Professor Jaafar Kassem-Ali became a member of the faculty a semester after the department's inception. He was hired to teach Kiswahili while completing his graduate degree at Columbia University. His areas of research and writing is in Swahili Language, Literature and society. His teaching includes courses in African Literature and Politics.
In addition to his teaching duties, Professor Kassem-Ali has served the department's administration in the category of an undergraduate advisor and director of the Africana Sequence. He is currently the department's representative to the Hunter Faculty Delegate Assembly and Review commission on the Distribution Requirement.
He has published articles and reviews in Social Education and Research in African Literature. Professor Kassem-Ali is currently working on editing a book titled Boundaries of Swahili Literature.