Hussein Elkhafaifi earned his BA in Arabic language and literature from the University of Libya, an MA in theoretical linguistics and a PhD in Arabic language and applied linguistics from the University of Utah. Elkhafaifi has taught Arabic on all levels, as well as courses in Arabic linguistics, Arabic sociolinguistics; teaching Arabic as a second/foreign language; Arab culture; Arab media; and Arab cinema. Additionally, he designs the curricula, syllabi, and assessments for these course sequences. He has taught at the University of Pennsylvania, Middlebury College, the University of California at Berkeley and at Los Angeles, and at the University of Utah, before joining the University of Washington in 2004. He regularly conducts workshops on teaching methodology, teacher training, and Arab culture, and consults with language programs in the United States and abroad. He is currently Associate Professor of Arabic and Director of the Arabic and Islamic Studies Program at the University of Washington, and adjunct associate professor at the Department of Linguistics at the same institution.
His research interests include applied linguistics, foreign/second language teacher training and mentoring; language politics and ideology, language culture, language conflict and identity, and Arabic linguistics. He has published articles in Language Problems & Language Planning, The Modern Language Journal, al-Arabiyya, and Foreign Language Annuals, in addition to chapters in other scholarly publications. He has served on the executive board of the American Association of Teachers of Arabic numerous times. He is the Section Head for Arabic in the American Association of University Supervisors, Coordinators, and Directors of Language Programs (AAUSC). He is also a certified Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) tester through the American Council on Teaching Foreign Languages (ACTFL) and the Interagency Language Roundtable (ILR).