Olympic Medalists Ibtihaj Muhammad and Michelle Kwan inspire crowd at NYU Abu Dhabi

Special Olympics UAE team in attendance for the visit

Press Release

On Thursday, March 15, Olympic athletes Michelle Kwan, two-time Olympic medalist, five-time world champion, and nine-time US champion in figure skating, and Ibtihaj Muhammad, the first Muslim-American athlete to represent the United States in a hijab and take home the bronze in fencing, met with students, faculty, and staff, and offered remarks to a crowd of nearly 200  at NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) about diversity, perseverance, and inclusion in sports.

The athletes shared anecdotes from their time at the Olympics, highlighting the importance of perseverance and the remarkable feeling  of being a part of the Special Olympics family as well as the greater role that  sport holds  in bringing communities, and people, together.

NYU Abu Dhabi Vice Chancellor Al Bloom and Associate Vice Chancellor, Global Education and Outreach and Vice Provost Carol Brandt also offered remarks on NYUAD’s pride at being a host venue for the Special Olympics.

The UAE Special Olympics team was in attendance and asked questions and engaged with the two Olympians in advance of the start of the team’s own performance at the Special Olympics MENA Games next week.

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.