Thanassis Cambanis

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During three years of study, Samar has proven a meticulous, attentive, and patient teacher. She has tailored a curriculum to address my shifting needs as a journalist living in Beirut. Samar's commitment and professionalism are without equal. Uniquely among Arabic teachers in Beirut, Samar understands the importance of teaching Arabic with an understanding of how her students will use the language. Thanks to the curriculum that she produced from scratch, I was able to acquire facility in spoken Arabic and deal fluidly with needs of daily life, from shopping and driving to fighting about parking spaces and chatting about families and politics. Thanks to her keen understanding of my professional needs, I acquired the building blocks to understand news accounts and political speeches. Samar produced a boot camp on elections before I went to cover a referendum in Egypt. She produced another intensive mini-course on armed groups and clashes before I had to conduct a raft of interviews on the subject. Samar possesses a keen mind and sensitive ear; she pays close attention to her students, gauging their capabilities and needs and pushing them to achieve the most they can. It speaks for itself that I have studied with Samar three mornings a week over the course of three years, despite the full-time demands of work. She's fun to study with, and her teaching brings results.

Thanassis Cambanis Journalist, The Boston Globe and Research Fellow, The Century Foundation Lebanese Arabic Institute June 1, 2016