Her Highness Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairperson of the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) and Member of the Dubai Council, attended the first-ever graduation ceremony of the Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation (DIDI), which took place at Dubai’s Museum of the Future. The graduates successfully completed the region’s first integrated bachelor’s degree in design.
“The graduation of the first Bachelors of Design class from DIDI represents another milestone in our progress towards a new vibrant creative economy. This is an incredibly proud moment for the students, parents, faculty, and Dubai. DIDI, the first multidisciplinary design programme in the Middle East of its kind, is one of many pioneering programmes that encapsulate Dubai’s forward-looking spirit. For us to achieve our ambition for Dubai’s creative economy, we need to make sure the infrastructure and the right programmes and institutions are in place for future and current creatives to develop, grow and flourish. This is not only for our community in Dubai but for the region and beyond. DIDI is an example of a successful Dubai endeavour aimed at developing the local creative and cultural ecosystem offering, starting with our youth, who are the future of the sector,” Her Highness said.
Four years after its opening, the university holds its first graduation ceremony at the Museum of the Future
The ceremony was also attended by senior dignitaries and officials, including His Excellency Malek Al Malek, Director General of the Dubai Development Authority (DDA) and Chairman of DIDI; Hala Badri, Director General of Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture); Mohammad Abdullah, President of DIDI; Dr Rachel Schreiber, Executive Dean of Parsons School of Design; Hani Asfour, Dean of DIDI; and the Board Members of DIDI as well as senior representatives from strategic partners, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Parsons New School of Design in New York, who collaborated with DIDI on their world-class curriculum. A significant milestone for all involved at DIDI, the graduation ceremony celebrated students graduating after an immersive four-year-long course who were part of the first intake of the university when it opened its doors in 2018.
DIDI offers the region’s first and only curriculum exclusively dedicated to design and innovation. Its Bachelor of Design (BDes) is the first multidisciplinary programme in the Middle East of its kind, offering four design disciplines: Product Design, Multimedia Design, Fashion Design, and Strategic Design Management. The programme was specially designed and curated to address the ever-growing demand for future-focused and talented designers and innovators regionally and globally, and blends tech fluency, visual literacy and strategic proficiency.
DIDI is part of Dubai’s vision to develop a new generation of innovators who will shape its future creative economy
His Excellency Malek Al Malek, Director General of the Dubai Development Authority (DDA) and Chairman of DIDI, said: “Our leadership’s focus on building a knowledge and innovation-driven economy relies on a robust and agile education system that prepares students to leverage the opportunities and jobs of tomorrow – a vision that we share at DIDI. In a world transformed by digital capabilities and technologies, the need for skilled, entrepreneurial professionals and innovators is greater than ever.
“The future is for ambitious and dynamic creators, innovators and entrepreneurs who can contribute to advancing economic strategies and strengthening vital industries. From the beginning, we laid foundations for a curriculum that elevates design thinking and equips students with technical and practical skills, as well as the principles of entrepreneurship across key sectors”.
Commenting on the first graduates, DIDI’s President Mohammad Abdullah stated: “This is an immensely proud moment for DIDI and all involved at the university. Tonight, witnessing our first graduates is truly a privilege that supports the university’s efforts to accelerate growth in the creative sectors and contribute towards developing a diversified and innovation-driven economy for Dubai, the UAE and the wider region. The ceremony is both inspiring and appropriate, as our graduates have hope and curiosity for the future.
The University’s rich and design-driven DNA reflects Dubai’s status as a global hub for creative talent
“Design is woven into so many facets of our lives and matters now more than ever as it holds the key to innovation. As Dubai and the UAE continue to make their presence known in the global dialogue on innovation and creativity, we at DIDI will continue to challenge thinking and take design and innovation skill sets and capabilities in the UAE and wider region to new heights. With the skill sets needed for the careers of the future, we are eager to see where our graduates will go from here as they pursue careers of impact and avenues for the positive advancement of society.”
DIDI is a stepping stone in preparing the next generation of innovators. DIDI’s rich and design-driven DNA is in line with Dubai’s status as a global hub for creative talent. Dubai just ranked first in the MENA region and second in the world in attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) in the cultural and creative industries (CCI) in 2021. Last year it was reported the emirate attracted 233 new projects in the cultural and creative sector, surpassing other major cities such as New York, Singapore and Berlin. In its commitment to prepare students for a world where today’s jobs may not exist in the future, DIDI is leading the charge on future-proofing the next generation of creative talent in the UAE and wider region.
DIDI offers the region’s first and only curriculum exclusively dedicated to design and innovation
Showcasing the remarkable talents of the graduating students, some ten impressive graduation projects were also displayed at the venue last night. These were selected from the university’s first Graduate Exhibition, which was held at Dubai Design District (d3) over the last two weeks showcasing the students’ work, ideas and concepts. The exhibiting students showcased the culmination of their unique academic journey at DIDI over the last few years. From the creation of an NFT fashion collection that will be linked to a charitable foundation by one student to a phygital companion that assists children in developing emotional regulation skills by another. Other concepts presented by the students include an application which aims to support early to mid-stage dementia patients with reminiscence therapy using artificial intelligence and augmented reality; a speculative system and projects built for a plant and human bicentric society on Mars; an interactive physiotherapy solution for children; and an option to customise high heels using a three-step process involving pressure identification testing.