External Speaking Engagements

Since joining as Vice Chancellor in 2019, Mariët Westermann has spoken across the world on a variety of topics reflecting both institutional and global priorities, including higher education, sustainability, inclusion, diversity, belonging, and equity (IDBE), philanthropy, leadership, and arts and culture. 

At NYU Abu Dhabi she regularly opens and moderates international and national conferences and speaks at community events. She also hosts a special series of Vice Chancellor’s Roundtables with CEOs and industry leaders across all sectors, focused on leadership journeys, specific areas of the economy and society, and developing careers and lifelong networks.

In addition to the Vice Chancellor’s scholarship, she also writes for publications such as Times Higher Education and The National.

Mariët Westermann,
Vice Chancellor

Arts and Culture

As a historian of art and active member of the cultural heritage protection community, Vice Chancellor Westermann has spoken extensively on the arts, cultural organizations, and museums, and her own research, moderating panels and speaking at organizations such as the Department of Culture and Tourism, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Abrahamic Family House, The Inclusive Museum, the Sea of Culture Foundation, and the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation.


Higher Education

Given NYU Abu Dhabi’s role in the region and beyond, the Vice Chancellor is often asked to speak on international education, the future of higher education, innovation within the higher education space, and key trends such as artificial intelligence. She has spoken at Times Higher Education conferences across the world, including Abu Dhabi, New York, and Sydney, and at events organized by other leading organizations such as the United Arab Emirates’ and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Education, the International Association of Universities, the Asian University for Women, the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington, Columbia University, and the Council of Independent Colleges.



The Vice Chancellor is often asked to speak to leadership, especially for women and girls, and she has spoken alongside former US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Lord Michael Hastings, member of the House of Lords of the United Kingdom, Former UK Prime Minister and current Foreign Secretary Lord David Cameron, and the Future Talent Council.

She was featured addressing questions of leadership in the Majlis Mohamed Bin Zayed and as one of the “Dreamers Who Do” at the Dubai Expo 2020 UAE Pavilion.


NYUAD Vice Chancellor Mariët Westermann joins former US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on a panel hosted at NYU Abu Dhabi.


Drawing on her previous experience, including her time as Executive Vice President of the Mellon Foundation, the Vice Chancellor has spoken about philanthropy alongside other notable leaders such as billionaire and philanthropist Bill Gates, former UK Prime Minister David Cameron, Gara LaMarche, former President of Atlantic Philanthropies, and Angella Migally, Executive Director of the Salama Bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation

Under her leadership, NYU Abu Dhabi partnered with Badr Jafar, CEO of Crescent Enterprises, to launch the Strategic Philanthropy Initiative (SPI), nd Vice Chancellor Westermann has spoken and moderated at conferences with SPI in collaboration with organizations such as the Pearl Initiative.



Sustainability and personal stewardship for the planet are a major institutional priority for the Vice Chancellor and NYU Abu Dhabi. The Vice Chancellor often speaks about environmental sustainability and showcases NYUAD’s groundbreaking research, including with the UAE’s Ministry of Climate Change and the Environment, AmCham Abu Dhabi, UPS, and Times Higher Education, as well as speaking at the Netherlands Pavilion at Dubai Expo 2020, and at the NYU Abu Dhabi Institute in collaboration with the Office of Sustainability and Stewardship. With NYUAD’s support of the UAE’s hosting of COP28, she led NYUAD’s large delegation of faculty, students, and staff in numerous events in the Blue and Green Zones of the 2023 Conference.


NYUAD Vice Chancellor Mariët Westermann speaks at the Times Higher Education Global Sustainable Development Conference.

Vice Chancellor’s Roundtables

The Vice Chancellor’s Roundtable series, hosted in collaboration with the NYUAD Career Development Center, is a series of conversations with leading industry leaders and experts such as Alan Howard, billionaire hedge fund manager and co-founder of Brevan Howard Asset Management LLP, former UK Prime Minister David Cameron, Ellissar Antonios, Chief Executive Officer of Citi UAE, Amit Sevak, CEO of the Educational Testing Service, Mohamed Alabbar, founder of Emaar, HRH Princess Lamia bint Majid Al Saud, Secretary General of Atlantic Philanthropies, Louvre Abu Dhabi Director Manuel Rabaté and Zayed National Museum Project Director Peter Magee, The National Editor-in-Chief Mina Oraibi, NBA legend Ray Allen, Badr Jafar, CEO of Crescent Enterprises, and Youngsuk “YS” Chi, Chairman of Elsevier.