Steering Committee

UCDAR Consortium Steering Committee Members 

The UC Davis and Arab Region Consortium (UCDAR) is governed by a Steering Committee consisting of one representative from each member university. The members are appointed by the presidents/chancellors of their respective universities.  Founder Suad Joseph chairs the Steering Committee which meets alternate months via video conference and in-person alternative years. The Steering Committee determines which collaborative programs will be developed.



Lina Choueiri, Ph.D.

Associate Provost and Professor of English Language

Department of English

Term began Sept 2017

Lina Choueiri is Associate Provost and Professor of Linguistics in the Department of English. She specializes in the comparative syntax of Arabic dialects. She has participated in various inter-disciplinary initiatives between the humanities, the social sciences, and the natural sciences.  Recently, she has been collaborating on a project that examines the role of language in global migration and refugee settings, which brings together linguists, translators, educators, psychologists, and health scientists.

Choueiri completed a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics at AUB, another in French Literature at Université Saint-Joseph, and a master’s degree in Linguistics at Georgetown University. Upon receiving her PhD in Linguistics from the University of Southern California, she joined AUB as Assistant Professor in the Department of English in October 2000. She has been a visiting scholar at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, and the University of São Paulo, in Brazil. Choueiri serves on the Advisory Board of the Humanities at Notre-Dame University, Louaizé, and on the LAU Department of English Advisory Council. She has served as chair of the Department of English and as director of the Center for Language Research and Teaching (CeLRT). She currently chairs the Advisory Board of the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL).



Alaa El Din M. Adris, Ph.D.

Professor of Practice and Associate Provost for Research, Innovation and Creativity

American University in Cairo.

Term began April 2018

Alaa El Din M. Adris is an Egyptian-Canadian scientist and professor of practice of energy engineering at The American University in Cairo (AUC), committed to value creation and societal impact through the advancement of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI). He holds a PhD in chemical engineering from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada and a MA in chemical engineering from University of Salford, England. He obtained his BSc in chemical engineering from Cairo University.

Over his 3-decade professional career, he has been a point of connection between industry and academia, regardless of which on side which side he is working. Out of seven U.S. patents granted to him, three have made it to full technology in the fields of chemicals, petrochemicals and clean energy (mainly hydrogen).

Over the past decade, he has focused on research and technology management and technology policy, advising several governmental and non-government international entities. He also on the stages and gates of the technology commercialization cycle for research and development activities of international corporations. 


Dr. Wei Zhao, Ph.D.

Chief Research Officer

Term began January 2018

Dr. Wei Zhao joined AUS as Chief Research Officer on January 9, 2018. Dr. Zhao has been Rector (President) and Chair Professor at Macao University since 2008. He previously served as Dean of Science and Professor of Computer Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute from 2007 to 2008; Division Director at the National Science Foundation from 2005 to 2007; and worked at Texas A&M University from 1990 to 2005 in many positions, including Senior Associate Vice President for Research from 2001 to 2007, Head of the Department of Computer Science from 1997 to 2001, and advanced from Assistant to full Professor of Computer Science. He has also held teaching positions at Adelaide University and Amherst College. Dr. Zhao earned PhD and MS degrees from University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1986 and 1983, respectively, and a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Shaanxi Normal University in 1982. Dr. Zhao is the author of several hundred publications and has more than 10,000 citations.



Dr. Henry R. Jaqaman, Ph.D.

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Vice President for Academic Affairs

UNESCO Chair in Mathematics & Theoretical Physics, Professor, Theoretical Nuclear and Particle Physics

Terms: March 2014-August 2017 and August 2018 to present

Dr. Henry R. Jaqaman is the Vice President for Academic Affairs and the holder of the UNESCO Chair in Mathematics and Theoretical Physics at Birzeit University. Born in Bethlehem, Palestine, he received his PhD in Theoretical Physics in 1977 from Rutgers University in the USA. His main research interests are related to investigating the properties and the equation of state of hot hadronic matter. Professor Jaqaman has spent several years as a visiting research scientist at several research centers including the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, Denmark, the Hahn-Meitner Institute in Berlin, Germany and the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, USA. He previously served as Dean of Graduate Studies at Birzeit University. 



Samer Saab, Ph.D.

Interim Dean of Graduate Studies and Research

Term began January, 2018

With an accomplished academic career developed over more than two decades in the School of Engineering, Professor Samer Saab brings solid experience to the position of Interim Dean of Graduate Studies and Research, to which he was appointed in October 2017. In this role, he oversees programs and activities in support of interdisciplinary graduate education and research at LAU.

Dr. Saab joined the School of Engineering in 1996 and later served as chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (2005–2012) and as associate dean (2012–2013). His research interests include optimal stochastic control, navigational positioning systems, control of robot manipulators, managerial policy design, and wireless communications. He is most noted for his foundation and development of Stochastic Iterative Learning Control algorithms and he recently introduced and developed Stochastic Multivariable PID controllers. He was the recipient of the first (2007–2008) LAU Best Research Award in engineering and physical sciences.

Dr. Saab’s academic qualifications include three degrees in electrical engineering — bachelor’s (1988), master’s (1989) and Ph.D. (1992) — as well as a master’s in applied mathematics (1990), all from the University of Pittsburgh. After completing his doctorate, he worked with Union Switch and Signal and ABB Daimler-Benz Transportation in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (1993–1996). Dr. Saab served on the editorial boards of IEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology (2005–2011) and of the IEEE Control Systems Society-Conference (2005–2009). Since September 2015, he has been a member of the editorial board of IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control, the control society’s flagship journal. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees of Shouf National College.


Dr. Suad Joseph, Ph.D. 

UCDAR Steering Committee Chair and Founder

Distinguished Research Professor, Anthropology and Gender, Sexuality & Women’s Studies

Term began July 2001

Most of Dr. Joseph's anthropological field research has focused on her native Lebanon. Her early work investigated the politicization of religious sects in Lebanon leading up to the civil war in 1975--questions of ethnicity and state, local community organization and development. That work led her to consider the impact of women's visiting networks on local and national politics, and the relationships between local communities, community organizations and the state. Joseph developed a long-term research program on the interface of gender, family and state in the Middle East, with a focus on Lebanon, with comparative work in Iraq. Central to this research program has been her work theorizing culturally situated notions of "self", "rights", "citizenship" in the context of different political regimes and in the context of the pressures and processes of globalization. She is carrying out a long-term research project following a cohort of children in a Lebanese village, observing, as they grow, how they learn their notions of rights, responsibilities, nationality, citizenship; how these notions come to be gendered; and how the notions are transferred from family arenas into political/public arenas. The project includes analysis of citizenship, family and transnationalism as these families have migrated to the US and Canada over the course of the study.  She leads a project analyzing the representation of Arabs, Muslims, Arab American, and Muslim Americans in major American print news media. Prof. Joseph is the founder of the Middle East Research Group in Anthropology (which evolved into the Middle East Section of the American Anthropological Association), founder of the Association for Middle East Women's Studies (AMEWS) and the Arab Families Research Group. She founded and directs a six-university consortium including the American University of Beirut, the American University in Cairo, the Lebanese American University, Birzeit University, American University of Sharjah, and UC Davis. She was president of the Middle East Studies Association of North America in 2010-2011. She is co-founder and founding president of the Arab American Studies Association and co-founder of the Association for Middle East Anthropology.  She is General Editor of the Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures.  She has edited or co-edited 8 books, and published over 100 articles in journals and books.  She has been a faculty at the University of California, Davis since 1976 where she is Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and Women's Studies, and Faculty Assistant to the Chancellor.  She is founding Director of the Middle East/South Asia Studies Program at UC Davis and was awarded the UC Davis Prize – the largest undergraduate teaching and research prize in the United States.