Abu Dhabi at a Glance

Aerial view of Abu Dhabi Corniche. iStock.com

Abu Dhabi is the largest emirate of the United Arab Emirates. It makes up nearly 87 percent of the country’s total landmass and includes the capital — the city of Abu Dhabi. Home to over 1.3 million people, the majority of the people who live in the emirate are expatriates. Established in 1971, the UAE is a federation of seven emirates with two separate levels of government. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the ruler  of Abu Dhabi, is also the president of the UAE.

The Emirate of Abu Dhabi holds nine percent of the world’s proven oil reserves and almost five per cent of the world’s natural gas supplies. Nevertheless, the government of Abu Dhabi has an ambitious plan to diversify the local economy to make sure the emirate continues to grow in a sustainable way.

Established in 2010 as a partnership between NYU and the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, NYU Abu Dhabi already has an international reputation for excellence in research and teaching and this translates into benefits to the local community as well as the society that sustains it.

Established:  1761
Meaning:  Father of the Gazelle
President:  His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan
Official languages:  Arabic, English, Hindi
Time zone:  Gulf Standard Time UTC+4
UAE population:  2,908,173 (as of 2016) 
National holidays: Eid al-Fitr, Arafat Day, Eid al-Adha, Hijri New Year, Commemoration Day, UAE National Day



A guide to some of the most commonly asked questions

What’s the weather like?

Due to its sub-tropical, arid climate, Abu Dhabi has almost year-round sunshine, very little rain and is wonderfully warm in winter. Temperatures range between winter night lows of 50F to summer day highs of 118F.

What should I wear?

People are generally free to dress as they would at home. It is a good idea to be respectful of local culture and to refrain from wearing overly revealing clothing and to dress more conservatively when visiting mosques and during Ramadan.

How safe is it?

The UAE is considered one of the safest countries in the world, with extremely low crime rates. However, appropriate alertness and safety measures should be taken as you would anywhere else in the world.

How easy is it to drive?

Cars drive on the right. Expats need either a residence visa so they can obtain a UAE license, or an International Driving License to drive.


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Professor of biology talks about his life in Abu Dhabi.

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Our assistant dean of student shared how she landed the job at NYU Abu Dhabi, and why she and her family have decided to stay.