Abu Dhabi: 364 students from 85 countries graduate from NYUAD

This is the first commencement ceremony to take place at campus since the pandemic


Ismail Sebugwaawo

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Published: Tue 31 May 2022, 5:03 PM

A total of 364 students representing 85 countries have graduated from NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) in the largest class that the university has held since its inception in 2011.

This is the first in-person commencement ceremony hosted at NYUAD after two years of Covid-19.

The students were honored at the university’s campus in the presence of Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi, Dr. Mugheer Khamis Al Khaili, Chairman, Department of Community Development, Dr. Obaid Al-Hairy Alketbi, Chairman of the Board, Dr. O Holding Group, Mohammed Abdul Jalil Al Fahim, Chairman of Al Fahim Group, along with ambassadors and other officials in the UAE.

NYUAD Vice Chancellor Mariët Westermann officiated the ceremony along with NYU President Andrew Hamilton, who will step down from his role in June next year after eight years in the position.

Ellen Stofan, PhD, Under Secretary for Science and Research at the Smithsonian Institution, and internationally renowned sculptor Anish Kapoor offered keynote speeches.

“Today marks an incredible personal milestone. When you decided years ago to come to NYU Abu Dhabi, you probably had no idea what was in store or how these years would shape and change you. The experiences you’ve had, the friends you’ve made, the professors who inspired you - they helped you discover your best self. You couldn’t have imagined that your college years would get caught up in a global pandemic, changing everything and making everything harder,” Stofan said.

“Yet here you are, in person, for the first time since Covid began. There is no better tribute to the challenges you have faced, than being able to hug your fellow classmates and share this with your family. You did it!” she added.

“Do something that comes from your deep self. Something other. This takes a great amount of work and then an even greater amount of courage,” Kapoor said.

“I say to you onwards and inwards, dear sisters and brothers, thank you,” he added.

This year’s commencement ceremony included a number of awards and accolades, including the inaugural Alfred H. Bloom Scholarship for Global Liberal Arts, NYUAD’s Piano Prize, the Global Leadership Award, and the Distinguished Alumni Award, as well as the Ceremony of the Torch.

Class of 2022 student Yusril Nurhidayat spoke on behalf of the graduating class. Originally from Indonesia, Nurhidayat majored in Social Research and Public Policy with a minor in Theatre. Emirati student Hessa Al Abbas, who majored in Civil Engineering, also offered brief welcome remarks.

Nurhidayat said: “For us, NYU Abu Dhabi has been a dream come true but the work must certainly continue. We owe it to the people who believed in us and supported us, to pass their kindness forward, now more than ever. Today is just one of our many beginnings, and I hope that as we move forward into the next chapter of our lives we continue to put our focus on who we want to be. Class of 2022, you all are some of the most passionate, hardworking, kind, and resilient people I have ever met in my life, and so if anything, you should all just continue being yourself but remain open and curious to exude your best and seek to be better than your past-selves.”

To date, NYUAD has grown to an undergraduate population of 1,834 students from over 120 countries speaking more than 115 languages, and a graduate population of 114.

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