Meet MEDLI 2024 Instructors

Team Arabic

Haidar Khezri

Elementary Arabic Instructor

Haidar Khezri CV

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.


Jibril Gabid

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.



Salah Algabli

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.



Team Persian

Dr. Fatemeh Mirsharifi

Elementary Persian Instructor

Connect with Fatemeh on LinkedIn!

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.

Pedram Aghaalikhani

Intermediate Persian Instructor

Pedram is a trained linguist completing a PhD at Indiana University about Russo-Tajik language contact. With expertise in Indo-Iranian, Slavic, and Germanic linguistics, Pedram possesses a diverse background in foreign language teaching and second language acquisition. Pedram has taught Russian at Indiana University since 2019 as well as Persian, his native tongue, at the University of Wisconsin in 2023. With professional experience across three continents, Pedram values the importance of fostering constructive and meaningful intercultural exchange, which he always seeks to impart to his students.

Mohamad Esmaili-Sardari

Advanced Persian Instructor

Connect with Mohamad on LinkedIn!

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.

Team Turkish

Yao-Kai Chi

Elementary Turkish Instructor 

Academia Profile

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.

Emre Murat Bozer (he/him)

Elementary Turkish Instructor

Connect with Emre on LinkedIn!

Emre Murat Bozer is a PhD candidate in Second Language Acquisition at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His teaching experience includes English, Japanese, and Turkish. Previously, he taught English at Bogazici University in Turkey and volunteered to teach Turkish language and drama at Tokyo University of Foreign Studies. Most recently, he has instructed Japanese at the University of Rhode Island and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

His research interests primarily focus on language education and multilingualism, particularly in the realm of heritage language education within community-based heritage schools. His current research project involves a linguistic ethnographic investigation of language ideologies and language socialization practices at a Turkish community school in the United States. Emre also holds a minor in Japanese Linguistics and has published on multilingual Japanese study abroad learners in Turkey.

Tuğba Yıldırım

Advanced 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.”