Who we are

The work on this research project is being carried out by the Accessibility Team within the Web and Internet Science Group at the University of Southampton, The Speech Therapy Department in the Hamad Medical Corporation and the Mada Center, established by ictQatar, offering a single point of co-ordination for all activities related to digital and eInclusion in Qatar.

Professor Mike Wald – Principal Investigator

Telephone: Work (Voice): +44 (0)23 8059 3667
Email: mw@ecs.soton.ac.uk
Mike Wald Dr Wald leads research into accessible technologies in the Web and Internet Science Research Group, ECS and has advised HEFCE, JISC, BECTA and Universities on enhancing learning through the use of technologies. He established the University’s MSc in Computer Based Learning and Centre for Enabling and Learning Technologies (CELT) in 1994 and was involved in the establishment of the University’s Disability and Assistive Technology Services. He is a founder member of the International Liberated Learning Consortium that includes other leading universities (e.g. MIT) and organisations (e.g. IBM, Nuance) and is investigating how speech recognition can make teaching and learning more accessible.

Dr Amal Ahmad – Co-Lead Principal Investigator

Telephone: Work (Voice): +974 4397643
Email: aahmad2@hmc.org.qa

Dr Amal

Dr. Amal graduated from a Medical Degree from Mosul University and completed her Master’s degree in Speech & Audiology from Baghdad University. She has been working in the Speech Therapy department of HMC for 15 years dealing with speech, language, and swallowing impaired patients. Her areas of interest include communication intervention for Neurogenic disorders using AAC, Fibreoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing (FEES) for dysphagic patients, and vocal rehabilitation in patients with tracheotomy.

She has presented many papers related to rehabilitation for speech and language across the Middle East including Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Manama and Doha. She has also written numerous articles which have been published in Arabic and English newspapers and magazines. She has conducted multiple research studies in the area of speech and language which have been published in local and international journals and is currently a principal research investigator with the Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF).

David Banes – CEO Mada – Qatar Assistive Technology Center

Telephone: Work (Voice): +974.4459.4050
Email: dbanes@mada.org.qa
David Banes David is Chief Executive at Mada, Qatar Assistive Technology Center. Prior to taking up his post in Qatar, he worked as a teacher of people with special needs and principal of a school before working in the realms of digital Inclusion in the UK and Europe as Director of Operations and Development for a UK NGO. Mada, established by ictQatar, offers a single point of co-ordination for all activities related to digital and eInclusion in Qatar. Increasingly the center is also seeking to influence the emerging Access ecosystem in the region promoting cooperation between states and supports the development of assistive technology solutions and digital content that meet the needs of Arabic speaking people with a disability.As a non-profit organization, Mada offers assessments, advice and training for everyone.

E.A. Draffan – Senior Research Fellow

Telephone: Work (Voice): +44 (0)23 8059 7246
Email: ead@ecs.soton.ac.uk

E.A. DraffanE.A. trained as a Speech and Language and has worked with those who have communication and written language difficulties in hospitals, schools and universities. She spent several years assessing and supporting disabled students in their use of assistive technology and recently working on open source projects involving the Arabic language such as the ATbar as well as research involving assistive technology use,  web, STEM, ebook accessibility and MOOC development.


 Amatullah Kadous – Research Assistant

Telephone: +97433793721
Email: tullahk@hotmail.com


Amatullah Kadous is based at the Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) as a Research Assistant on the project having trained as Speech and Language Pathologist. She is a graduate of the University of Sydney and is in proficient in both Arabic and English. She has worked with children and adults to improve their communicative and swallowing abilities in schools, health clinics, research centres, and acute and rehabilitative hospitals. She is very passionate about helping people with neurogenic disorders improve their communicative interactions. Her focus now lies mainly in improving the accessibility of culturally appropriate communication resources for people in the Middle East.


Nadine N. Zeinoun – Assistive Technology Specialist and Speech and Lanugage Therapist

Telephone: +97466631259
Email: nzeinoun@mada.org.qa

Nadine ZeinounNadine Zeinoun graduated as a Speech and Language Therapist from Saint Joseph University, Lebanon and for her thesis presented a list of Lebanese core vocabulary for a prototype Arabic symbol set for AAC users.  Nadine is now working in the Mada Center as an Assistive Technology specialist, to support people with disabilities in Qatar and improve their communication as well as joining the Arabic Symbol Dictionary research team.   Nadine has experience working with infants, children and adolescents with a variety of communication disorders and developmental or behavioral problems.


Dana Lawand – Graphic Designer

Telephone: Work (Voice): +974.4459.4050
Email: dlawand@mada.org.qa
Dana LawandDana Lawand graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Graphic design from the Lebanese American University of Beirut. Dana’s designs have been mainly be for advertising agencies where she has delivered the concept for a brand through various types of media that reflect the concept and vision. Given the opportunity to work with Mada making the link between graphic design and the work of the research project has many similarities when it comes to delivering its vision. Initial work has been the creation of the project logo named ‘Tawasol’ which in Arabic means ‘Communication’ whilst beginning the task of working on designing additional dissemination materials and the symbols that need to be added to the Arabic Symbol Dictionary.

Nawar Halabi – Postgraduate Computational Linguist

Telephone: Work (Voice): +44 (0)23 8059 7246
Email: nh2f13@soton.ac.uk
Nawar Halabi

Nawar Halabi graduated with a Computer Science Degree from the University of Aleppo and having successfully completed the MSc component of a Web Technology course is now researching the use of novel machine learning techniques to build a Natural Language Processing engine that improves speech technologies for his PhD.   He has been working with the team on the ATbar, Arabic translations and the development of the Arabic ATbar desktop version. Nawar has also been carrying out research into into open source text to speech engines and the quality of voices available in both English and Arabic with the aim of developing new voices to better suit local requirements.  He has developed the Symbol Manager system used by the team to develop the dictionary and is developing the Dictionary interface that will provide the online outputs for the project.