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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 Direcor 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).


Shurouq Swaitti, M.A., Assistant Director of the C.V. Starr-Middlebury School in the Middle East - Jordan

Shurouq received her M.A. in Arab Studies from Georgetown University in 2006. She obtained a B.A. in International Studies with focus on the Middle East from Manhattanville College in 2004. After obtaining her MA, Shurouq worked as a Faculty Research Assistant at the National Foreign Language Center at the University of Maryland. She was a research specialist for the development of instructional modules for the identification of eight regional dialects of Arabic, and also worked as an Arabic language curriculum developer of online Arabic language reading materials for American secondary school students. Shurouq also taught Arabic at Howard University as part of their summer program in 2006.

Elley Cannon, B.A., Resident Coordinator of the C.V. Starr-Middlebury School in the Middle East - Jordan

Elley graduated from Tufts University in 2011 with a double major in Comparative Literature and Arabic. During her junior year, Elley spent a semester studying with the Middlebury School in Alexandria, Egypt. She then spent her senior year at Tufts translating a Moroccan novel into English for her senior honors thesis. After graduation, Elley was awarded a fellowship to study in Cairo for a year with the Center for Arabic Studies Abroad (CASA), where she also volunteered teaching English to refugees, and spent some time traveling though the Levant. Elley is excited to see and experience more of Jordan, and to help students do the same.

Yamila Irizarry-Gerould, BA, Resident Coordinator of the C.V. Starr-Middlebury School in the Middle East - Jordan

Yamila is originally from Northampton, Massachusetts. After graduating high school, she took a gap year and worked in the New York public schools with AmeriCorps. During her junior year in college at Tufts University, she studied abroad with Middlebury's program in Alexandria. After graduating in 2011 with a degree in Middle Eastern Studies, she spent the 2011-2012 academic year (and summers) in Cairo studying with the Center for Arabic Study Abroad (CASA), as well as working with a development organization. She served as the RC for Middlebury's program in Alexandria during 2012-2013, and works with the program in Amman for 2013-2014.


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.


Riad al Khouri, Lecturer, Current Political Transitions and Conflicts in the Middle East

Riad al Khouri is a Jordanian economist specializing in Middle East development issues. He has, for over four decades trained, advised, and conducted academic and applied research on economic, political, and business topics, publishing widely on them. Holding a BA in Economics from the American University of Beirut, and an MLitt in the same subject from the University of Oxford. Riad was a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut; dean of the Business School at the Lebanese French University in Erbil, Iraq, of which he was also professor, trustee, and director; and a member of the Advisory Committee for the drafting of the Deauville Partnership Trade and Foreign Direct Investment Report of the World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Among other current positions, he is principal and senior economist of Development Equity Associates, Washington DC; strategic adviser to the William Davidson Institute of the Ross Business School at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; Board Associate at SUNSGLOW Global Training in the Rule of Law, New York City; and a member of the World Trade Organization's Arab Network of Trainers.


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.