracy and human rights, Jordanian constitutional law, women and law, and women's political participation. Regarding research, Dr. Abeer’s research focuses on human rights issues in general and women's legal rights in particular. She is a member in the Jordanian Bar Association, AMNESTY International, the Jordanian Higher Council for Science and Technology, the Jordanian Higher Council of Youth, the Arab Women Legal Network, and the Legal Committee at the Jordanian National Commission for Women (JNCW). Currently, Dr. Abeer is working on translating a number of books on gender and feminism.

Yousef Awad, Ph.D., Instructor,

Dr. Yousef Awad received his Ph.D. in literary criticism from the University of Manchester, UK, in 2011. His monograph, The Arab Atlanticwas published by Lambert Academic Publications (LAP) in 2012. Dr. Awad’s research interests range from Arabic literature in English to translation and interpretation studies.  He has presented a number of his papers in the US, the UK, Europe.  Dr. Awad was the recipient of a prestigious grant to study in the US at the US Dept. of State Institute on Contemporary American Literature during the summer 2012.  Currently, Dr. Awad is an assistant professor at the University of Jordan. Dr. Awad as published a number of articles on diaspora studies, literary representation of Arab immigration to the US and the UK, and Arab cultural productions in English.


Abdel Baset Athamneh, Ph.D., Instructor, Refugee and Migration Studies Course

Dr. Abdel Baset is currently the director of the Refugees, Displaced Persons, and Forced Migration Studies Center at Yarmouk University in Irbid, Jordan.  Dr. Athamneh completed his Ph. D. in Labor Economics at the University of Jordan in 2006 during which time he won the prize of distinguished doctorate student for the academic year 2005/2006.


Nour Afaneh, MA, Instructor, Modern Standard Arabic & Colloquial Arabic

Nour received her BA in Arabic and her MA in Teaching Arabic Language to Foreign Learners from the University of Jordan. She has worked at the University of Jordan’s Language Center as a lecturer since 2012.  Nour began working with the Middlebury program in the fall of 2013 teaching Colloquial Arabic and Modern Standard Arabic.


Ahmad Al-Janadbah, PhD Candidate in Linguistics, Instructor, Modern Standard Arabic

Ahmad specializes in teaching classical and colloquial Arabic for speakers of other languages - in addition to the teaching of Islamic culture and Jordan. He holds a master's degree in teaching Arabic to non-Arabic speakers and a BA in Arabic literature from the University of Jordan. Ahmad worked as an instructor and supervisor of Arabic teaching programs in various places, including the University of Jordan, University of Wisconsin, CIEE-Amman and ACOR. Ahmad is also part of the Middlebury team working on designing a comprehensive colloquial Arabic curriculum. He joined the Middlebury team in the spring of 2014.

Khetam Al-Wazzan, MA, Instructor, Modern Standard Arabic (MSA)

Khetam received her BA in Arabic and her MA in Teaching Arabic Language to Foreign Learners from the University of Jordan where she has been working  in the Language Center as an instructor of Arabic since 2008. Khetam began working with Middlebury program in the fall of 2011 teaching MSA and Colloquial Arabic. She is currently working on obtaining OPI examiner certification.