John E. Sexton, president of New York University, will become NYU’s first faculty member to teach in Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates, where the university is developing an ambitious branch campus.

Every other week starting this fall, Mr. Sexton will take a 14-hour flight from New York to Abu Dhabi to teach a course on religion and government to 17 Emirati undergraduates who have been selected to participate in the NYU Abu Dhabi Institute. Mr. Sexton, a lawyer with a Ph.D. in comparative American religion, has taught NYU undergraduates during every semester but one since he became president, in 2001.

The NYU Abu Dhabi Institute is designed to function as an academic and intellectual precursor to the branch campus, which will open in the fall of 2010.

The 17 undergraduates are now studying in the Emirates’ three federal universities: the Higher Colleges of Technology, the United Arab Emirates University, and Zayed University. In addition to attending Mr. Sexton’s course, they will participate in English-language training and enrichment programs, will have the chance to visit the United States, and will be invited to attend programs, lectures, and conferences at the institute. —Andrew Mills


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