NYU Abu Dhabi celebrated its third graduation ceremony for the Class of 2016 this May. 135 excited seniors from over 50 different countries awaited their hard-won diplomas. Some 1,300 guests were also in attendance for this historic event.
This year, the graduating seniors were treated to a keynote speech from His Excellency Yousef Al Otaiba (http://www.rand.org/blog/2016/06/a-new-middle-east-rhodes-scholars-not-radicals.html), the current United Arab Emirates (UAE) Ambassador to the United States. Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba took over the post for the UAE’s Ambassadorship in 2008. Some of the goals the Ambassador has were for in his professional life were reflected in the themes he urged students to embrace as core values in the globalizing world: increased cooperation, opportunity, and security between all peoples.
Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba encouraged the students to try to incorporate the following values into their lives: innovative thinking, tolerance, respect for others, hospitality, and hope. These values, the Ambassador said, will help students “write the next great chapter in the history of human endeavor.”
At this same event, Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba was awarded the NYU Abu Dhabi Global Leadership Award for his help promoting the university over the years. NYU Abu Dhabi has been an inspiration in the triumph of education and understanding in the United Arab Emirates region, and the Ambassador only hopes that NYU Abu Dhabi can continue to grow. Indeed, Ambassador Al Otaiba has been a firm supporter of building bridges between the USA and the UAE in any way he can, such as through trade, education, and philanthropy.
The students graduating from the NYU Abu Dhabi will undoubtedly take the Ambassador’s words into their post-NYU lives. Many of the students are going off to graduate work in diverse fields all across the globe and values of multiculturalism and tolerance they have learned through their four years at NYU Abu Dubai will transition into their graduate studies around the world.
The two distinguished guests who delivered the previous keynote addresses here include President Bill Clinton in 2014, and the UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown in 2015.
As for Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba’s own educational background, he got his bachelor’s degree from Cairo American College, and later went on to pursue his International Relations degree at Georgetown University.