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Ambassador Michael H. Corbin
SMSP Principal Instructor
Ambassador Michael Corbin (retired), Is CEO of Corbin Crossroads Consulting, a consulting company he established in the United Arab Emirates to help companies with business development activities in the broad region centered on the UAE. Prior to focusing his efforts on the private sector, he was a career diplomat with extensive experience in the Middle East finishing his diplomatic service as US Ambassador to the UAE from July 2011 to December 2014.
His consulting business provides targeted advice on political and economic circumstances in the region to support specific business development opportunities for a wide range of US and international companies.
During his diplomatic career, Ambassador Corbin helped to strengthen US business relations across all sectors, and focused on expanding US companies’ exports. He also developed broad political and economic experience of the Arab World from his service in some of its most challenging posts.
Prior to his tenure as Ambassador, he served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, as Minister- Counselor at the US Embassy in Baghdad from 2008 to 2009 and as Chargé d’Affaires at the US Embassy in Damascus, Syria from 2006 to 2008. He served as Minister Counselor at the US Embassy in Cairo from
2003 to 2006 and Deputy Director of the Office of Arabian Peninsula Affairs from 2001 to 2003. He served at US Embassy Cairo as Political-Military Affairs Officer, and at the US Embassies in Tunis and in Kuwait after joining the State Department in January 1985. He also served as Director of the Counter-Narcotics Section at the US Embassy in Caracas, Venezuela from 1997 to 2001.
Ambassador Corbin received a bachelor’s degree from Swarthmore College. He speaks Arabic, French, and Spanish and resides in Dubai, UAE.
SMSP Principal Instructor
James Traub is a journalist and scholar specializing in international affairs. He is a columnist and contributor to the website foreignpolicy.com. He worked as a staff writer for The New Yorker from 1993 to 1998 and as a contributing writer to The New York Times Magazine from 1998 to 2011. He has also written extensively about national politics, urban affairs, and education. Among his recent books are The Freedom Agenda, on the American policy of democracy promotion, and The Best Intentions, on the UN under Kofi Annan.
His new book, John Quincy Adams: Militant Spirit, was published in March by Basic Books. He teaches classes on American foreign policy and terrorism at NYU’s Abu Dhabi campus, as well as a class on the political essay at NYU’s main campus in New York. He is a fellow of the Center on International Cooperation and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Diane C. Yu
Executive Director, SMSP Principal Instructor of Leadership and Public Speaking and Public Presentations
Diane C. Yu is the Counselor to Leadership at New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) and Executive Director of the Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Community Programs at NYUAD, which currently consist of the NYUAD Summer Academy, a college preparatory program for Emirati high school students, and the Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Scholars Program (SMSP) for top UAE university students. She teaches leadership classes at NYU New York and in the Summer Academy and SMSP, and public speaking classes for SMSP and NYU Shanghai.
Previously she was the Deputy President of New York University, Managing Counsel at a Fortune 500 company, State Bar of California General Counsel (for whom she won a case in the US Supreme Court), a White House Fellow, and a California Superior Court Commissioner. She attended Oberlin College (BA) and UC Berkeley School of Law (JD). She sits on a number of boards, including Oberlin College, American Management Association, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and the Association of Governing Boards. She served as the White House Fellows Association President and chaired the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Commission on Women in the Profession and the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar. Among her numerous awards are Ten Outstanding Young Women of America, Women’s Leadership Award from the Asian American Bar Association of New York, and an honorary doctorate from City University of New York.
Senior Director, SMSP Principal Instructor of Critical Thinking and Persuasive Writing
Jennifer Gerrard is the incoming Senior Director for both the Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Scholars Program and the NYUAD Summer Academy. Prior to joining NYUAD, Jennifer was the Director of the Executive MBA Global Network at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, overseeing the school's five international joint degree programs in North America, the Middle East, and East Asia. Jennifer has spent the majority of her career in the field of international education and has held roles focusing on international student program management, academic advising, and the re-building of legal institutions in post-conflict zones at universities such as DePaul University and the University of California, Santa Cruz. In addition, she has worked at non-profit organizations, including AMIDEAST in Cairo, Egypt. Jennifer holds a BA in Political Science and Women's Studies from DePaul University and an MA in Social Sciences with a concentration in Political Science from the University of Chicago.
Rachel comes to NYUAD from Peking University School of Transnational Law in Shenzhen, China, where she spent two years as a law instructor for courses on legal research and writing as well as human rights and humanitarian law. Prior to that, she worked for human rights NGOs in Washington DC, Sierra Leone, and Uganda. She holds a JD from the University of California, Berkeley, and a BA in history from the University of Minnesota.
Peter joined SMSP as an Assistant Instructor for US Foreign Policy. He is currently a PhD student in New York University’s Department of Politics and a National Science Foundation GRFP Fellow. Prior to this he completed his MA at Duke University in Political Science and BS/BA in Security and Risk Analysis and International Politics at The Pennsylvania State University.
Academic and Student Affairs Specialist and Instructor of Critical Thinking and Persuasive Writing
As a member of the first team of employees on the NYUAD campus, Jonathan has served the student community in a variety of academic and residential life roles: Graduate Resident Assistant, Senior Global Academic Fellow, Academic Resource Center tutor, teaching assistant, and English proficiency assessment consultant for Admissions' Candidate Weekend process. Now, as a member of the NYUAD Community Programs' team, he works with the New York-based office staff to support alumni programming and academics at NYU NewYork, serves as Instructor in the SMSP Critical Thinking and Persuasive Writing course, supports Executive Director Diane Yu in her NYU Shanghai Public Speaking in a Leadership Role course, and assists Summer Academy students with English and Critical Thinking and Writing coursework as an Academic Fellow. Jonathan earned his bachelor's degree in film from NYU and his master's in mental health counseling from NYU Steinhardt.
Assistant Instructor of Leadership and Public Speaking and Public Presentations
Reem is a recent Emirati graduate from Zayed University with a Bachelor’s degree in psychology and human services. She has also just graduated from the Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Scholars Program at NYUAD from the 2017-2018 batch. Reem has worked as a research coordinator for an autism study at Al Jalila Children’s Speciality Hospital in Dubai, written articles for Gulf News on special pieces covering psychology related matters in the UAE, and now works as the assistant instructor for leadership and public speaking at NYUAD.
Academic and Student Affairs Specialist, and Assistant Instructor of Leadership and Public Speaking and Public Presentations
Dharini is an Academic and Student Affairs Specialist for the Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Scholars Program (SMSP) and the NYUAD Summer Academy. In this role, she advises and supports students in their academic endeavors during and post-program, such as with undergraduate, graduate, or scholarship applications. Dharini also serves as an Assistant Instructor for the Leadership classes for SMSP and Summer Academy and the Public Speaking class for SMSP. Prior to this role, Dharini worked as the Graduate Assistant for the Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Community Programs in New York, where she assisted in planning US trips for both programs and supporting New York-based alumni. Dharini holds a Master’s degree from New York University in Higher Education and Student Affairs and Bachelor’s degrees in Electrical Engineering and Mathematics and Statistics from Miami University.