The NYUAD campus Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) will mark the UAE’s Golden Jubilee with a series of virtual and in-person events to celebrate the country’s history, cultural heritage, values and achievements as the nation prepares for the next 50 years of transformation and advancement.

The celebration includes student-led events and activities, such as “Emirati Mandoos”, during which students will show a selection of Abayas throughout the week. Kicking off today, a historic conference organised in partnership with the Oxford Commission on Constitutions will bring together local and international senior government officials, academics and law experts, who will delve into the history and the future of the UAE’s constitution.

Zaki Nusseibeh, Cultural Advisor to the President and Chancellor of UAE University, will deliver the conference’s keynote address. Other notable speakers will include Ali Al Shaer Al Dhaheri, Director of the Judicial Inspection Division, John Sexton, President Emeritus of New York University and Butler Professor of Law; John Coughlin, Professor of Religious Studies and Law, NYUAD; Denis Galligan, Emeritus Professor of Law, Oxford University and Director, OCC Monika Magyar, Frauke Heard-Bey, UAE historian; and Yosef Edrey, Professor at Haifa University.

The Arts Center at NYUAD will continue the celebrations on November 24 with a line-up of poets, spoken word artists, musicians and storytellers for the seventh annual Hekayah | The Story, a special 50th Anniversary Jubilee virtual edition that will showcase the UAE’s cultural diversity.

Hekayah will begin with a conversation between NYUAD Vice Chancellor Mariët Westermann and Nusseibeh, who will give a presentation on the history of the UAE and his work at the side of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founding President of the UAE.

NYUAD Institute has released two online talks on their YouTube channel that focus on remarkable moments since the Emirates’ historic unification. Titled Five Days That Shaped the UAE, the first talk reflects on the period of celebration, turmoil, and anticipation over five days between November 28 and December 2, 1971.

The second talk, A Map of Many Cities: The Making of “Building Sharjah” explores the collaborative research efforts to produce Building Sharjah, the first book not only in the UAE but the region to document the history of the Gulf city.

In line with NYUAD’s commitment to promoting the UAE’s rich and complex art scene, and to mark the 50th anniversary of the country’s founding, The Art Gallery at NYUAD in partnership with The Middle East Institute (MEI) Arts and Culture Centre will present Between Sky and Earth: Contemporary Art from the UAE. The exhibition, curated by Munira Al-Sayegh, will be hosted at the Middle East Institute in Washington, DC, from December 3 to March 31, 2022.

NYUAD Vice Chancellor Mariët Westermann said: “We look forward to honoring the UAE’s historic Golden Jubilee with a programme of events that speak to the country’s remarkable rise and achievements in just half a century. We will celebrate its cultural diversity, its ingenuity and optimism, and its commitment to education and tolerance. These values resonate deeply with NYUAD as we reflect on our own recent 10th anniversary celebrations.”

NYUAD Athletics annual free community event, Ride for Zayed, themed Toward the next 50, returns on December 15 at Hudayriyat Island, Abu Dhabi, in-person for the first time since the pandemic began. The annual event started in 2018 to mark the birth of Sheikh Zayed 100 years ago.

The UAE 50th anniversary celebrations will also include a webpage dedicated to UAE-focused faculty research and a video compilation of Emirati student testimonials.

Paying tribute to the 50th anniversary, the NYUAD campus will light up in the UAE’s national colours from November 24 until December 2.