Meet the panellists

Michael King

Michael graduated in Economics and Politics and was awarded a Post graduate Diploma in Education. He taught in secondary schools in Australia and England before joining the British Council as an English teacher and Teacher Trainer. He worked as Teaching Centre Manager for the British Council in Spain, Pakistan Brazil and Venezuela.

He moved into Examinations and Assessments and has directed Exams and Assessments in China, India and is currently Director Exams and Assessments for KSA, Kuwait and Bahrain.

He works at the intersection of curriculum, training and assessment and is committed to bringing UK excellence to bear in facilitating and supporting the development of effective learning systems.

At the conference

Michael will be chairing the first panel discussion around 'Language Learning and Assessment in Local Context.'

James Shipton

James has a wide experience as an educator and manager in International Education and Assessment with a particular interest in Cultures of Learning. After graduating with a MA in Social Anthropology from Edinburgh, Scotland, James began his career in Teaching and Assessment which, over the last 35 years, has taken him to Latin America, South and East Asia, Europe and the Middle East. James is currently Regional Director for Examination Services for Middle East and North Africa for the British Council. He has held a number of senior management roles in including Head IELTS, Director Examinations China and CEO of British Council Education, India.

At the conference

James will be chairing the second panel discussion around 'Language Learning and Assessment in Local Context.'

Professor Abdullah Al-Bargi

Prof. Abdullah Al-Bargi is Full Professor of Applied Linguistics/TESOL and currently serves as the Dean of the English Language Institute (ELI) at King Abdulaziz University (KAU). He also serves as the President of Saudi TESOL, following his election in 2021 as the first president of the only TESOL association in Saudi Arabia recognized and approved by the Ministry of Education. Prior to 2017 just before his appointment as the ELI Dean, Prof. Al-Bargi had served as the ELI Vice-Dean for Development for seven years where he worked to develop major academic operations, including academic accreditation, curriculum & assessment, quality assurance and professional development.

Prof. Al-Bargi is also an international site reviewer for USDE-recognized & US-based Commission on English Language Program Accreditation (CEA) and served as the General Supervisor of the Strategic Planning Unit at the Office of the KAU Vice-President of Academic Affairs.

Prof. Al-Bargi is also a seasoned journalist as he worked as a senior editor of major Saudi English language newspapers and as a national television commentator and anchor.

At the conference

Prof. Al-Bargi will sit on the panel of the first panel discussion around 'Language Learning and Assessment in Local Context.'

Ghada Ali Alshehri

Ghada Alshehri is an English Language instructor with six years of experience in teaching the language. She holds an MA in Arts from University of Missouri- Saint Louis and a diploma in teaching. She also has teaching experience in three different universities: TU, KSU, and PNU.

She is a certified trainer from both Cambridge University and Nile Academy and has done workshops on many topics, such as effective communication in classrooms, the importance of emotional intelligence, and how to use rubrics. 

She is an experienced item developer and was the head of the Curriculum and Assessment Unit at the English Language Institute at PNU for around two years. She is interested in experimenting with new methods of assessment and is doing research on students’ perspectives of using e-assessment tools for assessing writing skills. 

She recently attained her Fellowship in 2022. She is always passionate about the quality of teaching by continuously trying new teaching methodologies and styles.

At the conference

Ghada will sit on the panel of the first panel discussion around 'Language Learning and Assessment in Local Context.'

Dr Hanoof Alkasham, PhD, FHEA

Dr. Hanoof Bandar Alkasham, Vice-Dean of Research, Innovation, and Business at ELI in PNU. Holds a Master’s in TESOL and foreign language teaching from the University of Canberra and a PhD in TESOL and Language Teacher Education from Monash University. Dr. Hanoof worked in developing multiple academic programs at PNU, most recently the Post Graduate Diploma in English as a Medium of Instruction. Worked with other private and government sectors as a consultant on educational and research projects. Currently, Dr. Hanoof is part of a team of academics and researchers building a national English language proficiency test for young learners. Dr. Hanoof research interests are within language teacher education, teacher language awareness and teacher professional development. Assessment methods and learning about assessing language learners are big parts of English language teacher education. Due to her working with pre-service and in-service teachers, Dr Hanoof is always interested in reading and learning about the latest trends and studies in language assessment.

At the conference

Dr. Alkasham will sit on the panel of the first panel discussion around 'Language Learning and Assessment in Local Context.'

Dr Othman Barnawi

Dr Othman Z. Barnawi is Full Professor of Language and Education at the Royal Commission for Yanbu Colleges and Institutes, Saudi Arabia. His research interests include the intersection(s) of language and political economy, social and education policy studies, multilingual and multicultural studies, second language writing, language testing, and transnational education. His works appear in journals such as Language and Education, Critical Studies in Education, International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, Critical Inquiries in Language Studies, and Australian Review of Applied Linguistics. He is the founding editor of Global South Perspectives on TESOL (Book Series published by Routledge-Taylor and Francis Group). His recent books are TESOL and the cult of speed in the age of neoliberal mobility (Routledge, 2020), Neoliberalism and English Language Education Policies in the Arabian (Routledge, 2018), and Writing Centers in the Higher Education Landscape of the Arabian Gulf (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017).  The Past, Present, and Future of Higher Education in the Arabian Gulf Region: Critical Comparative Perspectives in a Neoliberal Era (Routledge, 2022).

At the conference

Dr. Barnawi will sit on the panel of the first panel discussion around 'Language Learning and Assessment in Local Context.'

Dr. Ruqayyah Moafa

Dr. Ruqayyah Moafa is an assistant professor of Applied Linguistics at the English Language Institute at Jazan university. She has dedicated her career to understanding and improving the ways in which people communicate across languages and cultures.

With a doctorate in Applied Linguistics from the University of Memphis, Dr. Moafa has conducted extensive research on language acquisition and cross-cultural communication. Her work has been published in academic journals, and she has presented her findings at conferences around the world.

In addition to her research, Dr. Moafa is a passionate teacher who takes pride in educating the next generation of language experts. Her interactive approach draws on her students' experiences to help them develop new insights into the complexities of language and communication. Her passion for exploring the complexities of language is evident in her classroom instruction and scholarly work.

Through her research and teaching, Dr. Moafa is making important contributions to the field of Applied Linguistics. Her work is helping to break down barriers and promote greater understanding between people of different linguistic and cultural backgrounds.

At the conference

Dr. Moafa will sit on the panel of the first panel discussion around 'Language Learning and Assessment in Local Context.'

Sultan Ayash

Moving directly from the academic field, after 3 years of extensive teaching experience at university and community college as a lecturer in the USA, Sultan has gained a great experience the field of Applied Linguistics by presenting in many academic conferences, like Washington University conference, Spokane Regional Conference, and Palouse and Culture Symposium. Likewise, his interest in cross-gender differences in language learning has enabled him to purplish his first academic research then followed by a case study .   his passion for empowering people has led him to earn the charted CIPD level 5 diploma in L&D

Leveraging the unique lessons, he learned from inside out during the years he spent between Canada and the United States, when joined BAE Systems SDT, Sultan has already stood out as he was nominated to train English instructors before they join BAE Systems SDT. 

A knack for making young Saudis presence more obvious, stronger in the academic and technical Aviation training, Mr. Ayash experience has been rewarding and led him to run BAE Systems Jeddah exam center to deliver any academic and / or technical Aviation exams covering the whole wet province in KSA

At the conference

Mr. Ayash will sit on the panel of the first panel discussion around 'Language Learning and Assessment in Local Context.'

Dr. Ahmad Nuriddin

Dr. Ahmad Nuriddin is the Director of the Preparatory Program, and also teaches in the social sciences and foreign languages programs at Prince Mohammad University (PMU) in Al Khobar Saudi Arabia. He has over 40 years of experience in the field of International Education in the United States, Saudi Arabia, West Africa, and Latin America, and as a researcher at the Smithsonian Institute. He attended Columbia University, Northcentral University, Bowdoin College, and Yale University.  His research interests include second language acquisition and promoting academic honesty to avoid cheating. He has written and presented on these topics at local and international gatherings. His students fondly refer to him as the “cheating” professor.

At the conference

Dr. Nuriddin will sit on the panel of the second panel discussion around 'Language Learning and Assessment in Local Context.'

James Lasak

James Lasak is a senior learning and development professional at Aramco’s Academic Curriculum & Testing Unit, where he and his team develop award-winning, performance-based English language learning programs to support the development of the company’s industrial workforce. James’ interests include the digital transformation of learning, with particular focus on assessment and learning analytics, performance consulting, and coaching. James holds a Master’s Degree in English Language Teaching & Applied Linguistics from King’s College London, is a Certified Talent Development Professional (Association for Talent Development), and is an Accredited Associate Executive Coach (Academy of Executive Coaching).

At the conference

Mr. Lasak will sit on the panel of the second panel discussion around 'Language Learning and Assessment in Local Context.'

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