AUC Faculty & Staff

The American University in Cairo (AUC) is a premier private institution of higher learning. The University is committed to teaching and research of the highest caliber, and offers exceptional liberal arts and professional education in a cross-cultural environment. The Department of Arabic Language Instruction (ALI) at AUC has a long history of high quality instruction and conducts a variety of programs, including CASA.

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CASA Stateside Director Dr. Sonia Shiri (left) with AUC Leadership.
CASA Stateside Director Dr. Sonia Shiri (left) with AUC Leadership.

Heba SalemExecutive Director of CASA in Cairo 

Ms. Heba Salem is the Executive Director of CASA in Cairo and a senior Arabic Language Instructor in the Department of Arabic Language Instruction at the American University in Cairo. She studied mass communication and psychology and completed a master’s degree in Teaching Arabic as a Foreign Language. Ms. Salem has taught various levels of Egyptian Colloquial Arabic and Modern Standard Arabic at AUC, University of Texas at Austin, University of Maryland, and Middlebury College. She has created and taught content and skills-based courses, as well as Media Arabic. Ms. Salem also co-authored the advanced Egyptian Colloquial textbook, 'Umm al-Dunya (AUC Press, 2012), and has conducted teacher training workshops for a variety of audiences and places. She is interested in translation, speech analysis, and how language is used to affect meaning. Ms. Salem was granted the CASA Award for Excellence in Teaching in the year 2009, and she is an Examiner Responsible for Arabic Language and Literature for the International Baccalaureate.  

Hany Yousry SerafeenCASA Program Specialist & Technical Support Officer 

Mr. Hany Yousry Serafeen has served in various roles in the administration of the CASA program since joining the team as a Cultural Assistant in April 2004. Mr. Serafeen served as CASA Administrative Assistant from 2007 to 2013 and assumed the responsibilities of Senior Administrative Assistant and Technical Support Officer for CASA in February 2013. Mr. Serafeen is a native of Cairo and holds a degree from the University of Cairo Faculty of Law. 

Nadia HarbSenior Instructor II of Arabic at AUC

Ms. Nadia Harb earned an M.A. in Economics in 1977 and an M.A. in Teaching Arabic as a Foreign Language (TAFL) at the American University in Cairo. She has taught with the CASA program for 30 years and received the CASA Excellence Award in Teaching in Summer 2004. Ms. Harb has also published a textbook for reading and writing skills entitled, Building Vocabulary Through Reading. She has presented lectures and organized numerous workshops on teaching Arabic to foreign students. 

Laila Al-SawiSenior Instructor II of Arabic at AUC 

Ms. Laila Al-Sawi has been teaching Modern Standard, media, and Egyptian colloquial Arabic at various levels since 1981. Ms. Al-Sawi has been the director of the Professionals and Diplomats Program since Fall 2016, and she served as the director of the Arabic Language Intensive Summer Program from 2004-2006 and as the director of the Arabic Language Intensive Program from 2012-2015. She has participated in a number of material development and textbook projects. Her areas of academic interest are AFL (Arabic as Foreign Language) pragmatics, sociolinguistics, and the use of computer assisted language learning (CALL) to promote AFL teaching. Ms. Al-Sawi has also attended a number of conferences and workshops, in which she has presented papers and participated in teacher training. In 2006, Ms. Al-Sawi received the CASA Award for Excellence in Teaching. 

Shahira YacoutSenior II Arabic Language Instructor at AUC

Dr. Shahira Yacout earned a B.A. in English literature from Cairo University and a Master’s degree in Teaching Arabic as a Foreign Language (TAFL) from the American University in Cairo. Dr. Yacout received her Ph.D. in Education from Ain Shams University. She is also an I.B. examiner involved in the marking and moderation process. Dr. Yacout has experience in immersion programs, including a recent program in Japan in Summer 2016, and has taught at the Middlebury School for several years. Dr. Yacout received the CASA Excellence in Teaching Award in May 2012. In 2017, Dr. Yacout published a paper entitled,“Integrating Listening and Speaking Skills in a Content-Based Instruction Class Using a Task-Based Framework”. 

Mona Kamel HassanSenior II Arabic Language Instructor at AUC 

Dr. Mona Kamel Hassan holds a Master’s in Teaching Arabic as a Foreign Language from the American University in Cairo and a Ph.D. in Linguistics from the English Department at the Faculty of Arts at Helwan University. Dr. Hassan joined ALI as a full-time instructor in 1997. Since joining ALI, she has taught Egyptian colloquial Arabic and Modern Standard Arabic to international students at all proficiency levels with different programs at ALI, including intensive Arabic language courses, Arabic language (ALNG) courses, and Center for Arabic Study Abroad (CASA) courses, in addition to teaching Modern Standard Arabic to degree-seeking Egyptian students at ALNG/AUC. Dr. Hassan has also participated in international conferences and has published a number of articles tackling issues in foreign language learning and teaching.   

Montasser Al-QaffashSenior Instructor of Arabic at AUC 

Mr. Montasser Al-Qaffash obtained a B.A. in Arabic literature from Cairo University in 1986, and an M.A. in literary criticism from Van Holland University in 2013. He has served as chairman of the First Book Committee in the Supreme Council of Culture in Egypt since January 2011 and is the editor of the narrative section of the magazine The word e-Month. Mr. Al-Qaffash has published four collections of short stories and three novels. His novel, To See Now, was translated into Italian in 2012, and many of his stories have been translated into European languages. In 2002, Mr. Al-Qaffash won the Egyptian State Incentive Award for Creative Writing for his collection, Shakhs Ghair Maqsood (“The Unintended Person”) and recived the Sawiris Cultural Award for his novel, A Matter of Time, in 2009 and for his collection of short stories, At Eye Level, in 2014.  

Shereen El EzabiSenior Instructor of Arabic at AUC 

Ms. Shereen El Ezabi holds a B.A. in English and comparative literature and an M.A. in Teaching Arabic as a Foreign Language, both from AUC. She teaches all levels of Modern Standard Arabic and Egyptian colloquial courses, in addition to the occasional core curriculum course for AUC undergraduates. Her fields of interest are translation studies and Arabic morphology. She previously worked at the United Arab Emirates University and has taught intensive summer courses at Middlebury College in the U.S. She has published translations in the Alif Journal of Comparative Poetics and online with the Monumental Inscriptions of Historic Cairo project. Ms. El Ezabi has also written critical reviews for the Cairo International Festival for Experimental Theater and received the CASA Award for Excellence in Language Teaching in 2008. 

Iman Saad NahlaSenior Arabic Language Instructor at AUC 

Ms. Iman Saad Nahla obtained her M.A. in Teaching Arabic as a Foreign Language from AUC in 1997. Ms. Nahla has been teaching at ALI since she was a graduate student and has taught courses at the Arabic Intensive Program (ALIN), the Center for Arabic Study Abroad (CASA), and is the diplomats’ program (ALID). She was also head of the ALI Computer Unit from 1999 to 2004. Ms. Nahla co-authored Al-Murshid, a book on teaching Arabic grammar to intermediate level students, and has taught courses in Modern Standard, Egyptian colloquial, and media Arabic to students at different proficiency levels. 

Rasha EssamArabic Instructor at AUC & Director of Technology-Enhanced Learning 

Ms. Rasha Essam is interested in activity theory in higher education, teaching as a design science, TPACK, blended learning, online learning, multimedia learning, visual learning, computer-supported collaborative learning, social learning, technology affordances, networked learning, inclusive technology enhanced learning, and design based-research. Ms. Essam is a Ph.D. candidate in technology enhanced learning at the University of Lancaster. She holds Master’s degrees from AUC in Teaching Arabic as a Foreign Language (TAFL) and in educational leadership. Ms. Essam earned her B.Sc. in computer science and information systems at Ain Shams University. 

Emad Abu Ghazi, Professor of Archival Studies at Cairo University  

Dr. Emad Abu Ghazi previously served in the positions of Minister of Culture and Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Culture in Egypt. He joined the Faculty of Arts in Cairo University as a specialist in archival studies after earning his Bachelor's, Master’s and Doctorate degrees in the same specialization in 1982, 1988, and 1995, respectively. 

Mohamed AfifiProfessor and Head of the History Department at Cairo University  

Dr. Mohammed Afifi is the author of Arab and Ottomans and Afifi is the fifth secretary general of the SCC since the January 25 Revolution. Dr. Afifi earned his Ph.D. in France. 

Mohamed Ibrahim El ShafeiTeacher of Linguistics and Islamic Studies 

Dr. Mohamed Ibrahim El Shafei works part-time as a teacher at the Center for Arabic Studies Abroad (CASA) and at the Egyptian University of e-learning.  Dr. El Shafei also supervises the Arabic Language Department at New Ramses College School and has had many previous teaching experiences in his field of specialization. Dr. El Shafei received his B.A. in Linguistics from Ain Shams University in Cairo in 2006. He received his Master's degree and Doctorate in Applied Linguistics from Ain Shams University in 2012 and 2015, respectively. Overall, Dr. El Shafei is interested in teaching Arabic to non-native speakers through content-based teaching and in designing curriculum and developing educational material for this purpose.