Who We Are
Abdulrahman Olwi Abdulrahman grew up in Saudi Arabia and obtained a degree from Taibah University in teaching English. He then got his master's degree in TESOL (specializing in instructional technology) from the University of San Francisco. He is now pursuing his doctorate in first and second language instruction. Abdulrahman teaches Standard and Gulf Arabic at PAR.
Bita Gholamali Born and raised in Tehran, Bita received degrees from Azad University and Allameh Tababtaba'ee University. She has taught Farsi and English in Tehran and San Francisco since 1995. In addition, she participated in the development of several Farsi and English assessment tests. Bita teaches Persian at PAR.
Jamal Mavrikios An avid linguaphile since childhood, Jamal's love for the Arabic language began at Hofstra University under the tutelage of Dr. Henry Chaim Toledano. Jamal continued his Arabic studies at New York University and the United Nations Language Training Institute, and studied translation theory at the University of California, Berkeley.
Jamal has worked in diverse international environments in industry and the United Nations. With Mary Ardagna, he coauthored "For Every Child," the official campaign song of UNICEF's 1990 World Summit for Children. Jamal has a keen interest in African languages and cultures, and in sustainable development. He is founder and executive director of PAR.
Jamye Ford Jamye discovered his love of languages at a young age and is fluent in Mvskoke (spoken by the Creek Nation and Seminole Indians of Florida and Oklahoma). He has also studied French, Mandarin, and Ancient Greek. A graduate of Columbia University, Jamye teaches Standard and Moroccan Arabic at PAR.
Liza Xydis Liza was born and raised in Athens, Greece and came to the US to study at Swarthmore College. Aside from her background as a language teacher, she has also taught filmmaking, made documentary films and worked as a translator and writer for the Thessaloniki International Film Festival. She is fluent in Greek, English, French and Italian. Liza teaches Modern Greek at PAR.
Maher Sabry An accomplished language teacher, Mr. Sabry is also a published author and poet. His volume Maaryuniit met with critical acclaim, and his work was anthologized in Angry Voices: An Anthology of the Off-Beat New Egyptian Poets (University of Arkansas Press). Maher was also a cartoonist and illustrator for Egyptian periodicals, including the "Cairo Times". In addition, he founded the Egyptian independent theater company Maraia and co-founded the Shrapnel Theater Troupe. In May 2002 he was the recipient of the Felipa de Souza Human Rights Award. Maher teaches Standard Arabic and Egyptian Arabic at PAR.
Max Weinryb A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Max has been immersed in Semitic language studies since childhood. He has taught Hebrew and Aramaic in the Bay Area for years. Max has also taught sailing, piloting and celestial navigation courses. When he's not teaching he's a computer consultant and urban homesteader. Max teaches Biblical and Modern Hebrew at PAR.
Nasser Riyadh An editor by profession, Nasser (a.k.a. Nicholas Cheonis) attended the Juilliard School and graduated from Columbia University. The Bay Area native began learning Arabic in New York, with further studies in Beirut and Cairo after many courses in Standard Arabic and Levantine dialect at PAR. He is also familiar with Turkish, Japanese, and several European languages. Nasser teaches Standard Arabic at PAR.
Rama Karabala Rama grew up in Damascus Syria and has a solid understanding of the Arabic language. She earned her B.A in English Literature from Damascus University. She taught English and Standard Arabic before coming to the U.S. Rama also studied Italian and French and is interested in learning other languages as well. Rama teaches Levantine and Standard Arabic at PAR.
Sara Asefaw Sara lived and studied in Addis Ababa before coming to the U.S., earning a B.S. in Mathematics from Marshall University. She then completed a Certificate in Healthcare Interpretation at City College of San Francisco and has worked as an Amharic and Tigrinya Interpreter in the Bay Area since 1999. Sara has taught Amharic at PAR and yearns to teach Tigrinya here in the future.