International Conference


Towards CEFR Proficiency Guidelines-based

Certification of Arabic as a Foreign Language

6-7 September 2018

University of Genoa

Aula Magna, School of Humanities

Palazzo Balbi Cattaneo, Via Balbi 2, Genoa (Italy)


Supported by:
The University of Genoa
School of Humanities, University of Genoa
Department of Modern Languages and Cultures, University of Genoa

Conference Convener:
Manuela E.B. Giolfo
(Department of Modern Languages and Cultures, School of Humanities, University of Genoa)


Conference Webpage:



Organizing Committee

Manuela E.B. Giolfo, Paolo L. Branca, Federico Salvaggio, Simone Sibilio


Scientific Committee

Manuela E.B. Giolfo, Zeinab A.M. Taha, Kassem M.S. Wahba, Giuliano Lancioni, Francesca M. Corrao


Conference Description

The Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) conceives language¬†proficiency as the ability to use language to cope with different tasks referring¬†to various real-life situations. As a result of the coexistence within Arabic¬†authentic linguistic contexts of multiple varieties interacting in complex and¬†multifarious ways, the application of CEFR proficiency guidelines to the¬†Teaching of Arabic as a Foreign Language (TAFL) produces a series of delicate¬†theoretical, methodological, and ideological problems. If, on the one hand, the¬†application of CEFR to TAFL should imply the necessity to elaborate an¬†approach that takes into account the great variability of contemporary¬†Arabic sociolinguistic reality, on the other, CEFR levels are increasingly¬†applied in Europe and elsewhere simply as ‘labels’ to differentiate learning¬†stages within existing mono-variety-based Arabic curricula. Such a nominal¬†adoption of CEFR is not only in opposition to CEFR proficiency guideline principles but, more importantly, implies a falsification of Arabic¬†linguistic reality itself. Since the enhancement and evaluation of language proficiency is deeply related to the accomplishment of authentic language¬†tasks, presenting learners with tasks based on unrealistic linguistic contexts¬†may result in compromising their chances to achieve authentic¬†proficiency.

The International Conference ‘Mastering Arabic Variation –¬†Towards CEFR Proficiency Guidelines-based Certification of Arabic as a¬†Foreign Language’ (MAV) aims at gathering prominent scholars in the fields of language pedagogy and Arabic linguistics in order to discuss the¬†establishment of long-awaited common guidelines for a theoretically¬†consistent and pedagogically effective application of CEFR principles to the¬†assessment and certification of Arabic as a Foreign Language in Europe and¬†elsewhere.


Key Speakers

Jonathan Featherstone, The University of Edinburgh
Giuliano Lancioni, Roma Tre University
José Noijons, European Centre for Modern Languages of the Council of Europe
Zeinab A.M. Taha, The American University in Cairo
Kassem M.S. Wahba, The George Washington University
Munther A. Younes, Cornell University



Hossam I.A. Ahmed, Leiden University; Barbara Airò, University of Pavia; Feras Alkabani, University of Sussex; Shahed G.A. Aly, LUISS University Guido Carli; Maggie Awadalla, University of Kent; Stefania Bertonati, University of Pavia; Tarek Bouattour, Carthage University; Paolo L. Branca, Catholic University of Milan; Giuseppe Cecere, University of Bologna Alma Mater Studiorum; Francesca M. Corrao, LUISS University Guido Carli; Nadia El Ali, Freie Universität Berlin; Andrea Facchin, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice; Jonathan Featherstone, The University of Edinburgh; Giorgia Ferrari, University of Exeter; Carmela Francolino, NaTakallam; Manuela E.B. Giolfo, University of Genoa; Marco Golfetto, The University of Milan; SiMohamed Kaabour, The University of Genoa Language Centre; Ruba Khamam, University of Leeds; Peter Konerding, Universität Bamberg; Giuliano Lancioni, Roma Tre University; Gisella Langé, Italian Ministry of Education and Research; Bouchra Laun, Freie Universität Berlin; Lorenzo Liso, LUISS University Guido Carli; Letizia Lombezzi, Sapienza University of Rome; Nadim Mahjoub, London School of Economics; Amira Mills, King’s College London; José Noijons, European Centre for Modern Languages of the Council of Europe; Federico Salvaggio, University of Genoa; Simone Sibilio, International University of Languages and Media IULM; Marco Soave, InAsia Cultural Association; Rasha K. Soliman, University of Leeds; Cristina Solimando, Roma Tre University; Zeinab A.M. Taha, The American University in Cairo; Annamaria Ventura, Sapienza University of Rome; Kassem M.S. Wahba, The George Washington University; Munther A. Younes, Cornell University.


Call for papers

Papers are invited from international scholars in the fields of language pedagogy and Arabic linguistics for the International Conference ‘Mastering Arabic Variation – Towards CEFR Proficiency Guidelines-based Certification of Arabic as a Foreign Language’ (MAV).¬† Suggested topics may include but are not limited to:

  • CEFR and TAFL:¬†principles, current practices, challenges, academic and institutional policies;
  • Relating language tests and examinations to CEFR:¬†CEFR underlying pedagogic stance and its implications on language assessment;
  • Proficiency assessment in multi-variety languages in the light of CEFR;
  • Language ideologies and TAFL: different proficiency concepts (e.g. for native or non-native speakers) and their impact on TAFL;
  • Proficiency enhancement and evaluation, and authentic tasks: construction of well articulated CEFR-based curricula,¬†relationship between forms (grammar structures and vocabulary) and functions;
  • Authentic proficiency assessment in TAFL: CEFR-based reference level descriptors of Arabic, the role of ICT in authentic proficiency assessment.

Abstracts should be submitted to:

Deadline for submission: 16 July 2018

Conference language: English, Arabic.


Registration Form_MAV International Conference


A list of reasonably priced hotels close to the conference venue


Shuttle bus service from Genoa airport to Principe Train Station


Palazzo Balbi Cattaneo, Via Balbi 2, Genoa

  1. Balbi Gio Francesco, via Balbi, 2 – Genova, Italy



via Balbi 2 –¬†Palazzo¬†Gio. Francesco¬†Balbi







MAV 2018_Cartolina

MAV 2018_Locandina



AFTER MAV Internationa Conference – University of Genoa 6-7 September 2018:


From José Noijons_Presentation

From José Noijons_Web Addresses

From Feras Alkabani_Photos

From NaTakallam_presentation for MAV