MBZUAI class of 2024 ‘to play a primary role in shaping history’

A total of 101 graduates took part in Abu Dhabi's AI university commencement

Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, attended the Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence’s 2024 commencement ceremony, celebrating 101 graduates. Photo: Abu Dhabi Media Office
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As AI developments, investments and business deals begin to reach a crescendo around the world, the 2024 class of Abu Dhabi's Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence, the world’s first dedicated artificial intelligence university, graduated.

A total of 101 graduates representing 22 nationalities received diplomas and walked across the stage at the Abu Dhabi Energy Centre on Thursday.

According to MBZUAI, Emiratis make up 24 per cent of those graduating, and the 2024 cohort is the university’s most diverse since its founding.

MBZUAI was first announced in 2019 as artificial intelligence developments began to generate excitement after years of research in various technology and academic circles. The university officially opened in 2020.

Dr Sultan Al Jaber, UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, and chairman of the board of trustees of the Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence, addressed graduates.

“You don’t just have a front-row seat to history, you will play a primary role in shaping it,” he said.

Dr Al Jaber expanded on what he felt was the graduates’ important decision to pursue studies in the burgeoning field of AI.

“You’ve chosen one of the most exciting disciplines in science, and one of the greatest catalysts in human development,” he said, adding that he felt AI was changing the pace of change itself, and that the graduates were among the lucky few to be part of a significant paradigm shift in human progress.

“By pursuing a career in AI, you’ve already found your passion, but passion is not enough for you to achieve your great potential … your growing expertise in AI will hold the keys to unlocking the most difficult challenges in health care and climate change,” Dr Al Jaber explained.

MBZUAI’s president, Prof Eric Xing, also addressed the graduating class, urging them to help clear up potential misconceptions some might have about AI as concerns abound with regards to the unprecedented power surrounding the technology.

“You have to bring AI to people, and bring people to AI, help them understand each other better,” he said, explaining that he believed AI would be more consequential than the development of microscopes, electricity and the internet.

“Embrace change, don’t be afraid of disruption … AI will make human knowledge will be accessible to anyone,” he added.

Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, also attended the graduation ceremony, congratulating students as they walked across the stage to receive their diplomas.

Numan Saeed, MBUZAI’s 2024 valedictorian, also addressed the packed auditorium, explaining how his own life experiences impacted his pursuit of AI studies.

“In my research I sought to apply AI in cancer treatment and I’ve witnessed the difference it can potentially make,” he said, explaining that family members suffering from cancer, continue to inspire his research.

“Leverage AI for the greater good,” he encouraged his fellow graduates. “The world awaits your brilliance,” he said, prompting a lengthy applause response from the audience.

This graduating class also include’s MBZUAI’s first PhD graduates.

Updated: June 07, 2024, 9:57 AM