Announcing the Appointment of Awam Amkpa as Dean of Arts and Humanities

March 30, 2021

Dear Colleagues,

I am delighted to announce the appointment of Awam Amkpa as Dean of Arts and Humanities, effective September 1, 2021.

As many of you know, Awam is an accomplished and world-renowned theater scholar and practitioner-director, playwright and actor, filmmaker and curator of visual and performing arts. He is a professor of Drama and Cultural Theory at the departments of Drama, Tisch School of the Arts and Social and Cultural Analysis, Faculty of Arts and Sciences at New York University.

Awam received his BA in Dramatic Arts at Obafemi Awolowo University and his MA in Drama at Ahmadu Bello University in Nigeria, and completed his PhD in Drama at the University of Bristol in the UK. Before coming to NYU, Awam Amkpa was Senior Lecturer of Drama and Television at King Alfred’s University College in Winchester, England, and Assistant Professor of Theater Arts at Mount Holyoke College. He is the author of Theatre and Postcolonial Desires, London: Routledge, 2003, and Archetypes, Stereotypes and Polytypes: Theatres of the Black Atlantic.

Additionally, he was the director of film documentaries including Winds Against Our Souls, It's All About Downtown, National Images and Transnational Desires, and feature film Wazobia!, as well as the author of art catalogs, several articles in books and journals on modernisms in theater, postcolonial theater, Black Atlantic studies, and film studies. As an interdisciplinary artist and scholar, Awam continues to exhibit globally and present his multifaceted scholarship in venues across the world.

At NYU, he has served as the Director of Africana Studies, Faculty Senator, as well as Vice Chair of NYU’s Faculty Senators Council and Tenured/Track Faculty Council. He has also served on university task forces on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Affordability, and committees on Academic Priorities and Global Learning Outcomes. He has been strongly connected with NYU Abu Dhabi in many different capacities since its inception, most recently serving as our Program Head for Film and New Media and Interim Dean of Arts and Humanities.

Based on his extensive experience in administration and governance, his care and compassion for students and faculty colleagues, and his deep commitment to the Arts and Humanities and NYU Abu Dhabi, I am convinced that Awam will successfully lead and serve the division in its next phase of growth and innovation.

I would also like to extend my profound gratitude again to all members of the search committee and especially its co-chairs Nathalie Peutz and Joanna Settle for their tireless work and outstanding leadership of this process of faculty consultation in the best spirit of shared governance. I would also like to thank all members of the division and institutional stakeholders who participated in the global search process for their feedback, engagement, and dedication to NYU Abu Dhabi.

Please join me in congratulating Awam on his appointment, and in welcoming him to the NYU Abu Dhabi community in this new role.

Arlie Petters