Thursday 29 September 2022 - 9:12:13 am

MBZUAI celebrates first class of Executive Programme graduates


ABU DHABI, 22nd March, 2022 (WAM) -- Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI), celebrated the graduation of 41 participants from its inaugural Executive Programme comprised of leaders from government and business throughout the UAE, at a ceremony held on Tuesday, 22nd March, 2022, at the University’s Masdar City campus.

The graduation was attended by Professor Eric Xing, President of MBZUAI; Professor Fakhri Karray, MBZUAI Provost; Mansoor Almansoori, Group COO, G42, and MBZUAI Board of Trustees Member.

The Executive Program’s first cohort included CEO’s, directors general, ambassadors, and executive vice presidents from various organisations in the UAE. To graduate, participants were required to complete 12 rigorous weeks of coursework, lectures, and collaborative project work.

"The Executive Programme demonstrates MBZUAI’s commitment to support the vision of our leadership by building a community of future innovators and leaders who can drive economic growth and transformation towards the realisation of key national priorities. Congratulations to all the graduates on this special milestone. The skills and knowledge they have gained will enable them to incorporate innovative AI solutions within their organisations, enhancing their performance and competitiveness. Integrating AI applications throughout organisations in the public and private sectors is an important step to achieving the vision of our nation’s leadership, as outlined in the UAE National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence 2031," said Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of MBZUAI.

The Executive Programme was launched in September 2021 to support UAE government and business sectors unlocking the potential of AI through practical applications to national challenges. Cohort one participants collaborated to develop a range of proposed solutions such as an agile AI platform that makes employee assessment more efficient and cost effective; a solution which centralises and incentivises progress toward the nation’s 2050 net-zero goals; and another which aims to detect cardiovascular disease early to both drive down mortality rates while also eliminating the kinds of costly, life-saving interventions that currently plague UAE nationals and UAE national medical facilities alike. Direct engagement with globally renowned instructors from UC Berkeley, Harvard, Carnegie Mellon, MIT, Oxford, and MBZUAI is also part of what makes the program a one-of-a-kind experience.

The programme featured visits to the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), the Emirates Post Group, Injazat/G42, the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) FinTech Hive, the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Centre, and the Al Ain Zoo and Aquarium. Site visits were geared to demonstrating how AI implementation has taken shape in each organisation. The live case studies were used to kickstart brainstorming about how participants could set about implementing AI in their home institutions.

"AI literacy is central to the success of many of the strategic initiatives the UAE government is undertaking. Knowing how to use AI responsibly and designing policies that support its ethical application are often the main barriers that prevent progress. We equip students with a set of practical tools and skills that can be used by them today and by their successors in the future." Xing said.

Dr. Mohamed Hamad Hareb Al Kuwaiti, Director, National Data Centre, commented, "Platforms like the MBZUAI Executive Programme are imperative to expanding the AI capabilities of individuals and entire organisations."

Dr. Jamal Al Kaabi, Under-Secretary, Department of Health, said, "AI was especially valuable in supporting the healthcare sector’s swift response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Other national health priorities such as the Emirati Genome Programme are also using AI to analyse massive amounts of data and generate new insights for our society. The MBZUAI Executive Programme is an extraordinary program that can help leaders maximise the value of their AI projects in healthcare or any other domain."

Dr. Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, Secretary-General, Environment Agency of Abu Dhabi (EAD), stated, "The MBZUAI Executive Programme presented a unique opportunity to explore real-world applications of AI while also sharing local experiences with global pioneers in the AI field. I feel even more confident now in using advanced technologies to address environmental challenges and realise our sustainability goals."

Laila Obaid Ojail Al Suwaidi, Acting Director-General of the Federal Authority for Government Human Resources, commented "One of our priorities has been to use emerging technologies to give teams more autonomy and flexibility in their HR operations. We’ve also seen how AI can enhance customer-facing services and deliver stronger self-service functions. By examining prominent use cases as part of the MBZUAI Executive Program, I feel more emboldened than ever to scale our use of AI in line with global best practices."

Ahmed Talib Ali Abdullah Al Shamsi, CEO, Emirates Foundation, said, "Externally, we’ve seen how insights from AI can be used to identify those who require the most assistance; find opportunities to develop national talent; and operate projects with greater intelligence and sustainable social impact. It has been a privilege to share these experiences as part of the MBZUAI Executive Programme and to discuss how we can use AI as a force for positive change in the world."

Thuraya Mohammad Al Hashimi, Executive Director of the Digital Data Enabling Sector, The Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Centre - The Ministry of Cabinet Affairs, said, "We believe that AI will play a vital role in developing government data usage strategies, to upgrade public services, and provide a brighter future for all. The MBZUAI Executive Programme is an excellent way for individuals to build their AI knowledge and better comprehend the wealth of applications that exist for AI."

WAM/Amjad Saleh