Welcome to what I know will be a terrific celebration of the 43rd anniversary of the UAE, and of the 5th National Day that we have observed together as an NYU Abu Dhabi community.
We reflect this evening on the accomplishments of a nation that, in a brief historic span, has achieved amazing success both domestically and on the world stage. And we reflect as well on the accomplishment of a university that five years ago was launching its first year, on a temporary prefabricated campus, with 140 students and a core faculty and staff, united in an exciting vision of what we might accomplish over the 5, 43, and many more years ahead.
In stark contrast to multiple examples of unsuccessful attempts around the globe to produce productive national unity, the federation created by Sheikh Zayed 43 years ago has grown into an integrated, prosperous nation compelled by a cohesive spirit of the union.
It has built that cooperative and productive union across a truly global society.
It has forged a nation that sensitively and effectively balances its cultural and national tradition with embrace of an international world, and has done so within a region plagued by extremism and instability.
Inspired by Sheikh Zayed's mandate, and I quote, "Since richness never lasts, we should consider education as our real wealth," [the UAE] has sustained a vital commitment to the priority of education, at a time when many nations once having achieved prosperity, step back from that priority.
And it is a nation, that in pursuit of educational excellence, of intellectual quality and of cultural richness- both Arabic and international- has invited, and supported, NYUAD's presence here – as an extraordinary reflection of its openness to the international world, and an unprecedented gesture of generosity not only towards its own future, but towards the future of the world community.
In brief, the UAE today is a nation guided by leadership of exceptional vision, a nation, which enjoys the profound esteem of its population for its leadership and that vision, and a nation which demonstrates the power of constructive and optimistic vision to generate historic accomplishment.
Five years ago, in partnership with this remarkable nation and with our remarkable parent university, we set out to create a great institution of higher learning, one that we dreamed would prove singularly effective at attracting outstanding students, faculty and staff from across the UAE and around the globe, a university that would prove singularly effective at developing a community of shared respect, understanding and purpose across the differences that would enrich that global community, and a university that would prove singularly effective at placing education and research at the service of a more united, productive and peaceful world.
Today the quality and dynamism of the students, faculty and staff assembled here and the excellence in community building, education and research achieved here already distinguish NYU Abu Dhabi across the UAE and the world.
Let us on this National Day, and on each one that follows, express our profound appreciation to our host nation and at the same time recommit to the energetic pursuit of the global vision that we have set for ourselves, and that this nation has enabled us to nurture and realize.