NYU Abu Dhabi, the first comprehensive liberal arts campus established by a major U.S.research university, officially opened the doors to its Downtown Campus today in a dedication ceremony that featured His Highness Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, crown prince of Abu Dhabi, His Excellency Khaldoon Al Mubarak, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Affairs Authority, NYU President John Sexton and Alfred Bloom, vice chancellor of NYU Abu Dhabi. The school’s first class of students will arrive in August 2010.
Located in the city center of Abu Dhabi, the Downtown Campus will house all major academic and cultural activities for NYU Abu Dhabi during its inaugural years, until construction of the residential campus on Saadiyat Island is completed in 2014. Construction of the Saadiyat campus is expected to begin next year.
“The location of NYU Abu Dhabi’s Downtown Campus in the heart of the city is a perfect symbol of our goal to become an essential thread of the fabric of Abu Dhabi,” said Alfred Bloom, vice chancellor of NYU Abu Dhabi. “It will be a wonderful academic home for our first class of students, who will arrive in Abu Dhabi in just eight short months.”
His Excellency Khaldoon Al Mubarak, chairman of the Executive Affairs Authority said: “The opening of the downtown campus today represents a major milestone in the establishment of NYU Abu Dhabi. Alongside other new and existing institutions, NYU Abu Dhabi will contribute to the development of the Emirate’s education system, the diversification of the local economy, and the establishment of Abu Dhabi as one of the world’s true cultural capitals.”
The campus, comprised of two three-story buildings connected by a walkway, features a combination of academic and gathering spaces for NYUAD students, faculty and staff, and community spaces that will be open to the public, including a café with indoor and outdoor seating; a bookstore with textbooks, general interest books and NYU Abu Dhabi merchandise; gathering space for lectures and performances; and a welcome center. State-of-the-art classrooms equipped with voice, video and data capabilities allow multi-media teaching. Videoconferencing in common spaces and classrooms will connect NYU Abu Dhabi directly to NYU’s campus in Washington Square and other NYU global sites.
“Preparing the next generation of global leaders requires a new approach to higher education,” said John Sexton, president of NYU. “The vibrant connection between NYU Abu Dhabi and NYU New York will provide the foundation for the world’s first truly global university and is perfectly aligned with Abu Dhabi’s vision for becoming one of the world’s next great idea capitals. History has shown that great universities have proven indispensable in that evolution.”
In addition to providing classroom and administrative space for students, faculty and staff at NYU Abu Dhabi, the Downtown Campus will serve as the primary location for the New York University Abu Dhabi Institute, a cutting-edge research center that hosts academic conferences, workshops, film series, lectures and other programming to unite local and global scholarly communities for educational and cultural enrichment.
Since its establishment in October 2007, NYU Abu Dhabi has attracted distinguished educators and researchers from around the world. Twenty world-class academics with specialties ranging from particle physics to urban planning have joined the standing faculty. In addition, more than fifteen members of NYU’s faculty from the Washington Square campus will be teaching in Abu Dhabi during its inaugural year as members of NYUAD’s Affiliated Faculty, helping to ensure strong connections between the two campuses.
The inaugural undergraduate class of 100 students, drawn from the top high school students around the world, will enter in August 2010.
NYU Abu Dhabi's undergraduate curriculum will expose students to challenging ideas, bodies of knowledge, cultural traditions and transformative achievements across the liberal arts, sciences and engineering. NYUAD students will select from one of 18 majors, and will choose from five multidisciplinary concentrations including The Arab Crossroads and The Environment. The school will also offer seven pre-professional tracks, including Journalism, Law, Premedical and Health Studies, and Museum Studies. All students will be able to spend up to three semesters studying at any of NYU’s 11 global sites, including New York.
Over the next decade, NYU Abu Dhabi will expand its class size and develop a world-class research center and graduate programs in the liberal arts, science, engineering and other areas.