by Belinda Breeze

“You have the power to revolutionise the future of our world,” H.E. Khalfan Juma Belhoul, Chief Executive Officer of the Dubai Future Foundation, told Middlesex University (MDX) Dubai graduates at their graduation ceremony on Sunday 12 March.

His Excellency was awarded a prestigious Doctorate of the University during the event, in recognition of his commitment to empowering a culture of technological innovation and entrepreneurship across the UAE in order to shape a better future.

Middlesex University Dubai, which is a twice-awarded 5-Star KHDA University and Dubai’s largest UK institution for total student enrolment, concluded its largest ever series of graduation ceremonies on Saturday 11 March and Sunday 12 March. Over 1,000 graduates collected their leading British degrees in four inspiring ceremonies at the iconic Jumeirah Beach Hotel.

Adding further prestige to the memorable event, His Excellency Khalfan Belhoul made an exclusive address as the Class of 2022 Honorary Graduate to the institution’s Science, Technology and Psychology graduates. In an inspirational speech, he highlighted the importance of the use of artificial intelligence, robotics and skills of the future to drive innovation.

Reflecting on Dubai’s ability to embrace the world’s transformational shifts, and drawing on lessons from his own career, His Excellency then went on to offer guidance to the graduating class, urging them to continue to broaden their knowledge and entrepreneurial spirit to “revolutionise” whichever career path they choose.

His Excellency (H.E.) Khalfan Juma Belhoul, Chief Executive Officer of the Dubai Future
Foundation, advised the graduating class of Dubai’s top British university to embrace challenges of the future, reimagine the impossible, and invent and innovate for the future.

His Excellency Khalfan Juma Belhoulsaid: “Today, we acknowledge the potential that each and every one of you has to shape – and revolutionise – the future of our world.”

Belhoul added: “I am sure you all recognise that education is infinite, and we all still have more to learn. And so, we must also be prepared to face a range of challenges and opportunities that we cannot yet fully comprehend. But in the midst of all this change, I am filled with a very realistic hope.

“Because my message has been this: humans always come first, in the past, in the present and in the future. It is you who could be working on the next AI-powered chatbot to empower generations of the future, or announcing a significant breakthrough in quantum computing, or developing a game-changing technology to clear waste from our oceans, or even, inventing an intricate robot that could revolutionise a doctor’s toughest surgeries.”

Among the students being awarded during the ceremony, the University honoured its top Emirati students, as part of its continued commitment to equipping the UAE’s future leaders with the expertise to contribute to their nation’s future. Sama Yousif Mohamed Ahmed Alzaabi, BSc Psychology with Counselling Skills graduate, received the Top Emirati Undergraduate Student Award, and Amna Mohammad Hassan Ibrahim Alblooshi, MSc Data Science graduate, was recognised with the Top Emirati Postgraduate Student Award.

Professor Nic Beech, Vice-Chancellor of Middlesex University,said: “It is an absolute pleasure to be here once again in Dubai, where it is recognised that a world-class education system must be at the heart of a competitive economy. Middlesex is a truly global university and its students and alumni benefit from global education experiences that develop their international mindset and help them get a job when they graduate. Each of our campuses has an international reputation for excellence and has a distinctive part to play in the Middlesex story.

“Middlesex University Dubai is an exemplary place to study, and we are very proud of what our students achieve in their studies, in their careers, and of their contribution to society. The Dubai campus continues to go from strength to strength, having been recognised as a 5-Star institution in two consecutive KHDA Higher Education Classifications. This recognises the University’s outstanding performance in teaching, employability, internationalisation, research, arts and culture, as well as student happiness and well-being. We are grateful for the support we have received as a leading international institution here in the UAE.

“To the Class of 2022, my message is to keep going, stay curious, and keep learning. We hope you choose to be part of the Middlesex community for life. Whether you study with us again or contribute to our future as one of our 274,000 alumni around the world, we want you to stay with us and help us grow.”

‘’Imagine, design and execute your own vibrant futures – but do it with all of humanity in mind.’’

The degrees awarded to the Class of 2022 covered over 70 diverse programmes, including Business, Marketing, Accounting and Finance, Law, Graphic Design, Education, Fashion Design, Information Technology and Psychology.

Middlesex University Dubai continues to diversify its breadth of programmes and enhance its state-of-the-art labs and classrooms in collaboration with industry. This creates a unique careers-led curriculum that responds to the needs of employers and prepares graduates for roles in emerging industries.

In line with Dubai’s metaverse strategy, the University recently opened a landmark research, innovation and teaching hub for Virtual Reality, which will act as a developmental sandbox for UAE students and companies to explore the possibilities offered by extended reality concepts such as the metaverse.

Dr. Mohamad Hamade, Chairman of Middlesex University Dubai, said:“Education is the cornerstone for developing skilled and competent people who have the capabilities to make essential changes. We at Middlesex Dubai are honoured to contribute to laying the groundwork for the generations that will guide the future and elevate it to a higher level. Today, we witness our students successfully crossing the threshold to embark on their professional journey, supported by strong knowledge and confidently looking outward. The University has always been a pioneer in preparing students to be effective professionals, equipped with the job-relevant skillset needed to succeed in tomorrow’s world.”

His Excellency Khalfan Juma Belhoul’s appointment as the Class of 2022 Honorary Graduate links to Middlesex University Dubai’s successful participation in the Dubai Future Foundation’s University Entrepreneurship Program (UEP), which aims to equip students with entrepreneurial skills to develop innovative solutions in vital sectors, in line with Dubai’s ongoing efforts to implement Article 6 of the UAE’s Fifty-Year Charter. The 2021-2022 academic year was the University’s first year taking part in the scheme.

Maleeha Murad Muhammad (BSc Business Information Systems), Neha Naveed (BSc Business Information Systems), Khristine Sagum (BSc Information Technology) and Sadaf Khan (BSc Information Technology) from the Class of 2022 are among the University’s UEP participants. The group worked together to curate an innovative charitable giving platform for UAE residents, and the project was so successful that the team have now been selected to represent Middlesex University Dubai during the UEP.

The achievements of MSc Robotics graduates James Brazier and Ziad Burhani also demonstrate the innovation and expertise that MDX students offer UAE employers. Using an Epson VT6 robot from the University’s fully equipped Robotics Lab, the team explored how robots can be used to deconstruct and dispose of electronic parts and e-waste safely as part of the world-renowned Robothon hosted by Technical University of Munich in 2022.

Dr Cedwyn Fernandes, Pro-Vice Chancellor of Middlesex University and Director of Middlesex University Dubai,said: “It was an honour and a privilege to welcome over 1,000 students for the Class of 2022 graduation for two days of celebration and reflection. With this latest graduating class, we renew our commitment to supporting our city and nation as they work towards the ambitious vision for the UAE’s future. Given his dedication to giving back to the UAE and inspiring the next generation, His Excellency Khalfan Juma Belhoul was the perfect candidate to join our prestigious list of Honorary Graduates. Congratulations to all our Class of 2022 graduates, who are the leaders of tomorrow. We know that they will go on to achieve great things in both their personal and professional lives.”

Middlesex University Dubai continues to lead the way in offering unparalleled education and unrivalled opportunities for students as they immerse themselves in industry and prepare to thrive in their professional journeys.

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