by Patrick Appel
NYU is opening a campus in Abu Dhabi. Questions remain:
Is the export of a high-minded, elite liberal arts institution an act of “cultural imperialism”, or is it a rebuke to the pervasive belief in a clash of civilisations? How will NYU Abu Dhabi, an institution ostensibly dedicated to egalitarianism, treat the tens of thousands of migrant workers who will build and staff its campus? Can academic freedom survive in an Islamic state that is still formulating its own compromise between tradition and accelerating modernity? By the same token, will the school’s western students and professors show a willingness to compromise with a deeply religious and fairly paternalistic society?