Fahmi Abu Al-Rub, Professor of chemical and biochemical engineering, former Dean of Research at Jordan University of Science and Technology and Key Expert at the EMUNI University-Slovenia. Prof. Abu Al-Rub is/was partner in 28 EU projects (2 ENPI, 4 TEMPUS Projects, and 20 Erasmus+, 1 ENI, 1 PRIMA, and one NSF, three USAID, and one FAO project, with a total budget exceeding 34,000,000 EURO. Recently he has been nominated to be a committee member in the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST). Prof. Abu Al-Rub was the key expert and coordinator to establish the first Master’s Program in the World on De-Pollution of the Mediterranean that was supposed to be hosted by three European Universities. Prof. He is the coordinator of Establishment of Intercalated Program in Basic Medical Sciences in Jordan/ iBMS-JO, INVENT – PROMOTION OF INNOVATION CULTURE IN THE HIGHER EDUCATION IN JORDAN, and FOODQA – FOSTERING ACADEMIA-INDUSTRY COLLABORATION IN FOOD SAFETY AND QUALITY; Erasmus+ Projects, and he was the local coordinator for the “NETKITE” project; an ENPI project, that aimed at fostering innovation and entrepreneurship among young researchers in Egypt, Jordan, Palestine, and Tunisia. Abu Al-Rub has reformed the Deanship of Research at JUST to establish the TTO and externally funded office to manage and secure external funds. He has active research in Environment, Renewable Energy, Biofuels, and Wastewater Treatment. He has more than 85 publications on Environment, and Wastewater Treatment, and renewable energy. Prof. Abu AlRub received in 2016, the King Abduallah the Second Award in Innovation, and Abdel-Hameed Shoman Award for Young Arab Researchers 2001.

Olga Aksakalova, GSACS Project Director, is Professor of English and Coordinator of the Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) program at LaGuardia Community College, CUNY. She teaches courses on cultural identity in American literature, women writers, writing center pedagogy, and academic writing. In her role as COIL Coordinator, Dr. Aksakalova has supported over 100 class-to-class partnerships with thirty international institutions of higher education. Before joining LaGuardia, she served as founding director of the bilingual Writing and Communication Center at the New Economic School in Moscow, Russia. Her research interests include civic engagement in transnational writing programs; bilingual writing centers; COIL program administration; COIL in the humanities; 20th century American literature and autobiography studies. Dr. Aksakalova serves on the board of non-profit organization COIL Connect and on the editorial board of College Composition and Communication.

Jamal E. Benhyaoun is a Moroccan poet and scholar. He is Vice-President and Senior Professor of English literature and cultural studies at Abdelmalek Essaadi University in Tetouan, Morocco, and he is the author of numerous publications in Arabic and English, including Narration, Navigation, and Colonialism (Peter Lang 2006). He is a Professor of classical and modern poetry and chief editor of Poems on the Edge, an online poetry magazine, and a forthcoming anthology of poems. Jamal E. Benhayoun’s poetry has appeared in Arabic and English in anthologies and newspapers, and he is currently translating the work of the highly acclaimed Chinese poets Tian He and Meier into Arabic. He is also known for his opinion articles on moroccoworldnews.com. He is currently the director of the research group on literature and cross-cultural translations. Jamal E. Benhayoun has participated in numerous prestigious literary festivals, including LIFFT, the last edition of which took place in Baku, Azerbaijan, 2019.

Amina Elbendary is associate professor of Middle East history and Chair at the Department of Arab and Islamic Civilizations, the American University in Cairo (AUC). Her research interests include the social and cultural history of medieval Egypt and Syria, Arabic historiography, and Islamic political thought. 

Her publications include the monograph Crowds and Sultans: Urban Protest in Late Medieval Egypt and Syria. The book explores reports of urban protest and dissent in the cities of Egypt and Syria under the late Mamluk and early Ottoman regimes, and analyzes both the historiography of protest and the intricacies of urban politics in the late medieval period. She is also the co-author (with Dalia Said Mostafa) of The Egyptian Coffeehouse: Culture, Politics and Urban Space. She is currently working on a research project related to popularization and late medieval historiography. 

Elbendary earned her PhD in Oriental Studies from Clare Hall, University of Cambridge (2007). She holds an MA in Arabic studies with a specialization in Middle East history for her thesis “Histories of the Muslim Hero: Medieval and Modern Perceptions of al-Zahir Baybars” (2000) and a BA in political science (suma cum laude, 1996), both from AUC.

Ghada Elshimi is the Dean of Undergraduate Studies and Academy of Liberal Arts at the American University in Cairo. She is also the director of the Core Curriculum. Elshimi’s mission is to enhance the liberal arts mission of AUC, and ensure that students experience a holistic education by connecting all aspects of student learning to achieve intellectual and personal growth.

She also teaches in the Department of Rhetoric and Composition and the Core Curriculum.  She has taught cultural explorations courses, as well as courses in approaches to critical writing, argument writing, academic research and business communication. 

Elshimi holds a PhD in higher educational leadership from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, a master’s degree in education and a bachelor’s degree in English literature and linguistics. Her interests include developing curricula for special populations and tailoring instruction for students’ individual learning styles. In teaching, her focus is bridging the fields of education and rhetoric to create effective learning experiences for students. Research interests include the development of self-authorship in undergraduate students and how this is impacted by curriculum design.

Dr. Samuel Finesurrey serves as an Assistant Professor of History at Guttman Community College, City University of New York. He received his Ph.D. in Cuban History at the University of North Carolina in 2018. In 2020 Dr. Finesurrey was awarded an American Council of Learned Societies Mellon Community College Fellowship to develop, with undergraduates, an archive titled Voices from the Heart of Gotham: The Undergraduate Scholars Oral History Collection at Guttman Community College. This is a collection of student-conducted oral histories producing and preserving contemporary immigrant and activist narratives in New York City. Finesurrey also is the director of CUNY-School in the Square Intergenerational Participatory Research Collective. These projects have resulted in numerous publications, co-authored with the youth researchers, which draw from the interviews collected by these young scholars. At Guttman, Finesurrey serves Open Educational Resource Campus Coordinator, collaborating with fellow faculty to adopt, alter and create open educational resources (OER) to save students money, while simultaneously making materials responsive to the current historical and political moment. Finesurrey won the 2021-22 Award for Excellence for Part-Time Faculty at Guttman Community College.

Jessica Levin is the Experiential Learning and Study Abroad Manager at Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC). In an effort to create more equitable and sustainable opportunities for international engagement, Jessica developed a program for Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) in partnership with BMCC’s E-Learning and Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. The program has been able to support faculty from various disciplines in virtual exchange. Jessica holds an M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies from the Graduate Center, City University of New York. She is excited to work with colleagues and students in the MENA region to expand BMCC’s global learning opportunities. 

Grace Pai is an Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies at Guttman Community College. She primarily teaches mathematics and statistics courses, while serving as the Faculty Coordinator of International Education and Advisor of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. In addition to being a former Peace Corps Volunteer and high school math teacher in New York City, she worked as Senior Research Associate at the New York City Department of Education, and also has experience doing international development work in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa (Bangladesh, South Africa and Sierra Leone). She holds a Ph.D. in International Education from New York University, an M.Ed. in Secondary School Mathematics from Brooklyn College, and an Ed. M. in Prevention Science and Practice from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Her research areas include global learning (including COIL), culturally responsive pedagogy, program evaluation, educational equity, and mathematics education.

Amy Ramson is a Professor in the paralegal and criminal justice programs at Hostos Community College where has taught for 31 years. She is an attorney licensed to practice in New York State and Georgia since 1983 and 1987, respectively. She practiced immigration and international law in a large New York City law firm, and international boutique law firms in New York City and Geneva full-time before she began her career in academia. She practices on a part-time and pro bono capacity at present.

On campus, she has been the Hostos CUNY-NYPD Cadet coordinator, the Sexual Harassment Education Committee chair, the co-founder of the Service Learning committee, a long-term member of the Educational Leadership Technology Council, and is the COIL coordinator. Her academic scholarship includes peer-reviewed articles and book chapters and national and international conference presentations in sexual harassment education, service learning, networked learning and Collaborative Online International Learning, e-portfolios and educational technology. She has obtained grants in the fields of cybersecurity policy and law, public interest technology, virtual exchange, and linking ESL and criminal justice curricula via technology.

Khaled Shanaa is a holder of a Master Degree in Human Rights and Democracy from BerZeit University since 2009. Mr. Shanaa is the Manager of the Project Department at Palestine Ahliya University (PAU) and the Executive Director of the Community Development and Continuing Education Institute (CDCE-I). Mr. Shanaa has a very broad thematic experience across tertiary and TVET education, institutional development, Strategic planning, entrepreneurships, Soft Skills, Good Governance, Civic Engagement, Service Learning, Economic Empowerment, and Career Counseling. He acted as the project manager and team leader of more than 20 major projects during which he was in charge of developing the projects’ idea, documents, and plans, he was also in charge of networking and opining channels of communication and collaboration, in addition to managing the projects’ teams and overseeing the implementation and reporting of activities and deliverables. Mr. Shanaa is the co-founder and board member of a number of local and regional forums and networks such as Local Economic Council, Local Employment Councils, Anna Lindh-Palestine network, among others.

Schiro Withanachchi is Lecturer of Economics and Director of Business and Liberal Arts at Queens College, CUNY. With a background in aerospace engineering, Dr. Withanachchi transitioned from industry to academia. She draws on her experience of living abroad and 20 years of teaching to develop innovative curriculums using Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL). In 2016, she was awarded the Diversity Enhancement Research Grant by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for her research on underrepresented students. As the author of articles on the impact of internationalization on 21st-century skills and the 2020 Faculty Campus Champion of the Year, she is bridging the application-knowledge gap.