Prof. Debra Dianne Ali-Lawson


Prof. Debra Dianne Ali-Lawson Externe Fachperson

  • Contact hours Monday
  • Address Berner Fachhochschule
    Business School
    Brückenstrasse 73
    3005 Bern


  • Lecturer for Intercultural and International Management

  • Abteilung Grundlagen und Methoden

  • Responsible for the Certificate of Engagement


  • Bachelor in Business Administration

  • Bachelor in Business Administration - International Programme

  • Cross-cultural Competence Developement; International Management


  • Debra Dianne Ali–Lawson was born and raised in South Africa. She is married to Philipp Ali, a Swiss citizen and has two sons. After obtaining her B.A. in English (UNISA, South Africa) she taught English to adults in private institutions and was a teacher trainer, test writer and language examiner for the International Certificate Conference and Cambridge Examinations Board (1980 - 1989). In 1991 she obtained her master degree in Applied Linguistics (University of Essex, UK) and took on a post as translator (German-English) at the Volkbank, later Credit Suisse, Switzerland. Realizing that teaching was her passion she returned to teaching Business English to managers at the Swiss PTT (later Swisscom). She then moved into tertiary education (Swiss College of Agriculture, Zollikofen & University of Applied Sciences in Fribourg; Hochschule für Wirtschaft und Verwaltung which became part of the Bern University of Applied Sciences, BFH ). Her teaching focus moved from Business English to the development of intercultural competences and the impact culture has on cross-cultural encounters in international management/business practices. She developed and has taught two mandatory modules in this subject area since 2006. She was given the task of internationalizing the BFH Business School and was responsible for, amongst other things, establishing its network of international partners; increasing student mobililty; the conception, development and running of Bachelor in Business Administration, International Programme; the Certificate of Global Competence as well as the co-development and running of the elective module called the Young Entrreerneur Exchange Programme (YEEP). The lastest product she developed and rolled out at the BFH Business School was the Certificate of Engagement. She was head of the Fachgruppe Kommunikation & Interculturalität until August 2020 and is currently in a 60% position teaching the modules she developed.
  • 1981 - 1992 Teacher of English as a Foreign Language at a number of private language schools in Switzerland Berlitz (Zürich); Migros Klubschulen (Bern & Basel)
  • 1992 - 1994 Translator (German to English) Credit Suisse (Bern Office)
  • 1994 - 1999 Lecturer in English as a Foreign Language & English for Business Purposes Schweizerische Hochschule für Landwirtschaft (Zollikofen) & Hochschule für Wirtschaft (Fribourg)
  • 1985 - 1992 Teacher Trainer and Examination Writer International Certificate Conference, Frankfurt a. Main, Germany
  • 1999 - 2007 Lecturer in English for Business Purposes Berner Fachhochschule (formerly Hochschule für Wirtschaft und Verwaltung, HWV and Hochschule für Wirtschaft, HSW)
  • 2005 - to date Lecturer in Intercultural and International management Berner Fachhochschule
  • 2006 - 2015 Head of the International Office and responsible for the development and implemenation of the Bachelor in Business Administration, International Programme Berner Fachhochschule
  • 2013 Co-development and implementation of the Young Entrepreneur Exchange Project (YEEP) elective module in Ethiopia Berner Fachhochschule
  • 2009 - 2018 Head of the Bachelor in Business Administration International Programme Berner Fachhochschule
  • 2013 Developed and implemented the Certificate of Global Competence Berner Fachhochschule
  • 2015 - 2018 Head of the Bachelor in Business Administration, International Programme Berner Fachhochschule
  • 2018 Developed and implemented the Certificate of Engagement Berner Fachhochschule
  • March 2019 - August 2020 Fachgruppenleitung Kommunikation & Interkulturalität Berner Fachhochschule
  • 1977 - 1981 Bachelor of Arts in English University of South Africa (UNISA, Pretoria, South Africa)
  • 1989 - 1991 Master of Arts in Applied Linguistics University of Essex, Essex, UK.
  • 1997 - 2001 Master in Business Administration Open University, Milton Keynes, UK

Language skills and intercultural knowledge

  • English - Native or bilingual proficiency
  • German - Full professional proficiency
  • French - Elementary proficiency
  • South Africa
  • United Kingdom
  • India
  • Ethiopia
  • Mexico
  • Russian Federation