Last year, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University approved of a new professor, Tarek Mahmoud, to teach beginning and intermediate Arabic. Professor Mahmoud was born in Cairo, Egypt with Arabic as his first language. He spent eight years studying in Austria at the University of Vienna. About 30 years ago, he moved to the United States and settled in Monterey, Calif. where he worked for the Department of Defense. After getting a job as Arabic instructor, Mahmoud moved to Prescott, Ariz. and almost immediately started making changes.
Arabic is the most widely spoken language in the Middle East and holds political and religious values. The Middle East is a volatile region holding most of the countries oil. It is a home to many religions and contains allies as well as radical enemies.
Learning Arabic has become popular with GSIS majors. As of now, only Mahmoud teaches Arabic, but his classes have grown significantly for him to request an additional professor to teach part-time, Dana Khamis, who will be starting in spring 2015.
Another change Mahmoud brought is a new humanities course "Modern Middle East and World Affairs" which is the first time it will be offered at ERAU. Mahmoud taught the course during the summer at ERAU Daytona Beach, which he said was a lot of fun. The class will cover the history of the Middle East from WWI on to present times and is available for any major to take during spring 2015.
Since Mahmoud likes to bring culture to the classroom as he teaches, he also decided to bring the classroom to the culture by getting a study abroad program to Morocco approved for summer 2015. He is very eager for students to learn not just the language, but culture in the Middle East as well. Morocco is a good place to further students learning.
All of Mahmoud's classes are available to students of any degree program, such as engineers or physicists, as well as global security majors. Students appreciate his interactive teaching methods and find it helpful that he is a native speaker of Arabic. "He really helps you with the pronunciation, especially since he is a native speaker just hearing him talk really helps you," says aerospace engineering student, Kyle West.