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 Abu Dhabi, UAE

James Traub
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. His most recent book is What Was Liberalism?, a history of the liberal idea. His other books include a biography of John Quincy Adams and a study of the UN in the time of Secretary General Kofi Annan. 

Traub teaches classes on American foreign policy at NYU’s Abu Dhabi campus as well as 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 Advisor 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 is Co-Chair of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival Board of Directors and has also served on the boards of Oberlin College, American Management Association, and 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.


Rachel Jamison, SMSP Instructor

Rachel is a faculty member at NYUAD teaching in Legal Studies and the Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Community Programs. She teaches Critical Thinking and Writing for Summer Academy. She also coaches NYUAD's competitive debate team. She previously taught legal research and human rights law at Peking University School of Transnational Law in Shenzhen, China, for two years. Prior to that, she worked for human rights NGOs in Washington DC, Sierra Leone, and Uganda. She holds a Juris Doctorate in law from the University of California, Berkeley, and a BA in history from the University of Minnesota.

Peter Vining, SMSP Instructor

Peter Vining is serving his sixth year as an Instructor for US Foreign Policy. Peter also teaches for the NYUAD Summer Academy, and is a PhD candidate in New York University's Department of Politics where he studies political violence. Peter's research focuses on strategies for countering violent extremism and post-conflict reintegration of former militants. His dissertation research is the design and evaluation of a preventing violent extremism field experiment in Bangladesh. A recipient of the National Science Foundation's Graduate Research Fellowship, Peter completed his MA at Duke University and BS/BA at The Pennsylvania State University.

Jonathan Marsh, 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 for the past five years, 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 work across NYU's global network, and assisted Summer Academy students with English and Critical Thinking and Writing coursework and individual support as well as college advising and counseling. Jonathan earned his bachelor's degree in film from NYU and his Master's in mental health counseling from NYU Steinhardt.

Reem Shraim, 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 is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in public policy at the Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Government. She is an alumnus of 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 an assistant instructor for leadership and public speaking for the Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Community Programs at NYUAD.

Dharini Parthasarathy, Academic and Student Affairs Specialist, and Assistant Instructor of Leadership and Public Speaking and Public Presentations

Dharini Parthasarathy was born in Abu Dhabi, UAE and lived there until she left to start her undergraduate degree in 2013. In May 2017, she completed a BS in Electrical Engineering and a BS in Mathematics and Statistics at Miami University, Ohio. During her stay at Miami University, she worked with the International Student and Scholar Services department, the Dean’s Office of the College of Engineering, and the Lockheed Martin Leadership Institute. In fall 2017, she started her MA in higher education and student affairs at New York University and a graduate assistantship with the NYUAD Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Community Programs. In January, 2019, she took up the role of Academic and Student Affairs Specialist for the NYU Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Community Programs. In that role, she liaises with students and alumni as they prepare applications for undergraduate and graduate schooling, assists with the Leadership and Public Speaking courses, and coordinates with NYU Abu Dhabi to develop programming for the students.

Yusuf Samara, Assistant Manager, Administration and Alumni Affairs and Instructor of Critical Thinking and Persuasive Writing

Yusuf Samara is the Assistant Manager of Administration and Alumni Affairs for the Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Community Programs at NYU Abu Dhabi. In this capacity, he coordinates alumni programming and outreach for both the Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Scholars Program and the NYUAD Summer Academy. Yusuf is also an Instructor of the Critical Thinking and Persuasive Writing course for the Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Scholars Program. Previously, Yusuf worked in higher education administration in admissions, registrar, and financial aid, and he also spent several years working with high school students in the field of test preparation. Yusuf holds a Bachelor's degree from Yale University and a Master's degree in higher education from Pennsylvania State University