DEI & Mentorship
My journey in NLP started with my interest in my native Moroccan Darija. It is an indigenous language spoken by over 30 million people, but remains underrepresented in language technologies as it has very few resources. My Bachelor’s thesis was on creating Moroccan Darija linguistic resources.
I am committed to increasing the visibility of North African people in NLP and language technology.
North Africans in NLP
We are an affinity group for people of North African descent and/or based in North Africa, and who share an interest in NLP research. At EMNLP 2020, we organized a panel discussion on NLP research as a North African (watch it here!) with amazing North African figures of NLP and AI. We also organized social events at COLING 2020, EACL 2021, NAACL 2021, and ACL 2021.
We have a Slack channel for North Africans in NLP. Please email me and I can add you.
Invited Talks & Workshops
I had the honour to be the first invited speaker of the Morocco.AI Webinar series. My invited talk was about my EMNLP 2020 paper on Syntactic Parsing, and was on Wednesday, February 10th, 2021. You can find a recording of the talk here. I would highly recommend this webinar series. Morocco AI hosted some of the brightest Moroccan researchers in AI, based both in Morocco and abroad.
I regularly organize tutorials and workshops for outreach. In June 2021, I was invited to host a virtual workshop on“Getting Started in NLP: Building an AI model for text classification” at the 15th Journées Nationales des Jeunes Développeurs (JNJD) held at INPT in Rabat, Morocco. On September 4th, 2021, we organized a workshop on NLP for Moroccan Darija at the first edition of AMLD Africa: “Moroccan Darija Wikipedia: Basics of Natural Language Processing for a Low-Resource Language”. On September 25th, 2021, I was invited to be on the jury of the finals of the second edition of the Morocco IoT & AI Challenge. In December 2021, we also held a workshop on NLP for Moroccan Darija at the 2021 Morocco AI conference.
I have had awesome experiences mentoring students and recent graduates in NLP research. I feel passionate about democratizing not only NLP technology, but also NLP research. I co-authored a full paper accepted at COLING 2022 with Harpreet Singh, a MS student at UCSD, an AfricaNLP workshop paper at ICLR 2022 with Abderrahmane Issam, an MS graduate from ENSIAS (Morocco) and NLP Research Engineer, and a WANLP shared task paper at EMNLP 2022 with Ahmed Oumar El-Shangiti, a BS graduate from Cadi Ayyad University (Morocco).
If you have an interesting idea and want to collaborate, please email me your CV, your research idea, how does your idea align with my research interests, and how much time you can contribute to the collaboration. I am particularly excited about doing research with people who are new to NLP research, but have NLP engineering and coding skills.