Sonia Shiri

Director, Arabic Special Programs
Professor, Arabic

Dr. Sonia Shiri is a Professor, the Middle East Language Programs Coordinator, and the Director of the Arabic Flagship Program at the University of Arizona. In 2019, she became Director of the Center for Arabic Study Abroad (CASA). Her research interests and publications focus on Second Language Acquisition and Teaching, languages in contact, study abroad, and CALL.  She is a faculty member of the Second Language Acquisition & Teaching (SLAT) Interdisciplinary Graduate Program.

Before joining MENAS, Dr. Sonia Shiri coordinated the Arabic Program at the University of California, Berkeley, taught Arabic at Oxford University where she was a Senior Fellow at St. Antony’s College, 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 Critical Language Scholarship (CLS), overseeing curriculum development, program administration, and teacher training in Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, and Oman.  During 2002-2005, she served as the Academic and Outreach Coordinator for the Berkeley Language Center. 

In 2007, Dr. Sonia Shiri received UC Berkeley’s Faculty Award for Outstanding Mentorship of Graduate Student Instructors” then CALICO’s “Access to Language Education Award” in 2008. In 2017, she was a Fellow of the UA Academic Leadership Institute, was nominated in 2016 for the ACTFL Paul Pimsleur Award for Research in Foreign Language Education, and currently serves on the editorial board of the Foreign Language Annals and Critical Multilingualism Studies.

Dr. Sonia Shiri is currently the Director of the following programs and the PI for the related grants:

  1. The Arabic Overseas Flagship Capstone Program
  2. The Arizona Arabic Flagship Program 
  3. Project GO
  4. Qatar Foundation International (QFI) for the pre-collegiate Arabic Summer Jumpstart Program
  5. US Department of Education Fulbright-Hays Long-Term Group Projects Abroad for CASA Program in Jordan
  6. Fulbright Language Teaching Assistant Program, US Department of State 



  • Trentman, E. & Shiri, S. (2020). The Mutual Intelligibility of Arabic Dialects: Implications for the Arabic Classroom. Critical Multilingualism Studies, 8:1, 104-134.
  • Shiri, S. (2018). Orchestrating Multimodal Protest and Subverting Banal Nationalism in the Linguistic Landscape of the Tunisian Revolution. In Mendel Y. & AlNajjar A. (Eds.), Language, Politics and Society in the Middle East: Essays in Honour of Yasir Suleiman (pp. 165-184). Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
  • Shiri, S. and Joukhadar, C. (2017), Arabic Diglossic Speaking without Mixing: Practices and Outcomes from a Beginning Level. In Mahmoud Al-Batal (ed.), Arabic as One Language: Integrating Colloquial in the Arabic Curriculum. Georgetown University Press: Washington, DC. 
  • Shiri, S. (2015). Co-constructing Dissent in the Transient Linguistic Landscape: Multilingual Protest Signs of the Tunisian Revolution. In R. Rubdy and S. Ben Said (Eds.) Conflict, Exclusion and Dissent in the Linguistic Landscape. Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Shiri, S. (2015), Intercultural Communicative Competence Development During and After Language Study Abroad: Insights from Arabic. Foreign Language Annals, 48: 541-569.
  • Shiri, S. (2015), The Homestay in Intensive Language Study Abroad: Social Networks, Language Socialization, and Developing Intercultural Competence. Foreign Language Annals, 48: 5–25.
  • Shiri, S. (2013), Learners' Attitudes toward Regional Dialects and Destination Preferences in Study Abroad. Foreign Language Annals, 46: 565–587.
  • S’hiri, S. (2013; First Published 2002). ‘Speak Arabic Please!’: Tunisian Arabic Speakers’ Linguistic Accommodation to Middle Easterners.  In A. Rouchdy (Ed.), Language Contact and Language Conflict in Arabic Variations on a Sociolinguistic Theme. New York: Routledge Curzon Press.  Article here.
  • Blake, R. & Shiri, S. (2012) Online Arabic Language Learning: What happens after? L2 Journal, 4: 230-246.



Arabic Flagship Program

Center for Arabic Study Abroad (CASA)

Arabic Jumpstart Program