University’s Arts and Humanities Division Enriched with New Senior Appointments, Award-Winning Academics

World-renowned theater scholar, cultural theorist, curator, and accomplished filmmaker Awam Amkpa has been appointed as the Dean of Arts and Humanities

Press Release

NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) has appointed two senior academics and the addition of several faculty members to the Arts and Humanities division as the University further strengthens its position as the first comprehensive liberal arts and research campus in the Middle East.

Awam Amkpa, an accomplished and world-renowned theater scholar, filmmaker, and curator of visual and performing arts, has been appointed as the Dean of Arts and Humanities. Amkpa is also a Professor of Drama and Cultural Theory at the departments of Drama, Tisch School of the Arts and Social and Cultural Analysis, Faculty of Arts and Sciences at New York University. Previously at NYU, he served as the Director of Africana Studies, Faculty Senator, as well as Vice Chair of NYU’s Faculty Senators Council and Tenured/Track Faculty Council.

Tarek Al-Ghoussein, an artist and Professor of Visual Arts assumes the role of Program Director of the region’s first-ever Master of Fine Arts (MFA). As a Kuwaiti of Palestinian origin, much of Al-Ghoussein's professional work deals with how his identity is shaped in a context of inaccessibility and loss. Al-Ghoussein's work has been acquired by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York; the Nevada Museum of Art: the British and the Victoria & Albert Museum in London; the Sharjah Art Foundations; the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo; the Royal Photography Museum in Copenhagen; and the Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha, Barjeel Art Foundation, Abu Dhabi Music & Art Foundation (ADMAF), and Art Jameel.


“Awam Amkpa and Tarek Al-Ghoussein have strong knowledge and experience in the field and have demonstrated deep commitment to the Arts and Humanities and NYU Abu Dhabi. I am convinced that together with our new faculty they will successfully lead and serve the division in its next phase of growth and innovation and help create and sustain an inspiring and excellent liberal arts institution fueled by the intellectual plenitude of a research university."

Provost of NYUAD Arlie Petters

Two faculty members have also joined the division’s Literature and Creative Writing program as visiting professors. Winner of the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, Digest, Gregory Pardlo is the author of Totem, winner of the 2007 American Poetry Review/Honickman Prize, and translator from the Danish of Niels Lyngsø’s, Pencil of Rays, and Spiked Mace. His poems and essays have appeared in leading international publications. Pardlo has received an MFA in poetry from NYU as a New York Times Fellow in Poetry and an MFA in nonfiction from Columbia University as a Teaching Fellow along with several fellowships by world renowned academic institutions.

Nathalie Handal was raised in Latin America, France and the Middle East, and educated in the United States and United Kingdom. She has published seven award-winning poetry and flash collections, most recently Life in the Country Album, winner of the Palestine Book Award. She is the editor The Poetry of Arab Women: A Contemporary Anthology; winner of the PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Book Award, listed as one of the top 10 Feminist Books by The Guardian; and co-editor of Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry from the Middle East, Asia & Beyond, Academy of American Poets bestsellers.

New faculty member and Emirati national Shaikha Al Mazrou also joins the division as Assistant Professor of Visual Art, and will be working together with NYUAD students to help them better understand the human experience through works of art and literature. In 2018, Al Mazrou was awarded the first Artist's Garden commission by the Jameel Arts Centre for her public piece, Green house: Interior yet Exterior, Manmade yet Natural. She was one of five international artists commissioned by the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture to produce a public artwork at the Jalila Cultural Centre for Children in Dubai as part of Make Art Possible (2014).

Established in partnership between New York University (NYU) and the emirate of Abu Dhabi, NYUAD has assembled over the past decade a remarkable community of scholars, students, researchers, artists, inventors, and others who have contributed to the growth of the UAE’s capital as a global hub of knowledge and culture, while establishing a new model of higher education for today’s complex world.

NYU ranks 26th globally in the Times Higher Education World University rankings for 2021, and 11th in the QS Graduate Employability rankings for 2020. The rankings are based on enrolment and programmes throughout all campuses of New York University, including NYU Abu Dhabi.

About NYU Abu Dhabi

NYU Abu Dhabi is the first comprehensive liberal arts and research campus in the Middle East to be operated abroad by a major American research university. NYU Abu Dhabi has integrated a highly selective undergraduate curriculum across the disciplines with a world center for advanced research and scholarship. The university enables its students in the sciences, engineering, social sciences, humanities, and arts to succeed in an increasingly interdependent world and advance cooperation and progress on humanity’s shared challenges. NYU Abu Dhabi’s high-achieving students have come from over 115 countries and speak over 115 languages. Together, NYU's campuses in New York, Abu Dhabi, and Shanghai form the backbone of a unique global university, giving faculty and students opportunities to experience varied learning environments and immersion in other cultures at one or more of the numerous study-abroad sites NYU maintains on six continents.