Artificial Intelligence: Abu Dhabi’s MBZUAI, The World’s First AI University, Welcomes Inaugural Students

January 13, 2021 | Artificial Intelligence, News

The inaugural cohort comprised students from 29 countries.

The Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI), the world’s first graduate-level, research-based artificial intelligence university in Abu Dhabi, opened its doors to its first batch of students.

Studies will begin this week.

Welcome event

MBZUAI selected its first batch of 78 students from thousands of applications received from citizens of over 100 countries.

The selected cohort was drawn from 29 countries, including the UAE, Canada, China, Egypt, India, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, United States, and others. It includes 3 Ph.D. students and 65 MSc students.

H.E. Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and Chairman of the MBZUAI Board of Trustees, delivered a welcome speech.

“The first MBZUAI cohort represents a milestone in delivering on our promise to establish a center for AI development and research, at a critical time as the world looks to technology to help power the post-COVID-19 recovery,” said H.E. Dr. Al Jaber. “With global expertise and a truly international student body hailing from 29 countries, the University will empower the UAE to become a leader in the field of AI, in alignment with the wise vision of the country’s leadership.”

The University offers Masters and Ph.D. programs in a variety of areas of AI specialization across Machine Learning, Computer Vision, and Natural Language Processing.


The MBZUAI campus provides a new model for sustainable living and working. Covering a wide range of purpose-built facilities, it includes student accommodation, laboratories, a knowledge center, an auditorium, a multipurpose hall, gym, canteen, cafes, and retail outlets.

The university is also equipped with smart classrooms and research laboratories, an AI-specialised knowledge center, and recreational facilities.

All programs are taught by a distinguished faculty of subject experts from around the world.

The Board of Trustees comprises Professor Sir Michael Brady, professor of Oncological Imaging at the University of Oxford, UK; Professor Anil K. Jain, a University Distinguished Professor at Michigan State University, USA; Dr. Kai-Fu Lee, a technology executive and venture capitalist based in Beijing, China; Professor Daniela Rus, Director of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), USA, and Peng Xiao, CEO of Group 42.

UAE’s vision

In 2017 the UAE government launched UAE 2031, a national AI strategy. It will transform eight of the country’s sectors, including space, renewable energy, water, and education.

The UAE also appointed the world’s first minister of state for artificial intelligence Omar Al Olama.

Related Story:  Abu Dhabi Launches First-of-Its-Kind University of Artificial Intelligence

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