Speakers

The IAFOR International Conference on Language Learning – Dubai (IICLLDubai) is a multidisciplinary conference held concurrently with The IAFOR International Conference on Education – Dubai (IICEDubai). Keynote, Featured and Spotlight Speakers will provide a variety of perspectives from different academic and professional backgrounds. Registration for either conference will allow delegates to attend sessions in the other.

This page provides information about presenters. For details of presentations and other programming, please visit the Programme page.


  • Zainab Al Baloushi
    Zainab Al Baloushi
    Ministry of Education, UAE
  • Hayley Holuj
    Hayley Holuj
    Ministry of Education, UAE
  • Dr Christine Coombe
    Dr Christine Coombe
    Dubai Men's College, UAE
  • Dr Deena Boraie
    Dr Deena Boraie
    The American University in Cairo, Egypt
  • Professor Mustafa Hashim Taha
    Professor Mustafa Hashim Taha
    American University of Sharjah, UAE
  • Dr Martin Spraggon
    Dr Martin Spraggon
    Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Government, UAE
  • Dr Virginia Bodolica
    Dr Virginia Bodolica
    American University of Sharjah, UAE
  • Dr Christina Gitsaki
    Dr Christina Gitsaki
    Zayed University, UAE
  • Professor Hanada Taha
    Professor Hanada Taha
    Zayed University, UAE
  • Radek (Radoslaw) Janik
    Radek (Radoslaw) Janik
    Ministry of Education, UAE

Additional speakers will be announced in the coming weeks and months.


Previous Speakers

View details of speakers at past IICLLDubai conferences via the links below.

Zainab Al Baloushi
Ministry of Education, UAE

Biography

Zainab Al Baloushi is an English Curriculum Specialist at the UAE Ministry of Education. Zainab's work experience ranges from teaching in the government schools to curriculum development and implementation. Her areas of expertise include applied linguistics and curriculum adaptation.

Featured Panel Presentation (2018) | Innovation in Education Through Curriculum Reform and Research: The Case of the UAE
Hayley Holuj
Ministry of Education, UAE

Biography

Hayley Holuj is the Lead English Curriculum Specialist at the UAE Ministry of Education and heads the English Curriculum Development Unit. Her areas of expertise include ESL curriculum design, education management and education reform.

Featured Panel Presentation (2018) | Innovation in Education Through Curriculum Reform and Research: The Case of the UAE
Dr Christine Coombe
Dubai Men's College, UAE

Biography

Christine Coombe has a PhD in Foreign/Second Language Education from The Ohio State University, USA. She is currently on the English faculty of Dubai Men's College, UAE. She is the former Testing and Measurements Supervisor at UAE University and Assessment Coordinator of Zayed University. Christine is co-editor of Assessment Practices (2003, TESOL Publications); co-author, A Practical Guide to Assessing English Language Learners (2007, University of Michigan Press); co-editor, Evaluating Teacher Effectiveness in EF/SL Contexts (2007, UMP); co-editor, Language Teacher Research in the Middle East (2007, TESOL Publications), Leadership in English Language Teaching and Learning (2008, UMP) Applications of Task-based Learning in TESOL (2010, TESOL Publications), The Cambridge Guide to Second Language Assessment (2012, Cambridge University Press) and Reigniting, Retooling and Retiring in English Language Teaching (2012, University of Michigan Press). Christine’s forthcoming books are on research methods in EF/SL and life skills education.

Christine has lived and worked in the Arabian Gulf for the past 21 years. In this capacity, she has served as the President and past President of TESOL Arabia and as the Founder and Co-chair of the TESOL Arabia Testing Special Interest Group who organise the Current Trends in English Language Testing (CTELT) Conference. Christine is also the Founder and Chair of the TESOL Arabia Leadership & Management SIG.

During her tenure in the Middle East, she has won many awards including: 2002 Spaan Fellowship for Research in Second/Foreign Language Assessment; 2002-03 TOEFL Outstanding Young Scholar Award; TOEFL Board Grant for 2003-04, 2005-06, 2007-08 and 2009-10 for her work in delivering assessment training assessment in developing countries. Most recently she served on the TESOL Board of Directors as Convention Chair for Tampa 2006 and was the recipient of the Chancellor’s Teacher of the Year for 2003-04. She served as TESOL President (2011-2012) and was a member of the TESOL Board of Directors (2010-2013). Christine received the British Council’s International Assessment Award for 2013.

Featured Presentation (2018) | Classroom Management: Empirical and Practical Perspectives

Previous IICLLDubai Presentations

Featured Presentation (2017) | How the Most Productive TESOLers ‘Fit it all in’
Dr Deena Boraie
The American University in Cairo, Egypt

Biography

Dr Deena Boraie is the Dean and Professor of Practice of the School of Continuing Education at the American University in Cairo, Egypt. She leads a school that offers a wide range of continuing education and training programs in the areas of English language, IT and business studies, Arabic language, translation and teacher training. She is a language testing expert and an assessment and evaluation consultant and trainer. She is currently the Senior Advisor of the Minister of Education of Egypt.

She is Past President (she served as President from 2013-2014) of the TESOL International Association a large US-based international association for Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages. She has published and presented in several countries on topics ranging from assessment literacy, language testing and assessment, language program design, teacher beliefs, student and teacher motivation, English as a lingua franca and teacher effectiveness. She is also a visiting professor in the MA / PhD Applied Linguistics program at the Faculty of Arts, English Department of Cairo University where she teaches research methods.

Keynote Presentation (2018) | Exploring English Language Education in the MENA Region Now and in the Future
Professor Mustafa Hashim Taha
American University of Sharjah, UAE

Biography

Mustafa Hashim Taha has taught public relations and mass communication for more than 15 years. His teaching includes public relations, integrated marketing communication, and research methods. Taha’s research interest includes media representation, new media and society, media and conflict, image management and public diplomacy. Prior to his academic career, he worked as a diplomat at the Sudan mission to the United Nations, New York; UN peacekeeping missions in Somalia and Liberia; and as a Sudanese diplomat and Consul General, a.i., in Ethiopia.

Featured Presentation (2018) | Edutainment for Political Reconciliation in South Africa: A Comparative Analysis of Mtwa's Bopha! and Fugard's Valley Song
Dr Martin Spraggon
Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Government, UAE

Biography

Professor Martin Spraggon is the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Government (MBRSG). Prior to joining MBRSG, he worked as a Professor of Strategic Management at the American University of Sharjah’s (UAE) School of Business Administration where he has also served as the Director of Executive Education. He holds a PhD in Management from HEC Montreal (Canada), an MBA from Sherbrooke University (Canada), and a Master in Strategic Management and Entrepreneurship from Institut Superieur du Commerce de Paris (France).

Spraggon’s areas of specialisation include strategic management, design thinking and innovation, organisational behaviour, international marketing, and managerial psychology. He has extensive international experience, having conducted many consulting projects and delivered leadership development programs for North American, Western European, Latin American, and Middle Eastern educational institutions and organisations from the private and public sectors.

Spraggon’s research on emerging economies, behavioural governance, executive compensation, knowledge dynamics in innovative firms and healthcare management, has been published in journals such as Strategic Management Journal, the Academy of Management Annals, Strategic Organisation, Journal of Business Research, Business Ethics: A European Review, Journal of Business Ethics, Health Expectations, and Public Health. His research-driven and practice-based books, titled Mergers and Acquisitions and Executive Compensation and Managing Organizations in the United Arab Emirates: Dynamic Characteristics and Key Economic Developments, were published by Routledge (Taylor & Francis Group) and Palgrave Macmillan, respectively.

Spraggon is actively involved in case study research and practice and serves as an Associate Editor of the Emerald Emerging Markets Case Studies collection. He obtained a competitive research grant from the UAE National Research Foundation to analyse corporate governance practices in local family businesses and received the 2013 Rupert Chisholm Best Theory-to-Practice Paper Award of the Academy of Management Organisational Development and Change Division. He frequently assumes responsibilities as a member of international program committees at academic conferences around the world and is a regular speaker and panelist at practitioner-oriented workshops and events.

Featured Presentation (2018) | Key Trends, Challenges and Opportunities in the Field of Higher Education in the UAE
Dr Virginia Bodolica
American University of Sharjah, UAE

Biography

Virginia Bodolica, PhD (HEC Montreal, Canada), is a Professor in the School of Business Administration at the American University of Sharjah, UAE. She teaches in the areas of strategy and innovation, corporate governance, family business, and human resource management. Her research interests are related to governance issues in for-profit settings, family-owned enterprises and healthcare institutions, board of directors’ dynamics, and the incentive design of executive compensation packages in the context of merger and acquisition transactions. She co-authored a research-driven book on Mergers and Acquisitions and Executive Compensation, which was recently published as part of Routledge Studies in Corporate Governance. Among other journals, Bodolica has published in the Academy of Management Annals, Strategic Management Journal, Journal of Business Research, Strategic Organisation, Journal of Business Ethics, Management Decision, and Health Expectations. She received a Research and Scholarship Award from the UAE National Research Foundation for her collaborative project on corporate governance arrangements in UAE–based family businesses that culminated in the publication of the practice-oriented book titled Managing Organisations in the United Arab Emirates: Dynamic Characteristics and Key Economic Developments. Bodolica assumed consulting roles in private and public organisations and delivered executive education sessions and customised programs to companies in North America, Middle East, and Latin America. Her involvement in professional service activities has earned her Outstanding Reviewer Awards from the Academy of Management Business Policy and Strategy, Healthcare Management, and Management Education and Development Divisions. She was a Visiting Fellow at the Middle East Center, London School of Economics and Political Science, where she conducted research on corporate governance initiatives in publicly listed and family-run organisations located in the Gulf region.

Featured Presentation (2018) | In the Era of Disruptive Transformations: Embracing the Imperative of Dynamic Adaptation to the Evolving World of Work

Previous IICLLDubai Presentations

Featured Presentation (2017) | Managing for Innovation and Sustainability: Lessons from the Gulf Region
Dr Christina Gitsaki
Zayed University, UAE

Biography

Professor Dr Christina Gitsaki is the Research Coordinator at the Center for Educational Innovation, Zayed University, UAE. During her 20-year career in higher education she has contributed to the field in a number of different capacities such as English language teacher, applied linguistics lecturer, pre-service teacher educator, in-service teacher trainer, textbook author, project manager, curriculum leader, editor and researcher. In the past she served as the UNESCO Chair in Applied Research in Education in Sharjah and later as the Associate Dean of the Foundations program at HCT. Before coming to the UAE, she worked at The University of Queensland (UQ) in Australia, where she educated pre-service ESL teachers and supervised Masters and PhD students in language education research. She has worked with Education Queensland and The Learning Federation of the Curriculum Corporation, Australia on state and federal education projects such as the creation of digital Learning Objects for K-12 ESL students. Dr Gitsaki has presented her research at International Conferences, has been an invited speaker at various professional events and she has published 72 papers in refereed journals and book chapters on language acquisition and pedagogy. She is the author, editor and co-editor of twelve books on language education research. At the CEI she oversees the Mobile Learning Research Fund, the SoTL Certification Course, the development of resources for research and she provides advice and mentorship to faculty who are interested in engaging in research on teaching and learning.

Featured Panel Presentation (2018) | Innovation in Education Through Curriculum Reform and Research: The Case of the UAE

Previous IICLLDubai Presentations

Keynote Presentation (2017) | Education: A Supertanker in an Ocean of Change and Innovation
Professor Hanada Taha
Zayed University, UAE

Biography

Hanada Taha is the Endowed Professor of Arabic Language at Zayed University. Previously, she served for six years as Acting Dean & Associate Dean of Bahrain Teachers College. She also served as the Director of Arabic Programs at San Diego State University. Professor Taha has worked on a $ 6 Million MEPI literacy project with Scholastic Publishing House in addition to serving as an adviser for Arab Thought Foundation managing its Arabi21 project since 2009. She serves on the board of trustees of H.H Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Arabic Award. Professor Taha reviewed the national Jordanian Arabic language curriculum and wrote an educational reform policy paper both commissioned by the Queen Rania Foundation. Moreover, Professor Taha evaluated the Arabic language national curriculum in Morocco commissioned by the MOE and USAID. Professor Taha research is mostly focused on Arabic language teaching and learning. Professor Taha holds a PhD in Education from the University of New Orleans, USA; MA in Educational Psychology and Counseling and BA in Social & Behavioral Sciences from the American University of Beirut, Lebanon.

Featured Panel Presentation (2018) | Innovation in Education Through Curriculum Reform and Research: The Case of the UAE
Radek (Radoslaw) Janik
Ministry of Education, UAE

Biography

Radek (Radoslaw) Janik is a PhD candidate in Theoretical Linguistics in the area of Construction Grammar. He is currently the head of the Research Development Unit within the Ministry of Education in the UAE. His interests lie within Data Science, Education Change, and Participatory Action Research to merge the use of data and educational practices into effective evidence-based practices.

Featured Panel Presentation (2018) | Innovation in Education Through Curriculum Reform and Research: The Case of the UAE