The Mohamed Bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence campus. Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: The first class at the Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI) will graduate at a dedicated ceremony and symposium on January 30, 2023, the university has announced.

The event will be attended by students, faculty, family and friends, and government and industry partners, and it will be live-streamed with the feed available via MBZUAI’s website.

The commencement will see 52 students from 24 countries, including eight Emiratis, receive master’s degrees in two specialist areas of artificial intelligence: computer vision and machine learning.

The ceremony will celebrate the importance of AI graduates and their growing role in developing solutions to improve society and solve some of the world’s biggest challenges.

The university was founded only three years ago to serve as a pillar of positive transformation in key areas such as health, education, and climate.

With demand for AI talent surging, the ceremony’s timing underscores the university’s importance as a growing hub of AI education, research and dialogue, as well as its ability to support the UAE’s national strategy and commitment to supporting global sustainability goals. The event is set to take place just one week after the conclusion of the World Future Energy Summit and Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, and ahead of the UAE hosting COP28 in November.

Sustainability forum

To highlight the increasing importance of the talented AI graduates, the ceremony will be followed by an AI for Sustainability Symposium featuring panelists Eric Xing, MBZUAI President and University Professor, Daniela Rus, Director of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) at MIT, and Phil Blunsom, Chief Scientist at Cohere. AI, Professor at Oxford, formerly the NLP lead at Google DeepMind.

Eric Xing

The panel, which will be moderated by Tim Baldwin, MBZUAI Acting Provost and Professor of Natural Language Processing, will focus on AI as a game changer with the capacity to measure, elucidate, and solve challenges of national and international significance.

Eight Emiratis

The MBZUAI Class of 2022 includes eight Emiratis - the top nationality represented – as well as students from India, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Nigeria, Russia, Canada, and Egypt. In keeping with the university’s commitment to support women in technology, 18 members of its inaugural class – representing more than 35 per cent of the total – are female.

“We are very excited and extremely proud to celebrate MBZUAI’s first class of graduating students in the forthcoming inaugural commencement. It is an important landmark for the years of dedication from our students, faculty, and staff,” said Professor Xing.

“As a young research university, we prepare our students with the latest and essential knowledge and skills for a career in artificial intelligence and computer science. We are confident that our graduate students are ready to tackle the most pressing challenges given to them by their future employers in the UAE and beyond, and bring the best service and positive disruption to their organisations and institutions. MBZUAI is committed to continue to advance cutting-edge research in AI in key areas such as healthcare, education and sustainability, and to become a bedrock of the UAE’s global competitiveness in AI innovation and adoption,” said Professor Xing.

Top universities

Most of the students hail from top universities and were selected from among thousands of applicants, ensuring only the highest caliber students attend MBZUAI. The Class of 2022 has thrived under the guidance of the university’s faculty, which consists of around 50 renowned AI experts.

Students also demonstrated their abilities throughout the duration of the program, with a string of winning placements in competitions, including the Cisco Sustainability Challenge, Siemens Women in AI Hackathon, the RTA Smart Mobility Hackathon in Expo Dubai, and Dubai Roads and Transport Authority’s (RTA) Transport Hackathon.

The commencement ceremony is a major milestone for MBZUAI, which was officially licensed in March 2020 by the Commission for Academic Accreditation (CAA) of the Ministry of Education in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Despite its recent founding, the institution is already ranked in the top 25 globally by CSRankings in its areas of specialization — artificial intelligence, computer vision, machine learning, and natural language processing.