ABU DHABI: The Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI) held the second and third graduation ceremonies of the Executive Director Program (MEP) last Thursday at the university campus in Masdar City, Abu Dhabi.
MBZUAI President Prof. Eric Cheng and the university leadership team attended the ceremony.
The MEP is a 12-week “intensive experience designed to support the need for AI-savvy leaders in government, industry, academia and beyond,” the university said. Led by “some of the top innovators in AI, the project provides a practical foundation for AI and its implications for business and policymaking”.
At the graduation ceremony, the team presented their winning AI sustainable development solution to the program’s second and third cohorts of students.
83 chief executive officers, director generals and executive directors graduated this year. Graduates spend 12 weeks with globally renowned lecturers from UC Berkeley, Harvard, Carnegie Mellon, MIT, Oxford and MBZUAI to learn about the rapidly evolving field of AI and develop their Practical solutions that are now being implemented in their organizations.
There are also two sponsored seats among graduates for NGO participants to ensure awareness and development of AI in the philanthropic and not-for-profit sectors.
The program culminates in a set of capstone projects in which participants apply their knowledge to make an impact in key areas such as health, safety, logistics, environment, education, finance and energy.
Graduates developed 14 collaborative projects focusing on real-world national and global challenges. For example, with the UAE designating 2023 as the Year of Sustainable Development, the program addresses climate change-related challenges by equipping participants with the necessary skills and knowledge to develop AI-enabled solutions ahead of COP28 in the UAE.
meet the graduates
Gulf News interviewed two graduate executives who completed the programme. Saeed Al Neyadi, General Manager of the Monitoring and Control Centre, said: “We thank the Mohamed bin Zayed University for Artificial Intelligence for taking the initiative to organize an AI program for executives. Valuable and important information.”
He added: “We talked about the history of artificial intelligence and the importance of this kind of programming to develop technical templates and domains to get the best results, to benefit from the output of artificial intelligence in all areas of real life, and to make people’s life is easier.
“We also produced important projects, which were appreciated by the jury and faculty.”
He added: “The cadres and teams who guide the teaching are of high quality and able to deliver the message. The executive directors involved in the program are also highly aware of the importance of the program and have benefited a lot from it.
“Artificial intelligence enters all areas of our lives today, including education, health, industry, economy and entertainment.”
Dr Ghuwaya Al Neyadi, Senior Vice-President, Group Medical Services, ADNOC, told Gulf News: “The program I joined is a good program to help prepare and guide the executive teams of all entities, be they government departments, non-government entities, private companies or other organizations.”
“The program helps us understand what AI is, the basics of AI, the applications, and where and how we can leverage AI applications in our day-to-day operations,” she added.
Dr Al Neyadi said: “Artificial intelligence has now entered our daily lives. Our national and government strategy is to adapt and benefit from these new technologies to enhance job development, operations and processes in general jobs. I strongly encourage my work in the UAE Colleagues from all over the world have benefited from joining the project.”
Artificial intelligence advances in the country
Professor Timothy Baldwin, Head of Natural Language Processing at MBZUAI, Acting Provost and Associate Provost for Academic Affairs, told Gulf News after the MEP graduation ceremony: “This graduation is another step towards realizing the UAE’s ambitions in artificial intelligence. One step further, its understanding AI literacy and fluency is critical for decision makers now and in the future.”
He added: “Brilliant people and innovative solutions are needed to realize the promise of artificial intelligence. MBZUAI was established to advance the country’s extraordinary AI ambitions in terms of research and industry development. Against the backdrop of AI talent shortage Now, the University is building a world-class pipeline of AI experts to support this mission.”
“Our graduates are creators and changemakers – in healthcare in a time of global pandemic, in technology as a herald of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and in government to deliver on national priorities,” said Professor Baldwin.
Addressing MEP graduates, he said: “We hope that your time with global AI icons and AI industry leaders will prepare you well to advocate for AI-driven disruption in your organizations and industry sectors. Today, you will join A strong community of AI advocates in the UAE.”