Arab Crossroads Studies

Arab Crossroads Studies takes advantage of Abu Dhabi’s geographical location in the Arabian Peninsula, at the crossroads of the three continents of the Eastern hemisphere: Africa, Asia, and Europe.

It uses this location to think through both the broader interactions of the Arab world with the surrounding regions, as well as an invitation to investigate the historical and contemporary religious, cultural, and ethnic diversity of the Arabic speaking world. In doing so, it provides a portal for the global NYU community to study and engage with the social, cultural and intellectual diversity of the Arab world and its neighbors.

The historical, sociopolitical, and cultural interactions among these regions have opened engaging domains of study in both the humanities and social sciences. One example of these interactions can be seen in the Gulf, where the flow of people, ideas, and commodities through has resulted in cosmopolitan and culturally hybrid setting for many centuries.

The historical archives testify to this richness, which can also be gleaned from the artistic, architectural and musical developments, the variety of spoken languages, and the diversity of people who now live in the Gulf region. Similar sites of intense interaction can be found in the Levant, Central Asia, West and East Africa, as well as South Asia, and ACS courses consider regions such as these particularly productive for studying the Arab world’s diversity. Yet ACS courses move beyond geographic descriptions to consider thematic approaches to the Arab world’s diversity that consider more specific religious, historical, political, anthropological, literary and artistic topics.


Multidisciplinary Curriculum

  • Includes a broad and solid grounding in the pre-modern and modern social, cultural, religious, and economic landscapes of the region. These courses focus on primary source documents to introduce students to the rich and varied history of the region as well as to the doctrinal and social aspects of the religious traditions that have shaped it.

Regional Trips

NYUAD Global Education offers students the opportunity to go on regional trips in association with the classes they take. Arab Crossroads Studies students have been able to travel to Turkey, Oman, Spain and Morocco,  as well as explore the UAE itself. Study trips allow students to deepen their knowledge through first-hand experiences of the societies and issues they are studying at NYUAD. 

Lunchtime Lecture Series

In addition to public lectures, the ACS program hosts a luncheon lunch lecture series, where regional scholars can talk about their work in an informal setting.

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