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Fifth Edition of TEDx NYU Abu Dhabi Sheds Light on Ideas Hidden In Plain Sight

As part of the TEDx series, a program that brings the spirit of TED’s mission of ideas worth spreading to local communities around the globe, NYU Abu Dhabi’s (NYUAD) student organized TEDxNYUAD returned for its fifth edition on Saturday, April 13 under the theme In Plain Sight

Taking place in The Red Theater at the Arts Center at NYUAD this year’s event featured a diverse line-up of ten speakers who lead a series of talks about concepts hidden in plain sight.

Centered on the idea of advancing social thought and bringing about positive social impact, the fifth edition of TEDxNYUAD offered a range of topics pertaining to social science, psychology, art, engineering, and culture, among others.

The event featured a diverse line-up of ten speakers including NYU Abu Dhabi students, staff, and faculty. Some of the featured talks include:

Rock and Roll is Dead: Who Committed the Crime and Will There Be Justice?

NYUAD Graduate Academic and Engagement Manager Karl Kalinkewicz will explore how music consumption has changed throughout the last few decades, and how it affects society through the lens of his own personal journey as a 34-year-old living right in the middle of its evolution.

The Sports Majilis: Why it’s Essential to our Collective Future

Exploring the diversity in today’s locker rooms, NYUAD Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Athletics Peter Dicce will shed light on sport activism, and the sport locker room’s potential to be a powerful platform for social change.

Where Are the Female Arab Athletes?

Continuing the conversation on sport is NYUAD Class of 2021 Maitha AlSuwaidi, a student of Political Science who will address issues that impact women from the Gulf seeking to pursue sport at a professional level.

How Buildings Perform – The Invisible Actor

NYUAD Class of 2019 student Jagan Subramanian will draw on the related fields of neuroscience, phenomenology, and semiotics to see how buildings have historically contributed to the formation of social codes and how, if used correctly, it could serve as a way to undo social hierarchies and create more inclusive communities in the 21st century.

The Slippery Slope of Everyday Horror

NYUAD Director of Spiritual Life and InterCultural Education Alta Mauro will question what would happen if more individuals were willing to see, hear, and acknowledge the inhumane ways that some of us are disregarded, misrepresented, or manipulated, and whether it will ease the thought of neglect, abuse, and death.

What Climate Activists are Doing Wrong

With a strong passion for the environment, NYUAD Class of 2019 student Rastraraj Bhandari will highlight the unseen impact of accelerated glacial melting in the Himalayas and the importance of taking immediate action.

Conscious Guide to Gentrification

NYUAD Class of 2019 student Abraham Hdru will focus on the need to equip people with a better understanding of the nuances of gentrification, how it is caused by individuals embedded in a larger socio-economic condition, and ways to mitigate these effects in the future.

We Need to Start Telling Americans They are Ignorant

NYUAD Class of 2019 student Emma Tocci will reflect on her own experience navigating her feelings of ignorance when she began her undergraduate studies in Abu Dhabi and why it should matter to non-Americans.

When Being Strong is the Easy Way Out

NYUAD Community Outreach Coordinator Tala Hammash will discuss the misconception around strength and how and why it is courage, and not strength, that is the main ingredient of growth.

I Am A Child Hijabi – My Decision or My Parents?

High school student Imen Masmoudi will draw on her personal experiences to highlight the importance and effect of deciding to be veiled at a young age.

NYU Abu Dhabi Considers the City of the Future

On February 11, the NYU Abu Dhabi Institute hosted an event, Abu Dhabi and the City of the Future. Photographer Andrew Moore presented his images of Abu Dhabi in the context of other cities around the world that he has shot and done projects on. In particular, Moore’s talk focused on how the principles of intelligent urban design apply to these different cities and the lessons learned from both good and bad examples of architecture and city planning.


NYU Abu Dhabi Exhibits In-House Visual Design Work by Students and Faculty

Design Works offers an overview of the body of in-house visual design work by students and faculty at NYU Abu Dhabi from 2012 to present.

Visual design practice entered the curriculum of the university in January 2012 with the offering of an elective course named Designing Abu Dhabi.

The course resulted in a cohort of students who embraced the beauty and complexity of visual communication theories and practices. Following the conclusion of the course, they formed the Design Collective, an autonomous group with the objective of implementing good design practice within NYUAD. Their efforts played a major role in setting our visual identity in the city.

In-house design supported the institution’s needs in outstanding ways to help the University to define its mission and vision. The creation of an English/Arabic logotype designed by one of the students stands out as a prime example.

“Some of their work is gone for good but many of their best designs are here. And they are here to stay: every time we welcome new students at Marhaba Week, every time we cheer for our Athletics teams, every time our seniors get to hold the silver Torch on Commencement day, the relevance of in-house visual design is apparent. Important conversations on branding, wayfinding and accessibility stemmed out of the discourse around design, and as we continue to grow, these topics will become more and more impactful. It is our hope that this show will inspire new students to continue the work of their predecessors for many years to come.”

– Design professor Goffredo Puccetti
This post comes to us from NYU Abu Dhabi and can be found here.

Engineers for Social Impact at NYU Abu Dhabi

“Being there with the people who will live in the house gave us a sense that our work is really important.”

NYU Abu Dhabi is preparing students to thrive in our ever-changing world and give back to local communities through Global Education and the Engineers for Social Impact program.

Students travel to countries such as Sri Lanka, Thailand, and India to help design and build infrastructure that improves quality of life for local populations.

In a recent video, students help build a sustainable home for a family in Jordan, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity. You can view the complete video via the NYU Abu Dhabi website here.

Engineers for Social Impact (EfSI) supports and complements the mission of the Engineering Division and the broad goals of NYU Abu Dhabi through courses that emphasize experiential learning and projects that focus on developing globally-relevant, locally-sustainable designs that meet challenges and deliver on opportunities that enable individuals across global communities to more effectively realize their aspirations and ambitions.

By engaging with ethics in the classroom and ethnographic fieldwork off-campus, engineering students expand their comfort zones to work from vantage points of broader mindfulness of social, cultural, and economic aspects that are inextricably connected to technology-driven solutions in today’s hyper-connected world.  Students may optionally enroll in a second, project-driven course focusing on the process of co-designing meaningful innovations, projects, and products  with members of a selected community.  Throughout all fieldwork, the goal is to connect with the processes, people, sights, sounds, experiences, and stories that are only accessible outside the classroom and bring new understanding to bear on the ways to address a wide range of issues and challenges in the courses and beyond.

The EfSI program is a collaboration between the Engineering Division and the Office of Global Education to deliver unparalleled international engagement with communities through partnerships with the Solar Energy Foundation in Ethiopia, URBZ/Urbanology in Dharavi, Mumbai, and Habitat for Humanity in Jordan, India, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.


NYU Abu Dhabi Hosts the Story Behind the UAE’s First Multi-Organ Transplant Program

Today, families in the UAE wait in hope that a life-saving organ may be donated to a critically ill loved on. In 2018, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi created history in the UAE by developing a comprehensive multi-organ transplant program which is already transforming patients’ lives. This talk explores how the transplants for four major organs – kidney, heart, liver and lung – are giving hope to families in the UAE and around the region by delivering a world-class level of care here in the nation’s capital, meeting the needs of the community while contributing to the sustainability of the country’s healthcare sector. On 24 October, 2018, NYU Abu Dhabi hosted an event on this topic.


Rakesh Suri, MD; Chief Executive Officer, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi
Bashir Sankari, MD; Chief of the Surgical Subspecialties Institute, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi

Hosted by
NYU Abu Dhabi Institute


NYU Abu Dhabi Launches Fikret Science Club to Initiate Conversations on Science in Abu Dhabi

NYU Abu Dhabi’s Center for Genomics and Systems Biology (CGSB) is organizing an ongoing series of informal public gatherings through its newly launched Fikret Science Club. Driven towards promoting an understanding of the scientific world to the Abu Dhabi community, the Club will explore various topics under certain themes such as: conservation of cultural heritage through science, biological rhythms and mood, climate change and environmental adaptation, and science in society, among others.

Launching on September 25, 2018, at 7pm, these two-hour long discussions will take place every month at LARTE Restaurant in Manarat Al Saadiyat, Abu Dhabi. Members of the CGSB will lead the monthly gatherings, including the Associate Director of CGSB Operations at NYU Abu Dhabi Enas Qudeimat, and Manager of Administration for the Provost at NYU Abu Dhabi Tiffany Kilfeather. The first talk is entitled A hydrogen atom’s view of ancient mummies and art forgers, and will be led by Assistant Professor of Chemistry at NYU Abu Dhabi Maria Baias.

“The purpose of this Club is to generate interest in science among our students and the wider Abu Dhabi public, as well as introduce participants with an appetite for science to a variety of scientific disciplines to further enhance their knowledge. We’re looking forward to launching this Club, and we hope that the wider Abu Dhabi public will benefit from these interactive sessions and realize the significant role science plays in our everyday lives.”

Associate Director of CGSB Operations at NYU Abu Dhabi Enas Qudeimat

Fikret Science Club is open to both established science enthusiasts and those curious to learn more.


This post comes to us from NYU Abu Dhabi. The original can be found here.

Apps to Locate Missing Refugees and Tackle Counterfeit Medicine Win NYU Abu Dhabi’s International Hackathon

Dawa, an application designed to tackle counterfeit medicine in the region using blockchain based pharmaceutical distribution, and Boosala, a refugee location application, have won top honors at NYU Abu Dhabi’s 8th Annual International Hackathon for Social Good in the Arab World.

Dawa was designed by a team of eight students who were mentored by Cloud Developer Advocate IBM Saif ur Rehman, Technology Solution Professional at Microsoft Saeed Motamed, and IBM Cloud Developer Naiyarah Hussain. The students represented universities from across the region, including NYU Abu Dhabi, University of Wollongong in Dubai, BITS Pilani Dubai Campus, and M’sila University, Al Akhawayn University and Misr International University from Algeria, Morocco, and Egypt respectively.

The team behind Boosala, designed to locate missing family members and contacts among refugees, comprised seven team members led by mentors including Cloud Developer Advocate at IBMNikita Mathur, Executive Director at OpenCurriculum Varun Arora, and CEO at Kandw Technologies International Khalid Machchate. Universities represented through Boosala included NYU Abu Dhabi and Khalifa University, as well as other universities in the region such as ESPRIT, University of Science and Technology Houari, and American universities NYU and Wellesley College.

The event was organized by Founder and Chair of the NYUAD Hackathon, Clinical Professor of Computer Science at NYU New York and Affiliated Faculty at NYUAD Sana Odeh. Commenting on the occasion, Odeh said, “This Hackathon has offered yet another round of outstanding ideas and solutions that reflect the spirit of innovation shown across all the teams that participated, which made the final decisions for the judges especially challenging this year. Each team has grown remarkably over the course of these intensive three days, learning, and gaining expert knowledge.”

“NYUAD Hackathon is designed to encourage and secure an opportunity for cross-collaboration and entrepreneurship across computer science, bringing together people from all over the world with different ideas in order to expand the scope of understanding amongst participating students. This experience allows them to grow and learn through exposure to new concepts that act as an incubator for remarkable feats of innovation,” she added.

The second prize went to Huwayeti, a blockchain-based layer on top of UNHCR refugee registration to manage trusted agents’ claims made about refugees. The team was mentored by CEO of Hussam Mohsineh and Software Engineer at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)/Improbable Keeley Erhardt. Four of the six members of this were from NYU Abu Dhabi, while the additional team members came from Yale University and the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne.

Third place was offered to the team responsible for devising a platform that assists refugees and asylum seekers in communicating with healthcare professionals using machine learning and natural language processing called MedLughati. Mentored by NYUAD alumna and current Rhodes Scholar pursuing a PHD at University of Oxford Farah Shamout and Software Engineer at Facebook UK Miguel Sanchez, the students behind MedLughati represented a wide range of institutions including University of Wollongong, BITS Pilani Dubai Campus, Stanford University, University of Oxford, University of Buenos Aires and Khalifa University in Egypt.

Aspiring hackers from across the globe came together at NYU Abu Dhabi from April 27 for the three-day event. Participants were divided into 10 teams and mentored by renowned international computer science professors, founders of successful startups, technology professionals, and venture capitalists.

The Audience Award for the occasion was given to Wadhafni, an SMS-based mobile app that links unemployed skilled individuals with the local labor market on a tasks-accomplishment basis. The team, comprised of students representing prestigious institutions such as the University of Edinburgh, NYU Shanghai, Middlesex University Dubai, ENSAM Casablanca and NYU Abu Dhabi, was mentored by Software Engineer at Think.iT Abir Chermiti, and Software Engineer at Google Fabricio Pontes Harsich.

For additional information on the 2018 Annual NYUAD International Hackathon for Social Good in the Arab World, visit

This post comes to us from NYU Abu Dhabi. You can read the original here.

Commencement across the world!

It is the time for celebrating graduating students across NYU’s global network. The All-University Commencement Exercises will take place on Wednesday, May 16 at Yankee Stadium in New York. 





NYU Abu Dhabi’s 5th Commencement ceremony will be held on Sunday, May 20 at its campus on Saadiyat Island.






NYU Shanghai’s second Commencement ceremony will take place on Wednesday, May 23 at the Shanghai Oriental Art Center.

NYU Abu Dhabi Professor Sophia Kalantzakos Discusses the Art of Conversation on Climate

The first humans began to walk the Earth only 300,000 years ago, yet we have impacted it in such a way that today we have entered a new era that scientists have aptly named the Anthropocene. In this epoch, humans are recognized as the main drivers of ecological change.

“If we accept that humanity is the strongest and most transformative force on Earth, we also must take responsibility for the repercussions of our actions,” said Global Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies and Public Policy Sophia Kalantzakos, who leads the Arts and Humanities Environmental Research Initiative (eARThumanities) at NYU Abu Dhabi.

It’s not that people don’t believe human activity affects climate. We understand it intellectually, Kalantzakos said, but additional data demonstrating this fact won’t necessarily encourage people to behave in a way that is more ecologically conscious. This is where the arts and humanities can add to the conversation.

“The arts and humanities have always created stories of the future that help us understand or process it better,” she said.

“We can’t do one thing and not another”

And though addressing climate change is an enormous challenge that will require transformations in policy at the global and local levels, it’s a challenge that should be addressed holistically.

“We tend to have checklists of things we need to do, like increase the use of renewable energy, or conserve water,” she said. “But we simply can’t do one thing and not another. The eARThumanities initiative is saying that there is a wider story out there and we must connect the dots.”

The eARThumanities showcases the contributions the arts and humanities bring to the global conversation about the environment, bringing in their own unique lens to the challenges of the Anthropocene, ranging from climate action theater, a studio art class that focuses on wood and trees in relation to the rise and fall of civilizations, and discourses on extinction.

“From this vantage point at this institution, we’re able to have a much more complete conversation,” she added. “It’s not American centric; it’s not Eurocentric. And it creates exceptional opportunities to understand why different perspectives matter.”


This post comes to us from NYU Abu Dhabi, the original can be found here.

Promoting Entrepreneurship at NYU Abu Dhabi – startAD and Etihad Airways Partner to Develop Entrepreneurship Ecosystem

A new strategic partnership will focus on growing entrepreneurship initiatives across the UAE. Etihad Airways and NYU Abu Dhabi-based innovation and entrepreneurship platform startAD have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to develop the entrepreneurship ecosystem in the UAE through the exchange of knowledge, expertise and training.

The agreement was signed by Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways Chief Executive Officer, and Ramesh Jagannathan, Managing Director of startAD and Vice Provost for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at NYU Abu Dhabi, in a ceremony held at the Etihad Headquarters.

Through the Venture Launchpad, startAD will provide Etihad Airways early access to high calibre startups in the key focus areas of the airline. The startAD Venture Launchpad program is able to identify early stage technology startups and help them to develop a scalable, repeatable and capital efficient business model that culminates in an investor day where finalists pitch their ventures to investors. Startups can apply to the program by visiting

Mr Jagannathan said: “As Abu Dhabi and the UAE embark on the momentous journey of transforming the region into a global entrepreneurial economic powerhouse, startAD is committed to help in building the national innovation capacity.  Through this partnership, Etihad and startAD will further strengthen the UAE innovation ecosystem and accelerate global innovation in aviation.”

As a result of this partnership, Etihad Airways will offer domain knowledge and expertise on matters of aviation, big data, logistics, and cargo transportation to startups enrolled with startAD, disrupting the legacy approach in aviation and related domains.  Experts from Etihad will mentor startup teams at the Venture Launchpad program, Beyond the Pitch program and startAD ADvance.

Mr Baumgartner said: “Etihad is committed to driving innovation. It is part of our DNA, our brand and our customer promise. We are also ultimately committed to foster innovation in partnership – creating an innovation ecosystem with Abu Dhabi and UAE entities.

“startAD is an ideal platform for us to plug into to get access to inspiration and capability, a platform that allows us to make sure projects are carried through to something that creates innovation and intellectual property as competitive advantage for the airline, for Abu Dhabi and for all stakeholders. It’s about acting as a catalyst for how Abu Dhabi Inc. should come together with its stakeholders and institutions to jointly create innovation that strongly supports the destination’s masterplan.”

The MoU is set to further develop the local entrepreneurship ecosystem by encouraging mutual access to training initiatives between the two organisations. startAD will provide access to entrepreneurship skills development to mentors and advisors from Etihad Airways.

Startups that align with the airline’s areas of focus will also be provided with the opportunity to connect with Etihad Airways’ comprehensive network of professionals, firms and partner institutions, while innovation and entrepreneurship initiatives by Etihad Airways will receive consultation on design and organisation from startup professionals at startAD, including the provision of hackathons, festivals, panel discussions, and conferences for entrepreneurship.


This post comes to us from NYU Abu Dhabi, the original can be found here.

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