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President Bloom Will Lead NYU Abu Dhabi

By Jeffrey Lott

In summer 2009, Swarthmore President Alfred H. Bloom will assume full responsibility as vice chancellor of New York University (NYU) Abu Dhabi for creating a highly selective liberal arts college, distinctive graduate programs, and a world center for advanced research and scholarship in the Persian Gulf state.

According to university officials, the school’s programs will “form the backbone of a unique Global Network University.” The Abu Dhabi campus will welcome its first undergraduate students in fall 2010 at a temporary location in Abu Dhabi City. A permanent campus will be built by 2012.

NYU President John Sexton said: “If one were listing the ideal liberal arts college, one would think immediately of Swarthmore, rightly regarded as one of the top colleges in the United States. Much of Swarthmore’s recent success flows from the leadership of its president, Al Bloom.”

While completing his term as president, Bloom will consult on the NYU Abu Dhabi project, working with a team led by Mariet Westermann, NYU’s vice chancellor for regional campus development. According to Westermann, “NYU Abu Dhabi can know no greater good fortune than having Al Bloom as its first CEO.” She called Bloom “an exceptional educator, administrator, and leader—and a true internationalist.”

Bloom said he was “drawn to this project by what makes it so extraordinary: the opportunity to develop a world-class center of learning and intellectual advance from the ground up and to create an active connection with the Washington Square campus, thereby providing the foundation for a new concept of global university.”

He cited the importance of “advancing the role of education in promoting cooperative pursuit of knowledge, global understanding, and ultimately a world that recognizes and builds on human common ground.”

In a Sept. 29 e-mail to the Swarthmore community, Bloom wrote: “The project enjoys the full support in vision and resources of the Abu Dhabi government. We will recruit exceptional students and faculty from around the globe, and the Abu Dhabi campus will be the first—alongside NYU New York—of several campuses worldwide to be linked into a single global university. My 30 years at Swarthmore, thinking and working with you, provide a remarkable foundation for this endeavor. I thank you for that and look forward to completing a wonderful final year together.”

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