NYU Abu Dhabi Launches the Mariët Westermann Distinguished MFA Fellowship

Westermann, whose leadership has significantly shaped the cultural landscape of NYU Abu Dhabi, recently concluded her tenure as the University’s Vice Chancellor to assume the role of Director and CEO of the Guggenheim Museum and Foundation

NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) has established the Mariët Westermann Distinguished Master of Fine Arts (MFA) Fellowship. This prestigious award was created to honor Westermann’s exceptional contributions to the arts and culture space both across the University and the UAE during her tenure as the University’s Vice Chancellor.

The fellowship, which will be awarded on an annual basis, will provide an outstanding student with financial support and resources to undertake The MFA in Art and Media at NYUAD. Recipients will be selected by an appointed committee and be distinguished by their artistic excellence and potential to make an innovative contribution to the field of the arts.

The MFA in Art and Media at NYUAD is a terminal degree program that immerses students in contemporary research and art practices while training them to become deep thinkers and artistic innovators. Courses emphasize artistic experimentation within a context of theoretical, cultural, and historical study. Its interdisciplinary approach bridges diverse bodies of knowledge encouraging students to continually experiment through a rigorous exploration of the boundaries of art making.


“This fellowship acknowledges Mariët’s exceptional leadership in higher education and the arts, her invaluable contributions to the growth and development of our University, and honors her unwavering passion for the NYUAD mission.”

Fabio Piano, NYUAD Vice Chancellor

Westermann, who is now Director and CEO of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation, led NYUAD, a degree-granting liberal arts and research campus of NYU, as Vice Chancellor, Chief Executive, and Professor of Arts and Humanities from 2019 to 2024. She played a pivotal role in shaping NYUAD into the successful entity that it is today. She was the institution’s Provost at its founding, from 2007 to 2010.

The University has grown from 143 students in 2010 to some 2,200 students today, with UAE nationals forming 22 percent of the student body and the rest coming from over 120 countries, making it a true global institution with firmly established local roots. Times Higher Education ranks NYU among the top 30 universities in the world, making NYU Abu Dhabi their highest-ranked university in the UAE and MENA region.