UN Home



Samia Montasser  سامية منتصر

In one of the conferences a head of a program, said when we were introduced “So, you are Samia Montasser. What is the secret of your success?” I replied “I LOVE my job”. When I started teaching Arabic as a foreign language I felt I finally found what I was looking for and decided to devote my life to the teaching of this beautiful language following the saying “Learn Arabic and teach it”.

Started working for the United Nations in 2001, introduced many changes and new classes. With the help of teachers the program has taken a noticeable turn.

I am a native of Cairo, Egypt. I did undergraduate and graduate studies at Al-Azhar University, oldest working university in the world, in English literature, Linguistics and Translation and worked there until being assistant-Professor. I worked also as a free lance translator at the Egyptian Broadcasting Services and many companies in Cairo and America. I did graduate studies in Linguistics and Translation at Bath University England, and Georgetown University in Washington DC, USA.

I taught Arabic in many institutes and universities in Washington DC such as The Foreign Service Institute and the American University. I taught also at the School of Advanced International Studies “SAIS”, Johns Hopkins University, and in 1992 I started the Arabic Language Program at the George Washington University in and was the coordinator until I joined the UN. I also taught several summers at Middlebury College, Vermont. During my career, I won many awards for excellence in teaching, among them name on the list of 2000 “Who’s Who in American Teaching”.

I co-authored and published a book with a CD-Rom “Al-Qaari' AD-Dawli, Arabic International Reader” for intermediate and advanced students, and reviewed books and CD-Rom programs teaching Arabic. Member of many associations among them Middle East Studies Association “MESA” and “Association of American Teachers of Arabic”, served on the board of the latter for two years.



Full Time:

Thouria Benferhat ثريا بن فرحات

Holds a Masters' Degree in TESOL and Bilingual Education (Arabic-English) from Georgetown University, 1981.  
Did Teacher Training at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Taught Arabic and French at the World Trade Center Institute and Michel-Thomas Language Centers.
Taught French at The Juilliard School of Music, New York City.
Has been teaching Arabic at the United Nations since 1982.
Performed the tasks of the Arabic Language Coordinator at the United Nations Arabic Language Program for a total of about 5 years.
Developed and maintains a website for students in the United Nations Arabic Language Program:
http://www.tbenferhat.wordpress.com  (former http://www.unatb.org)

Served on mission assignment in Baghdad, Iraq, 1989.


Jalileh Atut جليلة عطعوط

I joined the United Nations Arabic Language Program in the late seventies, teaching the different regular courses and special courses.

I started my career by teaching Arabic Language and Islamic studies in a high school at hometown, Tulkarem, Jordan for several years, then in Kuwait for three years.

In addition to teaching in the Program at the United Nations, I participate in program structure, examinations, and all activities required from all teachers. At one point, I also designed and taught a translation course for UN translators, and co-authored and designed the UN textbooks.

Outside the United Nations, I established and developed an Arabic language teaching program for Farleigh Dickenson University Teaneck Campus, New Jersey, and taught there for some years. I also taught Arabic at the New School University in Manhattan, New York.

As well, I participated in developing the Arabic language teaching program at Al-Ghazaly school in Jersey City, New Jersey.

Suad Mohamed سعاد محمد

My passion and love for teaching Arabic is tied to my love of my culture, people and identity. I am a native of Yemen and have been an avid teacher of Arabic language and culture for the past Thirty years. I was appointed at the UNITED NATIONS program in 1991 and since then I felt that I have found my niche in the Big Apple. I have taught as well, as a part time at the CITY UNIVERSITY of NEW YORK at CCNY and JJAY College along with the NEW SCHOOL and the NYU for professional studies and continuing education, after already having a rewarding career teaching Arabic in Aden, Yemen.

In addition to my teaching at the UN as a part time, I work currently as a full time Lecturer, teaching Arabic at MEALAC department at COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY.

There were always opportunities to work on projects and write books, but my first love has always been teaching. I am a people person. I am happy in and belong in the classroom. Certainly, my BA and Master’s studies in Psychology have contributed to my vision and approach in my interactions with my students. I’ve learned a great deal, and continue to learn, from my students, my colleagues and other teachers developing better skills and renewing my methods. All in all, it’s been a deeply, fulfilling journey. I am deeply connected to my work and there’s never been a dull moment in my busy schedule.

Ahmed Eissawi

Joined the United Nations Language and Communications program in September 1991.

He has been involved in the Arabic language teaching profession since 1980 as a teaching assistant in Al-Alsun Faculty, Ain Shams University (Cairo, Egypt).

After his arrival to the United States in 1986, as he participated in different Arabic language institutes prior to joining the United Nations as a part time teacher. He is the founder and director of The Arabic Language Institute in Queens, NY, he teaches there as well.
Ahmed is also an active member of Arab-American media since 1995 producing and presenting cultural programs. As well, he is the founder and Editor-In-Chief of the Arab-American newspaper Al-Shorouq.
Ahmed has written a myriad number of articles and poems in many different Arab and Arab-American newspapers and magazines. He has a poetry collection under print.
Ahmed is continuing his graduate studies at The American-Islamic University in Virginia.
Ahmed loves his teaching field, especially his experience with the languages program at the United Nations.

Maysa Hayward مايسة أبو يوسف – هيوارد

I was born and raised in Egypt. Taught at Cairo University and the American University in Cairo. In the USA, Indiana U of PA and Slippery Rock U PA. Currently, I am an associate professor in Ocean College NJ and   I coordinate a pilot program in Middle Eastern Studies. I teach Arabic Literature, culture, and history. The motto I use at the end of my email messages is a simple question and answer: How can you get the best out of your students? Love them, respect them, and treat them as your treasure. I think this idea applies to all situations, not just my classroom. My doctoral dissertation on translation theory, Transformance, looks at ways readers can be transformed as one culture interacts with another. Love and respect for all people, all cultures, is a necessary part of this dynamic. If we treasure our dialogues with others we are able to help one another grow and expand our vision of the possible. This is my creed as a teacher and as a person.