Professor Clive Holes FBA, President

Professor Clive Holes got his BA (first class) in Arabic and Turkish from Cambridge University (at Trinity Hall) in 1969 (MA 1973), and his PhD in Arabic Linguistics at Wolfson College, Cambridge in 1981.

He also did an MA in English at Birmingham University in 1971-72. During the 1970s and early 80s, he was an Overseas Career Officer of the British Council, serving in Bahrain, Kuwait, Algeria, Iraq and Thailand.

Clive was involved as a consultant to the Foundation Committee in the planning of Sultan Qaboos University, Muscat, Oman in the mid-80s and was the first Director of its Language Centre 1985-7 whilst on leave from Salford University, where he was Lecturer in Arabic and Applied Linguistics 1983-7. In 1987, he returned to the UK to take up a Lectureship in Arabic at Cambridge University and a Tutorial Fellowship at Trinity Hall, being promoted to Reader in Arabic in 1996. In January 1997, Clive moved to Magdalen College Oxford and the Oriental Institute to take up the Khalid bin Abdullah Al-Saud Chair for the Study of the Contemporary Arab World. Election as a Fellow of the British Academy followed in 2002. He became an Emeritus Professorial Fellow of Magdalen College on retirement in 2014.

His research interests are in the history of the Arabic language, both spoken and written, Arabic dialectology, and Arabic popular poetry and popular culture more generally. Clive has published extensively on all these subjects over the last forty years. In 2017, he was elected President of CBRL.