NYUAD Celebrates Milestone 10-Year Anniversary with a Two-Day Virtual Program

In just 10 years, NYUAD has pioneered a new model of global higher education that draws students from around the world, immerses them in different cultures and perspectives, and prepares them for the opportunities and challenges of an interconnected world

Press Release

NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) is inviting the world to join the celebrations of the University’s 10-year anniversary. Launching today, NYUAD’s two-day program of virtual talks, events, and activations marks a decade of excellence, innovation, and growth. All virtual events, videos, and publications can be accessed at nyuad10.com.

Established in partnership between New York University and Abu Dhabi, NYUAD was born from a joint recognition of the need for a new model of higher education that would better prepare young leaders to work across differences and address complex global challenges. NYUAD provides the best of a liberal arts and sciences curriculum alongside an immersive, cross-cultural experience, equipping students for an increasingly interconnected world.  The depth and diversity of this model draws from and reflects Abu Dhabi as one of the most cosmopolitan and outward-looking cities in the world, as well as NYU, with its global network of three degree-granting campuses and 12 academic centers, facilitating knowledge exchange, collaboration, and study-away. 

The 10-year celebratory program will begin with a special welcome message today at 3pm GST from UAE and international leaders, followed by a series of Tenth Talks, celebrating the University’s achievements and contributions. Participants include NYU President Andrew Hamilton, former French President François Hollande, and UAE Ambassador to Spain (former UAE Chief Climate Change Negotiator at COP21) HE Majid Al Suwaidi, who will discuss the role of higher education in combating climate change.

Later in the day, Dr. Jane Goodall will be joined by HE Mariam Almheiri to discuss the importance of educating young people on conservation. In addition, NYUAD Vice Chancellor Mariët Westermann will feature in a special Tenth Talk alongside Tamkeen LLC Chair and NYU Trustee Rima Al Mokarrab, UAE Ambassador to the US HE Yousef Al Otaiba, and NYU President Emeritus John Sexton on the founding of NYUAD. Further talks feature HE Omar Al Olama, HE Noura Al Kaabi, HE Sara Musallem, and HE Zaki Nusseibeh alongside NYUAD students, faculty, and global and local experts and scholars.

This evening at 8pm, NYUAD will premiere a feature length documentary film titled This is NYU Abu Dhabi. The film, produced by BAFTA and Emmy award winning documentary filmmaker and NYUAD guest lecturer Anthony Geffen, tells the story of NYUAD through the eyes of students and faculty – joining them on their learning, teaching, and research journeys at the University and beyond.

Also launching during the event is a unique oral history book on the founding of NYUAD titled, The Origin StoryAn Oral History of the Founding of NYU Abu Dhabi 2005-2010. The book contains exclusive commentary from those who were instrumental in the vision and development of NYUAD. The voices in the book include the visionaries, leaders, educators, architects, and administrators who were the pioneers behind the project including HH Sheikha Mariam bint Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Executive Affairs Authority and NYU Trustee HE Khaldoon Al Mubarak and Chair of Tamkeen and NYU Trustee Rima Al Mokarrab, as well as NYU President Emeritus John Sexton, and NYUAD Vice Chancellor Mariët Westermann.

Commenting on NYUAD’s 10-year anniversary, NYU President Andrew Hamilton said: “In its relatively short history, NYUAD has become a beacon of learning, contribution, collaboration, and community, fueled by a pioneering and innovative spirit. NYUAD has quickly become a distinctive learning community in which students and faculty are drawn from across the globe in pursuit of new knowledge and groundbreaking research, discovery, and creation. This culmination of its 10th anniversary celebrations is a time to recognize the enormity of what has been built in a remarkably short time, and celebrate NYUAD as a model of higher education for our world.”


The remarkable success of NYU Abu Dhabi is the result of a shared ambition to develop a new kind of higher education, that, like UAE, is a forum for global connectivity – fostering values such as openness, mutual respect and mutual responsibility. Today we all feel energized by the amazing community that this institution has helped build in Abu Dhabi. NYUAD’s contributions in Abu Dhabi and around the world have already been significant, but I think it’s fair to say that the best is yet to come.

Chair of Tamkeen LLC, NYU’s partner in UAE, Rima Al Mokarrab

NYUAD Vice Chancellor Mariët Westermann said: “Ten years ago, Abu Dhabi and New York University set out together on a bold mission: to establish one of the world’s great universities, fueled by the intellectual quality of NYU and grounded in the crossroads of Abu Dhabi. The university would be a beacon of diversity, tolerance, and academic excellence. NYUAD would be tireless in its pursuit of talent, attracting the most accomplished and aspiring students and the most distinguished and dynamic professors - from the UAE and around the world. Our faculty would bring ambitious research and innovative teaching. We would cultivate the curiosity of our students and their commitment to creating a more empathetic, fair, and cooperative world. Through our integration into NYU’s global network of sites, our students would learn the world in depth. They would go on to become leaders in their fields of enterprise. NYUAD now is that distinctive campus and anchor institution for the UAE community. Today, we mark the 10th anniversary of NYUAD as a university in and of Abu Dhabi, in and of NYU, and in and of the world. Here, we grow.”

Today, we mark the 10th anniversary of NYUAD as a university in and of Abu Dhabi, in and of NYU, and in and of the world. Here, we grow.

NYUAD Vice Chancellor Mariët Westermann

NYUAD has also launched a special 10-year report that tells the story of how NYUAD has contributed to the growth of Abu Dhabi as a hub of knowledge and culture and showcases the milestones and achievements of the University, its students and faculty, during its first decade. The report highlights the growing student population who choose NYUAD for its rigorous and innovative curriculum, geographic location, and incredible student diversity, as well as the more than 300 faculty, who are dedicated teachers, committed to supporting and challenging their students and engaging them in groundbreaking research. The publication also explores the work of the more than 80 faculty labs and projects and 16 distinctive research centers led by accomplished thought leaders, while highlighting research accomplishments since 2010 including more than 3,600 research publications and over 250 creative works commissioned, created, or directed.

In addition, the report details NYUAD’s community contributions to the UAE over the past decade – including the thousands of student volunteers with a deep commitment to civic engagement and service, the work of the Executive Education Office that aims to strengthen human capital development in the UAE and has delivered programs to nearly 1,700 professionals since 2009,  the educational development of hundreds of talented Emirati undergraduates from across the UAE through the Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Scholars Program, and NYUAD’s wide-ranging, multidisciplinary response to COVID-19 supporting Abu Dhabi’s efforts to tackle the crisis.

Visit the 10th anniversary webpage at nyuad.nyu.edu/10 for more information including a detailed program and schedule. All virtual events will be available at nyuad10.com.

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.