Implementation Committee on Race, Diversity, and Belonging

July 15, 2020

My recent letter to the community affirmed the commitments I made on behalf of NYU Abu Dhabi to take concrete steps to counter racism and foster a culture of belonging on campus. A critical step in this collective work is the appointment of an Implementation Committee on Race, Diversity, and Belonging.

I am pleased to let you know that, after careful consideration of the important issues at hand and with a goal of making progress in the near as well as longer term across our institution, the Committee has now been constituted. The list of community members that will help coordinate and advance our efforts to make our institution truly inclusive is as follows:

Implementation Committee on Race, Diversity, and Belonging

Academic Leadership and Faculty

Awam Amkpa, Program Head, Film and New Media and Professor of Drama, Social and Cultural Analysis
Marta Losada, Dean of Science and Professor of Physics
Yaw Nyarko, Professor of Economics
Mohammad Qasaimeh, Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering
Kirsten Sadler Edepli, Vice Provost, Faculty Development and Diversity and Professor of Biology

Administration and Staff

Director, Office of Inclusion and Equity (expected to join the Committee this fall)
Dana AlHosani, Student Life Coordinator
Lama Choufani, Research Ethics and Governance Manager
Theresa Powell, Deputy Chief Human Resources Officer, Employee Relations, Learning and Engagement
Tina Wadhwa, Associate Director of the Health Promotion Office

Students and Alumni

Laura Assanmal, Class of 2021
Tatyana Brown, Class of 2022
Waseem Chaudry, Class of 2020, and Dean’s Fellow, Campus Life
Lucas Davidenco, Class of 2021
Tintié Koné, Class of 2022

I have asked Marta Losada and Waseem Chaudry to serve as co-chairs of the Committee, and am very grateful to them for agreeing to do so.

While it would be impossible to have a committee perfectly representative of our richly diverse community, we have endeavored to constitute a membership that reflects a broad range of experiences and interests among our students, faculty, and staff. Ensuring significant presence of Black community members was particularly important, as anti-racism, and specifically anti-Black racism, are specific concerns for the group to address in collaboration with allies from across NYUAD. The Committee will engage with diverse constituencies across the institution to develop recommendations for actions that will improve inclusion and equity in many areas of our institutional operations, including campus life, hiring and promotion, and curriculum review and development.

I view the work of this Committee as essential to making sure that NYUAD can become a community where all can belong. Much work has already been set in motion these past few years, and it is my hope that the Committee can extend and accelerate the implementation of these processes and other innovative solutions it may recommend. Ongoing assessment, evaluation, and regular communication will help us take stock transparently of how well we are embedding the values of inclusion, antiracism, and belonging in our institutional practices.
The efforts the Committee will undertake are complex, as they inevitably will involve some culture change. They will take time, and they will require input from across our community and commitment to implementation in our many departments and divisions. On behalf of all of NYUAD, I would like to thank the members of the Committee for their willingness to take on this important role, and for their dedication to making progress on this shared responsibility.

Thank you as well to the many members of our community who already work hard to make our world and institution more equitable and just. I know that many NYUAD community members have long been engaged in this work, and the Committee and I will look to you as we increase our efforts to do better and to be a place where all members of our community can thrive. And if the conversation still feels new, it is not too late to join.

I look forward to working together on these vital efforts for our NYU Abu Dhabi.

Faithfully yours,
Mariët