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The year 2014 saw two milestones in the history of NYU Abu Dhabi: the graduation of its inaugural class in the spring and the move to the permanent campus on Saadiyat Island in the fall.

It seems a fitting time to reflect on the opportunities and challenges that institutions like NYU Abu Dhabi face as they seek to remake  the traditional liberal arts education to meet the needs of a global student population in the century ahead.

Electra Street therefore invites its readers to participate in an ongoing online “roundtable” about global liberal arts education in the twenty-first century. We seek to extend the discussion of this issue sparked by the “Room for Debate” forum that ran in the New York Times last January— and to develop our own conversation about the various issues, complications, pleasures, and possibilities inherent in  global liberal arts education.  Click here to read what Frank Bruni, a New York Times columnist, has to say about his liberal arts education. And here to read why Hoda I. Al Khamis-Kanoo , the founder of the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation and the Abu Dhabi Festival, believes that we should transform “STEM” into “STEAM” by adding “Arts” to “Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.”

We therefore invite brief commentaries of between 400 and 1000 words about any aspect of the project of global liberal arts education. Suggested topics include (but are not limited to) rethinking programs of study; the most advantageous structures for classes; the incorporation of “practical” or “experiential” learning; study-away programs; digital humanities; language instruction; core curricula and/or college-wide requirements; student research; and the pros and cons of interdisciplinarity or multidisciplinarity. Do you think “global liberal arts” is important in the twenty-first century or do you think that this century needs some other type of educational structure(s) in place to facilitate the needs of the new century?

These commentaries will be run on a regular basis in Electra Street, with an eye towards perhaps dedicating a future print edition of the journal to this discussion. Submissions will be accepted throughout the year, and potential contributors are welcome to contact us with queries at electra.nyuad [at] gmail.com. We are also willing to consider longer pieces of up to 3,000 words for the print edition of the journal. Please send us a query if you are interested in that format.  Whether you are a member of the NYUAD community or just an interested reader, please consider joining our conversation.  We look forward to hearing from you.

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