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Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, UAE Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence and Deputy Managing Director of the Dubai Future Foundation with Khalfan Juma Belhoul, CEO of Dubai Future Foundation Image Credit:

Dubai: Hosting the world’s biggest competition for robotics and artificial intelligence will have a lasting impact on the region, according to officials.

The First Global DXB Challenge will be held outside of the Americas for the first time at Dubai’s Festival Arena from October 24-27, and will involve 1,500 children aged 11-17 from 191 countries.

Organised by Dubai Future Foundation, this year’s theme will be finding smart solutions for preserving the ocean and protecting marine life.

Teams will each get a robotics kit and work with a mentor to overcome a challenge related to the theme of marine protection and the winners across 10 categories will get medals and the chance of a university scholarship at top universities around the world.

“The outcome is not the robot itself but the ability and environment these children go on to and what that leads to in life,” said Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, UAE Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence and Deputy Managing Director of the Dubai Future Foundation.

“Success stories will go on after the competition is done and this is a gift that keeps on giving. Previous editions of the competition have seen participants go on to start STEM schools for girls in Angola or become chief innovation officers in some of the biggest companies around the world.

“This is different to any other competition because every single participant has the chance to influence technology of the future. They are going to be the next Mark Zuckerberg or Elon Musk and we are very excited to welcome to collaborate here in the land of opportunity,” added Al Olama.

The Minister said that countries would form alliances within the competition to learn from each other and ensure no one was left behind.

“We don’t want teams to come and lose without gaining anything, we will set up a coalition so they learn from other countries, so it’s not just purely a competition about first place, it’s a competition where the effects will last forever and create a positive impact for humanity,” said Al Olama. “As a country the UAE is a nation that believes in bringing people from all over the world together to bring about the change that will lead to a prosperous future. The UAE has never been about just focusing on ourselves but on collaboration and cooperation to come up with solutions for something that will help all of us – and the oceans are something that connect all continents and countries.”

Khalfan Juma Belhoul, CEO of Dubai Future Foundation, said, “The vision of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, is to make the UAE a lab to the world and this can be the largest ever lab gathering globally hosting 191 countries to test new ideas. It cannot get any larger than this and a lot will be achieved beyond who has won, it can be the testing ground for future innovators to rub shoulders.”