• The launch of the Zai centre is part of Zayed University’s new strategic shift towards a focus on applied research which advances national priorities
  • Internationally acclaimed academic Dr Hanada Taha Thomure appointed Centre Director

Abu Dhabi, UAE: Zayed University today announced the launch of the Zai Centre, a pioneering new research centre focused on Arabic teaching and learning. Zai will be the first academic institution in the UAE to look at how Arabic is taught around the world. Led by internationally acclaimed academic Dr Hanada Taha Thomure, Zai will identify best practice for teaching Arabic and develop the tools to empower teachers enabling them to inspire their students. Zai will also provide parents with guidance on how they can ensure that their children are able to improve their Arabic at home from a young age.

Commenting on the launch of the Zai centre, HE Noura al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Youth and Chair of Zayed University’s Board of Trustees, said: “The Arabic language is inextricably linked with our heritage, culture, and homeland. We all therefore have a duty to promote, preserve, and enhance the teaching of Arabic. The recently published Report on the Status and Future of the Arabic Language published by the Ministry of Culture and Youth[1] identified that there is an absence of a clear vision for teaching Arabic as a world language. Our ambition is to establish the Zai centre as a leader in this space and become the first accrediting body for Arabic language education in the world by 2026.”

Zai centre Director Dr Hanada Taha Thomure outlined plans for the centre: “The UAE has established itself as the global trailblazer in promoting Arabic teaching and learning. The leadership has identified that an in-depth understanding of the Arabic language opens young people up to a world of possibilities and creates job opportunities. Zai will collaborate with other researchers in the field to understand how to support Arabic teaching and learning, ensuring that teachers, parents and policy makers have the tools they need to support and inspire the next generation of Arabic speakers. We have a number of exciting interdisciplinary initiatives including the development of a new Arabic reading screening tool which will ensure that students who are experiencing difficulties in learning Arabic are identified early, enabling them to receive the extra support they need. Our soon to be launched digital platform will become an essential resource to teachers. It is an honour to be the Director of this pioneering new centre.”

Further plans announced by the Zai centre include the creation of the first Children’s Arabic Corpus in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Center, which will identify the most frequently used words in Modern Standard Arabic, helping to standardise vocabulary and focus student learning efforts; and the development of a resource library, beginning with translations of the top 100 studies on teaching Arabic published in academic journals, but are currently predominantly only available in English. Initial partnerships have already been signed with the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Center, Queen Rania Foundation, Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashed Global Initiatives and Arab Thought Foundation.

The Zai centre is the first demonstration of Zayed University’s strategic shift towards a focus on applied research. Zai, and future research centres, will be homed in an innovative new research institute which will drive forward challenging research projects in distinct niches aligned with national priorities.


About Dr Hanada Taha Thomure

Hanada Taha Thomure is the Director of the Zai centre and Endowed Professor of Arabic Language at Zayed University, UAE.  She previously was the associate dean and acting dean of Bahrain Teachers’ College. Professor Taha Thomure designed the first system for levelling Arabic texts currently used by regional and international publishers to level their Arabic children’s books. She developed the Arabic language arts standards currently used by more than 200,000 students. She is the senior author for Pearson’s Arabic language Arts K-9, curriculum BilArabi.  She reviewed the national Arabic curricula for Morocco, KSA, Jordan, UAE, and Bahrain and has been an adviser for Arab Thought Foundation, Queen Rania Foundation, Scholastic, USAID, UNICEF, UAE prime minister’s office and World Bank. Professor Taha Thomure’s research is in the field of Arabic language teaching and learning, oral reading fluency, Arabic children’s literature, Arabic teacher preparation and curriculum design.

About Zayed University

Zayed University, the UAE’s flagship higher education institution, was established in 1998 and proudly bears the name of the Founder of the Nation – the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. In the spirit of Sheikh Zayed, the University is a pioneer and innovator in the field of education and research. The University currently has more than 10,500 Emirati and international students across its full range of undergraduate and postgraduate offerings.

Led by Her Excellency Noura Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Youth and Chair of the University’s Board of Trustees, the University proudly serves the needs of the nation and contributes to the UAE’s economic, social and cultural progress, at its state-of-the-art campuses in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. It embraces innovation and its virtual learning programs use best-in-class technology.

Through research, scholarship, creative activities and outreach, Zayed University provides educational leadership, expands opportunity, and enriches the knowledge of local, regional, and global communities.

The University is proud of its role in encouraging academic excellence, promoting leadership skills and advancing knowledge. The University strives to encourage the potential and inspire the promise of all its students, whilst also accelerating change in the UAE and contributing towards the nation’s ambitious plan for the next 50 years.

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Ahmed Al Majayda
Media Specialist

Karen Lobo
Junior Advisor