Staff and fellows


Professor Abdullah Saeed

Phone: +61 3 8344 6861
Fax: +61 3 9347 9542
Staff profile

Abdullah Saeed was born in the Maldives and holds degrees from Australia and overseas. He has a BA in Arab/Islamic Studies from Saudi Arabia, MA in Applied Linguistics and Doctor of Philosophy (Arts) in Islamic Studies from The University of Melbourne, Australia. In 1993, he joined the then Department of Asian Languages and Anthropology at The University of Melbourne as a Lecturer, rising to Senior Lecturer in 1996 and Associate Professor in 2000. He was appointed Sultan of Oman Professor of Arab and Islamic Studies in 2003.

Professor Saeed has taught Arabic and Islamic Studies at undergraduate and graduate levels. He is involved in interfaith dialogue between Christians and Muslims, and between Jews and Muslims, and is a frequent and popular lecturer. He travels widely, having visited North America, Europe, Middle East, South Asia and Southeast Asia. He has a wide range of professional and research relationships around the world.

Academic staff

Dr Muhammad Kamal

Lecturer, Arabic and Islamic Studies

Phone: + 61 3 8344 8197
Fax: + 61 3 9349 4870
Staff profile

Dr Muhammad Kamal is a Kurd originally from Iraq. He obtained BA (Honours), MA and PhD in Philosophy at the University of Karachi and has a Diploma in Education from Teachers Institute in Erbil. He taught first as a lecturer then as an assistant professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Karachi from 1985 to 1994. In 1992 he went to Germany on DAAD scholarship for post-doctoral research and has been based in Australia since 1994.

Dr Christina Mayer

Arabic Studies Convenor

Phone: +61 3 8344 495
Staff profile

Dr Christina Mayer is the Convenor of the Arabic Program. She is a graduate of Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest (degrees in Arabic, Turkish and Russian studies, undergraduate training in Libya and the USSR), with an MA in Applied Linguistics and Doctor of Philosophy (Arts) in Arabic and Islamic Studies (both awarded by The University of Melbourne), with research conducted in Morocco, Egypt and Syria. She first started working at the UOM in 1989. She is a prolific textbook writer and material developer. Her research interests in Arabic studies include language teaching for specific purposes and in Islamic studies the role of magic in modern Arab societies, particularly in the lives of women.

Dr Kylie Baxter


Phone: +61 3 9035 5061
Staff profile

Dr Kylie Baxter joined The University of Melbourne in 2009. Her expertise includes contemporary Middle Eastern politics, US policy and Islamic politics and she has published internationally in these areas. Throughout her career, Kylie has taught at Universities around Australia and has gained senior level private sector experience in the Gulf region.

Drawing on her experience, Kylie's current role at Asia Institute is teaching focused. She delivers high quality programs on Middle Eastern politics at both the undergraduate and graduate level.

Associate Professor Richard Pennell

al-Tajir Lecturer in Middle East and Islamic History

Phone: +61 3 8344 5952
Fax: +61 3 8344 7894
Location: Room 07, Level 5, Arts West (Building 148), Parkville
Staff profile

Assoc. Professor Richard Pennell did both his BA (in Arabic and Spanish) and his PhD (in Islamic History) at the University of Leeds in Britain. Before joining the History program at The University of Melbourne he taught for nine years, on and off, at the National University of Singapore. He taught for two years at the University of Nairobi, in Kenya, in the late 1980s and has also taught in Garyounis University in Benghazi, Libya and at Bogazici University in Istanbul, Turkey. In the second half of 2003 he was a visiting scholar hosted by Al-Akhawayn University, at Ifrane in the Middle Atlas Mountains of Morocco.

Honorary staff

Dr Helen McCue AM

Honorary Fellow


Dr Helen McCue is an Honorary Fellow at the National Centre for Contemporary Islamic Studies at The University of Melbourne. Dr McCue holds a PhD in Gender and Islam from the University of New South Wales. She has held various academic positions including that of Visiting Honorary Associate UNSW School of Politics and International Relations. Helen has taught courses on women in Islamic civilisation and has produced educational resources on women in Islam for senior high school students. Dr McCue has undertaken and participated in several major research projects on the experiences of Australian Muslim women and Muslim youth and contributes regularly to research papers and publications for the NCCIS.

Professional staff

Mr Rowan Gould


Rowan Gould works as a project officer, tutor and researcher at the National Centre for Contemporary Islamic Studies, where he is completing a Master of Islamic Studies. He completed his undergraduate degrees in Commerce and Law at The University of Melbourne in 2004. Rowan was previously CEO of the Islamic Council of Victoria and for several years managed the Australia-Indonesia Muslim Leaders Exchange, an initiative of the Australia-Indonesia Institute at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Rowan coordinates the Arabic Conversation Club at the Asia Institute and has spent time studying and living in Indonesia, Jordan, Spain, Morocco, and Syria. His research interests include Qur'anic exegesis (tafsir) and Indonesian fatwas.