NYU's agreement with the Emirate of Abu Dhabi to create NYU Abu Dhabi is the outcome of a shared understanding of the essential roles and challenges of higher education in the 21st century: a common belief in the value of a liberal arts education, concurrence on the benefits a research university brings to the society that sustains it, a conviction that interaction with new ideas and people who are different is valuable and necessary, and a commitment to educating students who are true citizens of the world. As the first comprehensive liberal arts and science campus in the Middle East to be operated abroad by a major American research university, NYU Abu Dhabi has been built on the following principles:
- NYU Abu Dhabi is a research university with a fully integrated liberal arts and science college. It draws students from around the world, and prepares them for the challenges and opportunities of our interconnected world.
- NYU Abu Dhabi equips students for leadership in all arenas of human endeavor. It fosters curiosity, creativity, and critical reflection. At NYUAD, students extend themselves and the frontiers of knowledge.
- The residential life of students is central to the University's academic mission. Learning takes place across the campus, not only in classrooms, but also in residential houses, through participation in clubs and sports, during informal campus gatherings, and being engaged with the wider community.
- NYU Abu Dhabi stimulates advanced research. The NYUAD Institute is a major research center. Research is integral to the undergraduate experience at NYU Abu Dhabi, and it will also drive the University's graduate programs.
- NYU Abu Dhabi, NYU New York, and NYU Shanghai form the backbone of a fully connected global network. As one of the three major hubs in the global network, NYUAD creates a unique capacity for faculty and students to access the assets of the entire university system.
- NYU Abu Dhabi advances the city of Abu Dhabi as a magnetic center of ideas and human talent.