Nadia El Cheikh appointed Vice Provost for Cultural and Research Engagement

October 11, 2021

I am delighted to announce the appointment of Nadia El Cheikh as Vice Provost for Cultural and Research Engagement effective January 1, 2022.

Nadia comes to NYU Abu Dhabi from the American University of Beirut (AUB) in Lebanon, where she is the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and a Professor of History. Before her deanship at AUB, she held several academic leadership positions as Director of the Center for Arab and Middle Eastern Studies, Chair of the Department of History and Archaeology, and Interim Associate Provost. An experienced dean and administrator, Nadia leads a division of 3,700 students, 400 faculty, and 100 staff at AUB.

Nadia has a distinguished academic career, holding a bachelor of arts degree in History and Archaeology from AUB and a PhD in History and Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard University. She is a highly accomplished scholar of the Abbasid Caliphate and Byzantium, with a focus on women, gender, and Islam. Nadia has published two monographs: Women, Islam and Abbasid Identity and Byzantium Viewed by the Arabs; and co-authored Crisis and Continuity at the Abbasid Court: Formal and Informal Politics in the Caliphate of al-Muqtadir. In 2019, she received a $1 million Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant for an oral history project, The Arab Oral History Archive: Gender, Alternative Histories, and the Production of Knowledge. Nadia has co-edited four volumes and contributed to several anthologies and journals. She is a member of the journal editorial boards of Al-Usur Al Wusta, Journal of Abbasid Studies, and Middle East Women Studies.

Nadia is a highly regarded international speaker and has been visiting professor and scholar at Harvard, Columbia, University of California Los Angeles, Amherst College, and New York University. She also served as a member of the International Advisory Board of the NYU Press and NYU Abu Dhabi’s Library of Arabic Literature, which she has championed from its inception.

In her role as Vice Provost for Cultural and Research Engagement, Nadia will help advance NYUAD’s academic strategy by supporting the Provost and Deans in reaching out and fostering NYUAD’s societal impact and research connectivity. She will help provide artistic, cultural, and intellectual programming that is regionally relevant and globally recognized, and develop and collaborate on transformative initiatives in community engagement, as well as research excellence.

Nadia will lead the NYUAD Institute, a center of advanced research, scholarly, and creative activity that was established in 2008 for Abu Dhabi, the UAE, and the world. The Institute brings together academics, professionals, and leaders from around the world to its academic conferences and public programs to discuss research areas and topics of local and global significance. Reindert Falkenburg, Special Academic Advisor and Visiting Professor of Early Modern Art and Culture, is heading the Institute in an interim capacity until the end of 2021.

Nadia’s portfolio will also include high level oversight of the Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi, which is a complex of theaters and performance venues, a project space gallery, rehearsal rooms, film editing studios, classrooms, and workshops that house NYU Abu Dhabi’s Theater, Music, Film, Visual Arts, and New Media Studies departments. As a vibrant laboratory for performance that both presents and develops work, the Arts Center fosters a dynamic relationship between the arts, scholarship, and community.
Nadia’s office will also oversee the NYUAD Art Gallery, which was established in 2014, and is the Gulf’s first and only university gallery with a program of scholarly and experimental museum exhibitions. The gallery’s program seeks to map new territories and ideas through presenting exhibitions by internationally established artists, curators, and scholars at its main space. Its auxiliary venue, the Project Space, is an exhibition laboratory for the university community, and for emerging artists and curators.

Please join me in congratulating Nadia on her appointment as Vice Provost for Research and Cultural Engagement, and in welcoming her to the NYU Abu Dhabi community.

Arlie Petters