The impact of Language: a cross-border collaboration for the design, development and promotion of an online Palestinian Arabic course

This project was international and multilingual collaboration between a team composed by academics, teachers, administrators, IT experts, videographers and graphic designers. Based in the Scotland (UK) and the Gaza Strip (Palestine), the international team worked in close collaboration to design, develop and promote an online Arabic course for beginner learners.

The project was managed by Dr Giovanna Fassetta (School of Education) and Dr Nazmi Al-Masri (Islamic University of Gaza), and it sits within the UNESCO Chair for Refugee Integration through Languages and the Arts, led by Prof Alison Phipps (UofG, School of Education).

The 12-month project has resulted in the ‘Online Arabic from Palestine’ course. This innovative language course is: (a) grounded in Palestinian culture, history, language and art; (b) tailor-made for online delivery from a challenging context; (c) collaborative and (d) holistic (i.e. focusing not just on language for communication but also on the emotional and aesthetic dimensions of language).

The ‘Online Arabic from Palestine’ language course will be formally launched in September 2018 and will be taught by trained and experienced teachers based at the Arabic Center of the Islamic University of Gaza.

Extended Summary

The ‘Online Arabic from Palestine’ was the main output of a cross-border partnership between the University of Glasgow and the Islamic University of Gaza (Palestine). Led by Dr Giovanna Fassetta (UofG) and Dr Nazmi Al-Masri (IUG), the collaboration resulted in the design and development of an Arabic language course for beginners that is due to be launched in September 2018. Following the launch, the course will be taught online by trained and experienced teachers based at the Arabic Center (IUG) to learners worldwide.

There was a waiting list of people waiting to start the course as soon as it became available. A public presence was been maintained throughout the project’s lifetime hanks to the project’s blog, to ongoing social media presence and to language tasters that have been offered at different events in the UK (e.g. UNESCO Spring School; Solas Festival).

News about the forthcoming Arabic course was shared by the widely-read website Mondoweiss (see:

An abstract on the project – based on a paper delivered at the University of Warwick in May 2018 - has been submitted for a special issue of Language and Intercultural Communication. A further paper on the project is due to be presented in September 2018 at the European Educational Research

PI and Co-Is - International Collaborators

PI: Dr Giovanna Fassetta (University of Glasgow, School of Education)

Co-Is: Prof Alison Phipps (University of Glasgow, School of Education), Dr Nazmi Al-Masri (School of Education, Islamic University of Gaza)

Esa Aldegheri - Research Associate (University of Glasgow, School of Education)

Dr Grazia Imperiale - Research Associate (University of Glasgow, School of Education)

Start and End Date

1 October 2017 – 30 September 2018

Funder and Funding Amount

Arts and Humanities Research Council
Grant reference: AH/R004617/1

Grant awarded: £100,000