Georgia Arabic Teachers Association

About Us

The inspiration for GATA was hatched at a meeting on September 8th, 2010 between Jon Valentine, Program Specialist, Languages and International Education at the Georgia Department of Education, and representatives from Amana Academy Charter School and Centennial High School (both Fulton County schools). Amana Academy was pioneering Arabic language instruction at the elementary and middle school levels in a public school setting; and Centennial High had a strong world languages department and had shown some interest in Arabic. Mr. Valentine, who had previously taught at Centennial High, enthusiastically encouraged attendees to explore starting an Arabic teachers association to advance Arabic teaching and learning across elementary, secondary, and postsecondary education. The meeting minutes stated, “GATA: GA Association for Teachers of Arabic: let’s make it real!”

From there, Arabic teachers and instructors from across Georgia started meeting on an infrequent basis to further develop the idea..over tea, of course. Early participants included key leaders from the Alif Institute [with its rich tradition of Arabic language and cultural programming], private Islamic schools, and universities where Arabic courses were offered—North Georgia College, Emory University, University of Georgia, Georgia State University (the list has since expanded and includes Georgia Tech). 

A dozen educators and leaders propelled the formation of GATA and included contributors such as Dr. John Wilson of the Center for the Advancement and Study of International Education, language researcher Dr. Lama Farran (at GSU at the time), and designer Haitham Haddad who produced the original official GATA logo. On October 23, 2011 the organization was officially incorporated with the first officers being Eman Maamoun (President), Nidhal Askar (Treasurer), and Jamila Bouchta (Secretary) and with a mission “to exchange academic and professional practices to help promote, broaden and deepen knowledge and appreciation of Arabic Language and culture”.

Yada yada yada.

Accordion Content
Accordion Content


The Arabic Teachers Council of the South is an umbrella organization for K16 Arabic teachers and stakeholders interested in Arabic language and culture. Our mission is to strengthen the capacity of Arabic educators, build community, expand programming, and pave new paths for 21st century Arabic assessment, curriculum, experiential learning, and pedagogy.

Welcome to Playaling, the first free online resource for learning Arabic through engaging real-world content and interactive captioning. With new clips and features being added all the time, we’re a dedicated team of language professionals making engaging real-world Arabic content available to teachers and students across the globe.


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Operating Hours
  • Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays
  • 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
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