I'm an American of Arab descent. My ancestry goes back to Syria, but I was born in Egypt (where my parents grew up) and moved with my parents and sister to the U.S. when I was five years old. After spending most of my life in the U.S. (mainly Southern California), in August 2000 I returned to Cairo where I accepted a teaching position at the American University in Cairo. I was living in Cairo at the time of the terrorist attacks of 11 September against the U.S. In addition to teaching, I was also doing some writing related to the attacks and the American news media's coverage and government's actions. Reactions by some Americans to what I had to say made me think that I would like to address the subject when I would return to the U.S. During the fall-out of the attacks of September 11, I started thinking about taking a U.S. - Middle East focused approach to a critical reasoning and writing course when I would return to the U.S. I taught the course with this focus for the first time in the Spring 2005 at Fullerton College, and it was an amazing experience for those of us involved. My students who put in the effort and cared about what they were learning can certainly attest to that, and I really enjoyed working with them and was greatly encouraged by the experience.
I've been fortunate to have had the opportunity to travel quite a bit around the world, including within Europe, South and Southeast Asia, and the Middle East, and I speak Arabic. Because of my intimacy with America and part of the Arab world, my sensitivity to each, and the close relationships I have with people of both parts of the world, I believe myself to be a bridge between the cultures.
When I'm not busy trying to save the world, I enjoy listening to and playing music, playing and watching sports, reading, writing, and spending time with my wife and our precious little girls.
I've also performed as an actor at the American University in Cairo's Howard Theater, California State University, Long Beach Theater Arts Department, and Huntington Beach Playhouse and as a singer in the Cairo Choral Society, Cairo Celebration Choir, and Chorale Priere Vivante.
Since the Spring 2007 term at SRJC (Petaluma), I've been teaching an advanced composition and critical reasoning course (English 5) with the focus I described. I hope that this course allows us to understand each other's cultures better and better understand how we Americans and our actions are perceived in a different part of the world. At the risk of sounding like I'm over-stating things, I'm afraid that the world can't afford otherwise. I hope that you'll embrace the opportunity to challenge yourself to examine the important issues openly and honestly.
I find learning and teaching to be very stimulating, and I really enjoy being in the classroom and playing a part in helping students reach their goals. I try to foster a healthy, comfortable environment in my classes, and I hope that you will sense that right away and allow it to help you reach your full potential.
Professional Areas of Interest:
Attended Conference on College Composition and Communication (March 2009) in San Francisco. Notable sessions:
"Reading, Writing, and Rock Stars: Audio Literacies and the Millennial Classroom"
"Black Faces in White Spaces: African-American Identity on a Predominantly White Campus"
"Toward a Civic Discourse on the Israel-Palestine Conflict"
"Approaches to Teaching Argument"
"Film as Visual Rhetorical Texts"
"Taking the Stage: Performance and the Writing Classroom"
"Making Waves by Analyzing the Rhetoric of War"
Professional Involvement and Community Service:
Mentor as part of the Puente Project
Summer 2008 Speaker at the Petaluma Women's Club: Discussed my familiarity with Egyptian culture and politics and my effort to bridge our cultures through the approach I take to teaching Advanced Composition
Dec. 2004 Guest on two shows of Long Beach Community Television's The Palestinians: A Problem of Perspectives and Misconceptions