ABU DHABI, 20th May, 2018 (WAM) — New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) celebrated its fifth graduation ceremony today honoring the many accomplishments, academic passion, and inspirational ambition of the Class of 2018. Degrees were conferred to 253 students from 71 countries at the ceremony that took place on the University’s campus on Saadiyat Island.
In the presence of His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation; Sheikh Sultan bin Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan; and Zayed bin Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan; Chair of the NYU Board of Trustees William R. Berkley, NYU President Andrew Hamilton, and NYU Abu Dhabi Vice Chancellor Al Bloom officiated at the Commencement ceremony. The event was attended by approximately 1,300 guests, and was live streamed to audiences around the globe.
Former US Secretary of State John Kerry offered the keynote address to the graduating class. John Kerry said: “Every problem we face is created by human choices. And to the best of my knowledge, those problems can also be solved by human choices. Everyone needs to understand the awesome power that each of you really has at your disposal as you graduate: the power to choose.”
“You should be remarkably proud… You’ve created a… stunning institution that has an ability to produce the leaders of the future. And I can’t think of a time in the world’s history when leadership has been more wanted and needed… Congratulations to all of you in the Class of 2018. Now, get out and get the job done!”
Dr. Anwar bin Mohammed Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, also delivered remarks, saying: “In this year when we are celebrating the centenary of Sheikh Zayed, the founder of the UAE, NYUAD serves as a powerful illustration of how far and how fast we have traveled as a country.”
“Both the UAE and NYUAD have been fortunate to have visionary leadership. But that would not have counted for much if people were not willing to put in the long hours required to turn those visions into reality. So always remember that what distinguishes true leaders from others is not simply that they have big ideas, but that they have the resilience and determination to see them through,” Dr. Gargash continued.
During their four years, the Class of 2018 has excelled in both academic and extracurricular pursuits, earning top honors, including Rhodes Scholarships and Fulbright Awards. It has participated in student clubs, athletic groups, and built ties with the Abu Dhabi community. Graduates have interned at some of the world’s most respected organizations, including CNN, Deloitte, Emaar, Etihad, Google, Hill & Knowlton, IBM, Louvre Abu Dhabi, the Ministry of Climate Change in Pakistan, New York City Department of Design and Construction, and various Permanent Missions to the UN including Costa Rica, Hungary, Indonesia, Jordan, and the UAE.
NYU President Hamilton said: “I look at the NYU Abu Dhabi community, and despite the tumult in the world, I feel hopeful. You are proof that a group of people from over 110 countries can come together with shared purpose and make a positive, enduring impact on the world.”
NYU Abu Dhabi Vice Chancellor Bloom said: “Class of 2018, as you go forward from this celebration, I ask you: first to champion in whatever ways you can your alma mater’s continuing resolve and ability to bring education of the finest quality to this nation and the world; second, to champion however you can, NYUAD’s continuing commitment to cultivate discerning, prepared, and optimistic agents of a cooperative world; and third, to work however you can to extend NYUAD’s distinctive model of education more broadly to higher education, and to that world.”
For more than half of the Class of 2018, their next step will be to start new jobs and begin applying all they’ve learned in their time at NYU Abu Dhabi. Many of them have chosen to remain in the United Arab Emirates, at organisations including The National and PricewaterhouseCoopers, while others will travel across the globe to pursue opportunities in creative industries, at educational fellowships, technology firms, innovative startups, private enterprise, and social research firms. And some are starting careers abroad at companies such as Goldman Sachs, Unilever, SpaceX, and Amazon.
Others will go onto further study, and have already been accepted to graduate programs in disciplines spanning transportation and engineering, architecture and urban development, international security, law, economics, social and international policy, and development, healthcare, writing, and the sciences. They are studying for degrees at the world’s leading institutions including Harvard, The Juilliard School, Cambridge, Paris School of Economics, Oxford, Cornell, Stanford, Georgetown, and Columbia.
Class of 2018 student speaker Abda Kazemi said: “I can now confidently leave and dare to say that I still wish to change the world. But that clichéd phrase just means, that as a collective we can each make a positive contribution. Leaving the world a better place than when we encountered it. Whether that be a small gesture of thanks to a friend, a member of faculty, staff, or making global public policy. Each of us can do one kind thing a day that will bring light into someone else’s life… Now I want you to ask yourself, if you don’t pursue your goals and dreams, then who will? NYU Abu Dhabi Class of 2018, be dreamers.”
Emirati student and 2018 Rhodes Scholar Maitha Salem Al Memari said: “To the UAE, my home country, a country small in size but immense in heart. On behalf of the Class of 2018, I want to thank the UAE and its visionary leadership for investing in us and trusting us with the responsibility to take what we have learned to change the world for the better.”
This year’s ceremony marks the graduation of the second cohort of Global PhD Fellowship students from NYU Abu Dhabi. Muhammad Yasin, Electrical and Computer Engineering; Charalambos Konstantinou, Electrical and Computer Engineering; Xi Wei, Biomedical Engineering; and Nektarios Tsoutsos, Computer Science and Engineering. All four graduated with an NYU Tandon School of Engineering PhD degree after completing the Global PhD Fellowship in Engineering, a collaboration with the NYU Tandon School of Engineering and the Division of Engineering at NYU Abu Dhabi.
The Class of 2018 is NYU Abu Dhabi’s fifth graduating class since its inaugural commencement in 2014.