Elementary Arabic Instructor
Following his PhD in Comparative Literature at Damascus University, Haidar Khezri has taught Kurdish/Sorani, Persian/Farsi, and Arabic at universities in Iran, Syria, Turkey, and the US. In 2019, he became the University of Central Florida’s first Assistant Professor of Arabic, a key role for building the university’s capacity to teach Middle Eastern languages and cultures.
Intermediate Arabic Instructor
Jibril Gabid is a doctoral candidate and Arabic instructor in the Department of African Cultural Studies. His research seeks to explore ways of (re)imagining Islamic West Africa, foregrounding West Africa Muslim scholarship by shifting the gaze of Islamic knowledge production from an Arabo-centric one to one that privileges and affirms the contributions of Black West African Muslim intellectuals. Jibril received a bachelor’s degree in Arabic and Psychology from the University of Ghana and a master’s degree in Arabic Language and Literature from the American University in Cairo.
Advanced Arabic Instructor
Salah has considerable experience in the fields of teaching foreign languages, NGO work, and intercultural exchange programs. He has taught Arabic language and culture in various universities in the US. He enjoys working on cultural, and educational issues, and his long-term goal is to develop online foreign language programs in high schools and universities in the US.
Elementary Hebrew Instructor
Dr. Liran Yadgar earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from the University of Chicago and B.A. and M.A. in Middle Eastern History from Tel Aviv University. He is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Hebrew and Israel Studies at Muhlenberg College.
Before coming to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Dr. Yadgar was a Hebrew professor at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center in Monterey, California, and served as a postdoctoral scholar at Yale, UCLA, and Oklahoma State University. Summer 2023 is his first experience of teaching at MEDLI.
Dr. Fatemeh Mirsharifi
Elementary Persian Instructor
Fatemeh Mirsharifi received her PhD in Second Language Acquisition with an emphasis on Less Commonly Taught Languages from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In the past, she has taught Persian at the University of California-Berkeley and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Moreover, she has collaborated on projects with the Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA) at the University of Minnesota as well as the College Credit Recommendation Service (CREDIT), American Council on Education.
Her research interests include second/foreign language acquisition and pedagogy with emphasis on developing pedagogical materials for the foreign language classroom, motivation in language learning, and the role of learner attitudes in L2 motivation. She also has a passion for educational technology, creating engaging and interactive learning content to ensure a successful instructional experience.
Intermediate Persian Instructor
Advanced Persian Instructor
Mohamad Esmaili-Sardari is Academic Coordinator of the Middle Eastern Languages Program (Arabic and Persian) at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (Washington, DC). Since 1998, he has taught Persian and Spanish at Georgetown University, Middlebury College, the Catholic University of America, the Middle East Institute, Diplomatic Language Services, and most recently the University of Maryland’s Roshan Center for Persian Studies. In 2005, he received the Provost’s Award for Excellence in Teaching at the Catholic University of America. He is the author of several articles and book chapters on current perspectives and future directions of the teaching of Persian as a foreign language. His textbook “Persian in International Relations and Foreign Policy: A Content-Based Approach” is now available.
Elementary Turkish Instructor
Yao-Kai Chi earned his Ph.D. degree in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He completed his MA in Translation Studies at Boğaziçi University, Istanbul and his BA in Turkish Language and Culture from National Chengchi University in Taipei, Taiwan. Prior to his Ph.D. study in Madison, Chi taught Turkish language and culture courses for Taiwanese undergraduate students. He is still currently teaching online Turkish courses for adult learners. Chi is also an amateur translator, publishing his first translated work from Turkish into Mandarin Chinese in 2016. He also collaborated with the faculty of the Turkish department in Taiwan to publish a textbook Türkçe Öğreniyoruz II in 2019. Chi believes that learning should connect with personal interests. He emphasizes the creation of a learner-centered environment where students can connect the foreign language learning with their daily lives. His dissertation topic is about learner identity of adult students of Turkish.
Gül Deniz Demirel
Elementary Turkish Instructor
Recently awarded a Ph.D. in Teaching Turkish as a Foreign Language from Hacettepe University, Gül Deniz Demirel Aydemir remains committed to learning and gaining experience in various settings. Her journey in language education began with a BA in English Language Teaching at METU and was further enriched by her experience as an instructor at Hacettepe University over ten years and as a Fulbright FLTA at Yale University. Throughout her career, she has had the privilege of teaching Turkish at multiple universities, continually learning and growing alongside her students. She takes great pleasure in looking for ways to create an inclusive and engaging learning environment, fostering communicative competence and intercultural understanding among students while nurturing an appreciation for the diverse Anatolian cultures.
Her research interests encompass materials development, teaching Turkish for academic purposes, and exploring critical language pedagogies. She likes camping, travelling, and spending time with arts & crafts and has a deep appreciation for world music and cinema.
Intermediate Turkish Instructor
Tuğba Yıldırım Kumbasar works as a Lecturer in Turkish in MEDLI. She holds her BA in English Language Teaching, and her MA in Turkish Language Education. She is pursuing her doctoral studies in Educational Sciences PhD Program at Boğaziçi University, İstanbul. She is a scholar of “Teaching Excellence and Achievement Program (University of North Dakota, 2012), Grundtvig Program: The Creative Classroom (Europass Teacher Academy, Florence, Italy, 2014) and Fulbright FLTA Program (Brown University, 2015-2016)”. Prior to the University of Wisconsin- Madison, she worked for Özyeğin University, Brown University, TED Istanbul College and American Culture Language Schools. She is currently teaching in the Foundations Development Year (FDY) English Program at Sabancı University, İstanbul. In addition to teaching languages, she is leading professional development sessions on the topics of “Educational Technology” and “Arts Integration” for language instructors. Her academic interests and studies include “Arts Integration in Foreign Language Instruction, Educational Technology, and Global Learning & Human Rights Education.”