The world’s first graduate research university in artificial intelligence (AI), the Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI), has graduated its first cohort of students.
Some 52 students from 24 countries, including eight Emiratis, received post-graduate degrees in the key AI fields of computer vision and machine learning at a function attended by Sheikh Theyab bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
The event was also attended by Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, President-Designate of COP28 UAE and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of MBZUAI; Bruno Le Maire, French Minister for Economy and Finance; Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, UAE Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications; Sarah bint Yousif Al Amiri, UAE Minister of State for Public Education and Future Technology, and Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Emirates Schools Establishment, and Professor Eric Xing, MBZUAI President and University Professor; in addition to Members of the Board of Trustees and university faculty.
Abu Dhabi’s AI ecosystem
At the time of commencement, 63% of the inaugural class have confirmed employment, Ph.D. placements, paid internships or startups; and of those, 91% will remain in the UAE to continue contributing to Abu Dhabi’s AI ecosystem.
In his keynote speech, Dr Al Jaber spoke about the significance of MBZUAI and the potential of the new graduates to drive positive change.
He said: “When MBZUAI was founded by our leadership in 2019, its mission was clear: and that is to harness the power of artificial intelligence to advance global progress. MBZUAI was specifically designed as a catalyst for research across multiple sectors, including business, IT, energy, transportation, education and healthcare and sustainability – and you, the inaugural graduating class of MBZUAI will be the pioneers that help turn that research into reality.”
With climate change high on the agenda during the “Year of Sustainability” and the run-up to Cop28, Dr Al Jaber also highlighted the importance of AI skills in tackling this global challenge. “We need to hold back the global rise in temperatures to 1.5 degrees, without slowing economic growth. We need to make our planet wealthier and healthier, at the same time. And I have no doubt, that you, the first graduating class of MBZUAI hold some of the keys to the transformational breakthroughs we need,” he said.
Dr Al Jaber added: “COP 28 will be the first COP to officially include a youth champion, with the appointment of Shamma Al Mazrui, the UAE’s Minister of Youth. We did this because we want to empower the voices, the passion, the positivity and the desire for progress that young people bring to the table. These qualities, combined with your abilities, are a powerful combination, and I have no doubt that our collective future will be brighter as result.”
He concluded by telling the students: “Remember, progress is driven by curiosity, constructive dialogue, connectivity, hard work, patience – and impatience. So, get out there and be impatient, and impactful, for the betterment of humanity. And if you take one message from me today, it is this: Focus on the facts. Focus on the Science. Focus on Results. Focus on Delivery. Focus on making a positive contribution. You have the power, the knowledge and the skills to unite a divided world in delivering the solutions the world needs today.”
Le Maire said: “France and the UAE have a long and well-established diplomatic relationship, one built on strong strategic, cultural, business, and economic ties, that will become even closer over the coming decades as our two nations continue to find ways to leverage technology for the betterment of our countries. Artificial intelligence is a key technology on which France and the UAE will collaborate in the coming decade.”
Professor Xing said: “I congratulate our class of 2022 graduates for reaching this remarkable milestone. This could not be achieved without the vision and support from our leadership nor with the hard work and commitment from our faculty and staff. As a bedrock for UAE’s technological competitiveness in artificial intelligence, MBZUAI is committed to performing transformative research, developing cutting-edge technology, and training creative and hardworking talent. We aspire for our graduates to further advance the boundaries of knowledge and technology, and be empowered by the knowledge they gained from the University to serve society.”-- TradeArabia News Service