Sonia Shiri: Dr. Shiri specializes in applied linguistics and serves as Middle East Language Programs Coordinator and Director of the Arabic Flagship Program at the University of Arizona. Dr. Shiri also spearheaded the Language Science and Innovation Collaborative, a network of faculty from across campus who work on innovative interdisciplinary projects pertaining to all languages in general. She organized and conducted numerous workshops for teachers of languages including ones from international backgrounds and FLTAs both in the UA and abroad in their home countries. Prior to joining MENAS, Dr. Shiri coordinated the Arabic Program at the University of California, Berkeley, taught Arabic at Oxford University and held a Research Fellowship at the Center for Women and Gender at Stanford University. From 2009-2012, she acted as Senior Academic Director of the State Department’s Critical Language Scholarship (CLS), overseeing curriculum development, program administration, assessment, and teacher training in five countries.
Benjamin Fortna: Dr. Fortna is a well published historian of the Modern Middle East with a particular research focus on the late Ottoman Empire and the early Turkish Republic. Before his time at the University of Arizona, Dr. Fortna has also taught at the School of Oriental & African Studies in the University of London for eighteen years.
Brent White: Brent White will welcome the FLTAs on the first orientation day and will attend the farewell reception in order to lend institutional appreciation for the role FLTAs play in US universities. He was recently charged with guiding the comprehensive international vision of the University by combining the offices of International Education and Global Initiatives into one unit called UA Global. In his newly assumed role, Dr. White continues to lead the UA’s Global Micro-Campus Network and other efforts to develop and implement new models of transnational education. He also oversees study abroad programs, international student admissions, and support for international students and faculty members. Additionally, Dr. White led the development of the UA Micro-Campus at Ocean University of China in Qingdao, which has become the model for the larger university micro-campus initiative.