NYU Abu Dhabi’s Ramadaniyyat explores time in history when Muslims, Christians, Jews forged a common cultural identity


Free-to-attend events under the theme of Al-Andalus look into unique interplay of cultural and creative ideas between the three religious groups

NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) has announced the line-up for the second edition of Ramadaniyyat, bringing together the university’s three public-facing institutions – The Institute, The Art Gallery, and The Arts Centre, who will jointly host a diverse series of public events for Ramadan.

Ramadaniyyat will run from 3-6 April, featuring a diverse series of public events under the theme ‘Al-Andalus’, harking back to a time in history when Muslims, Christians, and Jews peacefully coexisted, resulting in an unique interplay of cultural and creative ideas.

Suhoor will be served nightly after the events throughout the programme for the NYUAD community and the general public.

“We look forward to coming together and reconnecting with our community and the wider public at NYUAD again this year for the Holy Month of Ramadan; it is not only a time for spiritual reflection and connection but also an opportunity to appreciate arts and the power of expression,” said Nadia El Cheikh, Vice Provost for Cultural and Research Engagement at NYUAD.

“This year’s theme, Al-Andalus, is a term used by historians to refer to the period when Muslim sovereigns ruled over parts of the Iberian Peninsula. The theme aims to share the remarkable story of a unique time in history when Muslims, Christians, and Jews forged a common cultural identity that frequently transcended their religious differences and encapsulates stories of a time when these three groups managed to sustain relationships that enabled them to coexist, collaborate, and flourish.”

On Poetry and Music with Barween Habib, Mahdi Mansour, and Faraj Abyad

The programme will kick off with a talk in Arabic (with simultaneous translation to English) at the NYUAD Auditorium on 3 April, 9.30pm, around the interwoven relationship between poetry, philosophy, and music.

Beginning with Andalusian poetry and classical music, poet Mahdi Mansour and musician Faraj Abyad will discuss with poet, critic, and media expert Barween Habib and delve deeper into contemporary poetry and music, exploring the profound impact the Andalusian Maqamat have had on modern Arabic poetry.

The event is free to attend, but prior booking is required.


CinemaNa – Emirati short film programme

On 4 April, 9.30pm, The Arts Centre will host a special edition of its contemporary Arab Cinema series, CinemaNa, with four short films by Emirati filmmakers – Eman Al Sayed with Hamam Zakiya, Sarra’a Al Shehhi with Small Dream, Shereen Abu Ouf with the documentary drama Hayya, and Abdulrahman Al Madani with The Monster.

CinemaNa, a collaboration with NYUAD’s Film & New Media programme, is free to attend at The Blue Hall, but prior booking is required.


Andalusian Love Story by Faraj Abyad

On April 5, The Arts Centre will present a world premiere of Andalusian Love Story, composed by Faraj Abyad, from 9.30pm at The Red Theater at NYUAD.

Andalusian Love Story is a mix of contemporary and classical poetry blended with classical Egyptian and Syrian sounds, based on a series of love letters written between Ibn Zaydun and Wallada Bint Al Mustakfi. Entry fee is AED 150.


Workshop: Arabic Vocal & Music Composition with Faraj Abyad and Yarub Smarait

The music performance will be followed by an interactive workshop at the The Arts Centre on 6 April, from 7.30pm.

In this workshop, Abyad, along with violinist Yarub Smarait, will showcase how to set Arabic poetry to music using the Arabic Maqam and rhythm. The event is by invitation only.


Exploring intergenerational healing and medicinal practices

The Art Gallery will present a workshop on 6 April, 9.30pm, led by artist and curator Zuhoor Al Sayegh, who will explore natural healing processes passed down throughout generations, using plants and herbs often sold at Hakeem (Arabic for ‘wise’ and ‘healer’) spice shops that are ubiquitous in the UAE.

Combining oral history, shared by participants, with books on Andalusian plant medicine from the NYUAD library, the group will be invited to document, imagine, write, and research recipes that can be relevant and accessible to us today.

The free-to-attend workshop will be held at the Reading Room at The NYUAD Art Gallery. Prior booking is required.

Apart from the Ramadan programme, NYUAD is also hosting open mic sessions and poetry slam competitions at The Arts Centre.



3-6 April


NYUAD Art Gallery, Arts Centre, The Institute


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Image source NYUAD Arts Centre

Jobannie Tabada