Professor Cherkaoui is a native Arab speaker, was awarded his Ph.D. in 1997 in classical Arabic literature at La Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris, France. (Dissertation title: Le Roman de Antar: Thèmes et Personnages). Since 1996, he has taught Arabic language and literature at the College of William and Mary, as well as numerous intensive summer language programs in Arabic, including five summers in the Middlebury College School of Arabic.
For the past four years, Dr. Cherkaoui has directed the Tangier Summer Arabic Language Program (TSALP) for the American Institute for Maghrib Studies in Tangier, Morocco. This is a six-week intensive Arabic language and culture program. He is frequently invited to present workshops on foreign language teaching methods, as well as to evaluate language programs and/or student progress.
In March, 2004, he organized the first annual Spring Language Workshop, held at the American Legation Museum in Tangier, Morocco. An early interest in classical Arabic texts, on which Dr. Cherkaoui has published a monograph (Le Roman de cAntar: Perspective Littéraire et Historique, Présence Africaine. Paris, 2001. 343 pp.) and numerous articles, has led to an interest in Moroccan oral traditions.
He is currently working on a monograph entitled Voices of Morocco, Oral Stories of Our Time. A recent article in the Journal of North African Studies, “The Story of the Human Being, the Woodcutter: the Anatomy of a Traditional Moroccan Oral Tale” discusses one of the oral stories he has collected.