As part of the summer colloquium “Cosmopolitan Ideas for Global Citizens,” each incoming NYU Abu Dhabi first-year student was invited to submit a photograph, taken in his or her local community, that captures something crucial about the nature of cosmopolitanism. The students were asked to title their photographs, but not to indicate the locations in which they were shot. Some students concentrated on the root of the word cosmopolitan, cosmos. Their photographs of wide expanses of the sky allude to an orderly world system. Other photographs depict the wide array of choices in the modern world, from commercial goods to friendships that cross boundaries. Cosmopolitanism is often associated with cities with diverse populations. ┬áSeveral photographs focus on the urban fabric of such cosmopolitan places, while others focus on the cultures that gives cities distinctive identities despite the effects of globalization.

Some of the results are presented below. Together they offer a compelling portrait of the richness of contemporary thinking about cosmopolitanism, while evoking the rich variety of cultures that have come together at NYU Abu Dhabi.

To mark NYU Abu Dhabi’s inaugural January term classes, twenty-seven of the photographs will be on view at 19 Washington Square North (on the NYU New York campus) in an exhibition curated by Kerry Barrett.

[Click on a thumbnail below to enter a slide show at that picture.]

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