Walk with Mariët

Students take a walk with NYUAD Vice Chancellor Mariët Westermann along the Abu Dhabi Corniche. Photo taken pre-Covid.

Early risers joined Vice Chancellor Mariët Westermann on a morning walk in Reem Central Park Abu Dhabi.

Walk with Mariët was created to allow students a space to engage with the Vice Chancellor outside the campus ground and to provide a different environment for students to pose questions. Students are encouraged to ask the Vice Chancellor any questions or topics under the sun during the walk, with the Vice Chancellor attempting to answer those questions to the best of her abilities. 

These informal and engaging conversations between students and the Vice Chancellor provide a great opportunity for the student community to share thoughts, feedback and ideas on topics ranging from graduate school support, new events on campus, or even topics outside of academia.  

Besides the chance to pick the brain of the Vice Chancellor, Walk with Mariët is an avenue for students to explore the city outside of campus such as the Corniche, Jubail Mangrove Park, or Reem Central Park. 

Vice Chancellor Westermann started this initiative back in 2019 after personally getting to know more about Abu Dhabi city through walking. Through Walk with Mariët, the Vice Chancellor hopes to engage more with students, while also providing an opportunity for them to connect deeper with the city that they live in. 

Students during the most recent Walk with Mariët at Reem Central Park in Abu Dhabi.

NYUAD students from all classes, as well as visiting students from New York and Shanghai are welcomed to join the walk. Monika Pawlowska, a first year student from Poland shares that she had the chance to connect with one of her fellow classmates during the walk. ​“I met a friend from Ecuador whom I haven’t had a chance to talk to yet. I was able to spend the entire walk trying to remember my Spanish and keep up with the conversation,’’ Pawlowska said. 

I vividly remember my very first Walk with Mariët in February 2020, where I joined a wonderful group of students that I am still connected to now. Two years later, it’s moving to have Walk with Mariët back and to join the walk as a junior. I encourage students across various class years to take advantage of this unique opportunity to explore parts of Abu Dhabi while engaging with Vice Chancellor Westermann.