People

Dr. Eman Saadah – Program Director
eman2Dr. Eman Saadah is Director of the Less Commonly Taught Languages Program. She is also the Director and Coordinator of Arabic and a lecturer of Linguistics at the University of Illinois. Dr. Saadah earned a Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of Illinois in 2011. She has over eight years of experience in teaching Arabic and has been placed on the University of Illinois List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent for the past seven years. In addition to teaching a variety of semester-based courses, she has also taught summer intensive classes at the Summer Institute for the Languages of the Muslim World [SILMW] and served as a member of its organizing committee for the past three years. Her research interests are in the field of Arabic, applied linguistics, and phonetics and phonology. Specifically, her work focuses on investigating and comparing the language acquisition of heritage speakers of Arabic and that of second language learners.
Email: esaadah2@illinois.edu

Josephine ElKarkafi – Faculty
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Josephine ElKarkafi is an Arabic Instructor at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She is consistently placed on the UIUC List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent. She has expertise in the social sciences and clinical social work. In Lebanon, she earned her Master’s degree and completed coursework for the Ph.D. at the Université Libanais (UL), the premier public research university of the Arabic-speaking world. Her thesis looked at how French colonial attempts to “liberate” Lebanese women brought about their domestication into the private sphere, which lingered on even after women’s emancipatory agendas multiplied from the 1960s to today. Her current research interests include Muslim-Christian interreligious marriage and the spiritual upbringing of the children. She was the manager of the Department of Social Services at Saad Specialist Hospital. For several years, she was in charge of the social work department’s policies and procedures, patient assessment, and staff management. She also served as a key member of the hospital’s accreditation and re-accreditation with U.S., Canadian, and Australian authorities. She will use this international background to contribute to the Summer Institute for Languages of the Muslim World.
Email: karkafi@illinois.edu

Dr. Abdulkafi Albirini – Faculty
Abdulkafi Albirini is an Associate Professor of Linguistics and Arabic at Utah State University, where he also oversees the Arabic program. His broad research interests are in first, second, and heritage language acquisition, multilingualism, sociolinguistics, and pragmatics. He teaches courses in Linguistics, Arabic Culture, and methods in foreign language research. He has led several teacher-training sessions, workshops and seminars designed for college-level language professionals. He wrote several articles about the role of social context, culture, and social factors in language acquisition.
Email: abdulkafi.albirini@usu.edu

Rana Sawwan – Instructor
Rana Sawwan joined UIUC as an adjunct instructor for the Arabic program in the Spring of 2015 and then the Ph.D. program at the College of Education in the fall of 2015. Along with her appointment as an ESL instructor at Parkland College, she has taught courses of elementary Arabic (ARAB 201 and ARAB 202) at UIUC, and has been listed among the UIUC teachers ranked as excellent by their students. Rana holds a Master degree in M.A.TESL from Linguistics Department at UIUC and a B.A. in English Language and Literature from Philadelphia University. Being raised and educated in Jordan, she has mastered Standard Arabic along with a verity of Arabic Dialects including Egyptian and Levantine. Rana is interested in investigating and comparing language acquisition of heritage speakers of Arabic and second language learners.
Email: rsawwan@illinois.edu

Zainab Hermes – Graduate Assistant
zZainab Hermes is a Ph.D. student of linguistics. She has taught elementary and intermediate Arabic and has been listed among the UIUC teachers ranked as excellent by their students. She has also taught in the intensive summer program SILMW. Zainab’s research focuses on articulatory and acoustic phonetics. She is currently the Graduate Assistant of the Less Commonly Taught Languages Program.
Email: zherme2@illinois.edu

Jude Krushnowski – Graduate Assistant
Jude Krushnowski is an M.A. student in Hispanic Languages and has served as TA in both the ESL and Spanish programs, where he has taught learners of both languages from beginner to advanced level and has been listed as among UIUC teachers ranked excellent with outstanding distinction. As a strong proponent of bilingualism and multiculturalism, he will be collaborating as Graduate Assistant for SILMW. His research interests include listening and speech perception in second-language and heritage speakers.
Email: jkrush2@illinois.edu

Will Vélez – Residence Advisor
Will Vélez is a Master’s student in the Middle Eastern Studies program. He received his B.A. with highest honors from UIUC, with a double-major in Political Science and Spanish, and a minor in Arabic. Will has completed all the courses offered by the Arabic Program. His research focuses on inter-religious and inter-cultural relationships within the Arab World and the greater Middle East.
Email: wvelez2@illinois.edu

Layan Zaza – Residence Advisor
Layan is a senior at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, and she is majoring in Food Science and Human Nutrition. Her concentration is in Human Nutrition. She is also minoring in Arabic and she has taken several Arabic courses at UIUC. She has a deep appreciation for the Arabic language and culture and she loves to learn as much as she can about it.
Email: zaza2@illinois.edu`

Muna Jaber – Program Assistant
Muna Jaber is an undergraduate student of Speech and Hearing Science at UIUC. She has taken multiple advanced Arabic courses at UIUC and is pursuing a minor in Arabic. Her interests include Arabic, linguistics, and speech pathology.
Email: mhjaber2@illinois

 

For a complete list of SILMW instructors and staff, please our SILMW website