New Faculty

Academic Year 2023-2024

NYU Abu Dhabi leadership and faculty are researchers, scholars, and artists of extraordinary distinction within and beyond their disciplines, and at the same time exceptional teachers, dedicated 
to supporting and challenging their students and to transforming them into intellectual colleagues. In addition to a growing cohort of full-time faculty, the University also draws talent from across NYU’s global network and hosts visiting faculty from outstanding universities around the world.

Today NYU Abu Dhabi has a faculty of more than 300 experts who are drawn to the University by the quality and passion of our students, by a very favorable research environment, and, as importantly, by the institution’s resolve to contribute significantly to the region and to shape a better world through education and research.

  • Jinan Bastaki

    Associate Professor of Legal Studies


    Jinan Bastaki is an international law scholar whose research focuses on forced displacement, human rights, refugee law, and citizenship, emphasizing the real-world impact of legal frameworks. Bastaki gained recognition in 2018 when her paper on nationality-based detention of migrants won the International Committee of the Red Cross and the International Institute of Humanitarian Law's (IIHL) best essay prize. Her work has been featured in esteemed publications like the Journal of Refugee Studies and Refugee Survey Quarterly.

    Before assuming her current role, she served as Visiting Associate Professor of Legal Studies at NYU Abu Dhabi, Associate Professor of International Law and Vice-Dean of Research and Graduate Affairs at UAEU. Bastaki's academic journey also includes a Visiting Scholar position at the University of Oxford's Center for Socio-Legal Studies in fall 2022, and she has taught refugee law for the IIHL.

    PhD in Law, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, United Kingdom

    Previously: Visiting Associate Professor of Legal Studies at NYU Abu Dhabi, Associate Professor of Public International Law, United Arab Emirates University, United Arab Emirates

    Sandra Peters

    Associate Professor of Art and Art History


    Sandra Peters is an artist, sculptress, and educator who makes art that engages the architecture of specific exhibition sites in a contrapuntal dialogue, unlocking experiences that let us question preconceived beliefs and entrenched habits of seeing, hearing, moving, and being in space. Her sculptures pick up on historic sculptural and architectonic paradigms, which she modifies and places in constellations such that the presence of the works is interwoven with glimpses of past cultural formations.

    Peters has widely presented her work in Europe, the US, and the United Arab Emirates, including Pandora’s Box at the NYUAD Project Space in Abu Dhabi (2016); Bilateral, Diagonal, Cubical at the Gallery Aanant & Zoo, Berlin (2012) and participated in the group exhibition Envisioning Buildings. Reflecting Architecture in Contemporary Art Photography at the MAK–Austrian Museum of Applied Arts/Contemporary Art, Vienna (2011), Conceptual Tendencies. 1960s to Today. Part II. Body, Space, Volume, at the Daimler Contemporary in Berlin (2013) and Collectivity. Objects and Associations in the UAE Art World at the Maraya Art Center, Sharjah, UAE (2017).

    Previously, she was a visiting professor at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, in 1999–2000, and at the California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, California, in 2011 and 2012. She has taught at New York University Abu Dhabi since 2014 in the Art and Art History Program.

    PhD in Fine Art, HfBK Dresden University of Fine Arts, Germany

    Previously: Associate Arts Professor of Arts Practice, New York University Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

    Rashmi Sawhney

    Associate Arts Professor of Film and New Media


    Rashmi Devi Sawhney, a seasoned film, media, and cultural theorist, boasts over 15 years of experience across esteemed institutions like Trinity College (Dublin), Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU, New Delhi), and India Foundation for the Arts (IFA, Bangalore). Her academic journey led her to Ireland, where she completed her PhD in Film and Cultural Studies and served as a tenured Lecturer at Dublin Technological University for 11 years. Upon returning to India in 2012, Sawhney delved deeper into South Asian research as the National Head of Arts Practice and Curatorship Programmes at IFA. Joining JNU's School of Arts and Aesthetics as Associate Professor in 2014, she later contributed to establishing an MA in Visual Aesthetics and Curatorial Practice at Srishti-Manipal Institute of Art, Design and Technology.

    Sawhney's interdisciplinary approach spans cinema, media, visual arts, and cultural practices, evident in her extensive publication record and involvement in curatorial projects and public outreach events, including co-founding VisionMix in 2015. She continues to make significant contributions, evident in her recent book, The Vanishing Point: Moving Images After Video, published in 2022. Sawhney also actively participates in trustee and advisory roles within the academic and cultural spheres.

    PhD in Film and Cultural Studies, University of Limerick, Ireland

    Previously: Associate Professor of English and Cultural Studies Christ University, India

    Jonathan Sharfman

    Lecturer of Writing


    Jonathan Sharfman is an author and researcher with a diverse background in heritage, archaeology, and maritime archaeology. His research interests center on the intersection of identity formation in emerging nations like the UAE and his home country, South Africa. Sharfman's research, focused on Africa’s maritime connections, has taken him across the continent and to the Middle East, where he was engaged as a postdoctoral research associate at New York University Abu Dhabi's Dhakira Centre for Heritage Studies.  Sharfman played a pivotal role in conceptualizing and executing the Bronze Age Boat Project, a joint program between NYUAD, Zayed University, and the Department of Culture and Tourism/Zayed National Museum.

    Previously, he served as an adjunct lecturer in the Writing Program at NYU Abu Dhabi. Prior to joining NYUAD, Sharfman headed the Maritime and Underwater Cultural Heritage (MUCH) Unit at the South African Heritage Resources Agency from 2005 to 2013. He became the director of the African Centre for Heritage Activities, an NGO he founded in January 2013, promoting heritage through capacity building, training, and awareness initiatives.

    With a global perspective and a commitment to fostering cultural understanding, Sharfman aims to contribute meaningfully to NYUAD's Writing Program and the university community.

    PhD in Maritime Archaeology, Leiden University, Netherlands

    Previously: Adjunct Lecturer in the Writing Program, New York University Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

    Hanine Shehadeh

    Visiting Assistant Professor of Humanities


    Hanine Shehadeh, a Visiting Assistant Professor of Humanities, delves into the coloniality of new media, questioning whether new media platforms perpetuate digital colonialism and exploring indigeneity and colonial subjection in digital landscape.

    Before assuming her current role, she served as a Research Fellow at the Palestine Land Studies Center at the American University of Beirut (AUB), Lebanon, where she contributed to interdisciplinary research projects focusing on various aspects of land studies in Palestine. Shehadeh's dissertation garnered recognition for her groundbreaking work on the examination of the constructed social, political, religious, and cultural phenomenon of the "dishonorable Jew" in European Christian antisemitic Zionism and later Jewish Zionism, which earned her a nomination for the prestigious Salo and Jeanette Baron Prize in Jewish Studies at Columbia University. Her work on affect formation in settler-colonial societies was granted Columbia University's Humanities War and Peace Initiative award (HWPI).

    Hanine Shehadeh's research interests encompass European history, nationalism, affect theory, the social and political history of the Middle East, colonialism, and media studies.

    PhD in Intellectual History and Politics of the Modern Arab Region, Columbia University, United States of America

    Visiting from: Research Fellow, American University of Beirut, Lebanon

    Manuel Contreras

    Visiting Lecturer of Film and New Media


    Manuel F Contreras, a Colombian documentary filmmaker and producer, has garnered acclaim for his work in both independent and television productions. His debut feature documentary, Las Últimas Vacaciones (Boys of Buenaventura), received multiple accolades. As a researcher, Contreras delves into visual representation in film. He has held various roles, including head of programming at the Budapest International Documentary Film Festival (BIDF) and main programmer at the Déli-Doku Contemporary Latin American Documentary Film Festival of Budapest. Additionally, he has lectured for DocNomads at the Hungarian University of Theater and Film Arts and Metropolitan University in Budapest. Contreras' contributions extend across the documentary film landscape, showcasing his commitment to advancing the craft and understanding of visual storytelling.

    PhD in Arts, Hungarian University of Fine Arts, Hungary

    Visiting from: Part-time Lecturer, DocNomads, Hungary and Budapest Metropolitan University, Hungary

    Mary Syretha Gatchell

    Visiting Lecturer of Music


    Mary Gatchell is an accomplished composer, singer, songwriter, oboist, pianist, conductor, music director, and educator. A distinguished alumna of New York University, she holds both a Master of Music and Bachelor of Music in Theory and Composition.

    Formerly, she served as a faculty member at Nyack College, instructing courses in ear training, music theory, acting, and conducting, while also holding the position of Co-Director of the Chorale. Additionally, she contributed as Co-Music Director and Choreographer for notable musical productions at Nyack, including West Side Story, In the Heights, The Wiz, and Jesus Christ Superstar. Notably, she choreographed Dreamgirls in 2021 at Nyack.

    Gatchell has graced numerous renowned NYC venues, including Blue Note, Carnegie Hall, and Birdland, and has taken her original music to Europe and Africa. She's performed in stadiums like Barclays Center and Prudential Center with The Rolling Stones alongside NYC's Ghostlight Chorus. Gatchell is also part of the NYC-based band Strangeland. She's been principal oboist with the Leon Lacey Orchestra since 2008, performing at venues like Kings Theatre. Along with being a performer, Gatchell is deeply dedicated to enriching the lives of children through music. Her passion has taken her to Ethiopia, where she implemented a sustainable music curriculum for HIV-infected and underprivileged children, and to Bulgaria, where she used music to connect with orphans with special needs, collaborating with the Worldwide Orphans Foundation.

    MM in Jazz Piano Performance, New York University, United States of America

    Visiting from: Half-time Professor of Conducting, Music Theory, Ear Training, Musical Theatre, Acting, Nyack College, United States of America

    Özlem Özhabeş

    Visiting Lecturer of Theater


    Özlem Özhabeş is a multifaceted educator with expertise in voice studies, acting, dramaturgy, and improvisation. She currently holds dual roles as Head of Acting and Head of Voice at Kadir Has University. Since 2010, she has served as a full-time lecturer in the university's Theatre Department, directing numerous student and professional productions.

    Özhabeş holds a Master's in Theatre Directing from Middlesex University and a Bachelor’s in Theatre Criticism and Dramaturgy from Istanbul University. Özhabeş is also pursuing her doctoral studies at Istanbul University.  She is currently undergoing training to become a certified Linklater voice teacher, with an anticipated completion date in 2024.

    Özhabeş has an extensive background, having served as a visiting instructor at esteemed institutions like the National Acting School of Tuscany, affiliated with Teatro della Pergola in Florence, Italy, and directing productions both in Turkey and internationally. Notably, she was a jury member for the Afife Theatre Awards in Istanbul, Turkey, from 2011 to 2013. Özhabeş has spearheaded various projects, and is currently the project coordinator for the "ACT - Artistic Freedom and Children's and Youth's Perspectives in the Arts in Turkey" collaborating with  Unga Klara Theatre Stokholm supported by the Swedish Ministry of Culture.

    MA in Theatre Directing, Middlesex University, United Kingdom

    Visiting from: Full-time Lecturer in Acting, Voice, Dramaturgy, Improvisation, Kadir Has University, Turkey