Latifa bint Mohammed attends the first Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation (DIDI) graduation ceremony


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 Institute’s first-ever graduation ceremony Dubai Design and Innovation (DIDI) which took place at the Dubai Museum of the Future. Graduates have successfully completed the region’s first integrated bachelor’s degree in design.

Her Highness Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Culture Chairperson and Member of the Dubai Council, said: “Graduating from DIDI’s first Bachelor of Design class represents another milestone in our progression. towards a dynamic new creative economy. It is an incredibly proud moment for students, parents, teachers and Dubai. DIDI, the first multidisciplinary design program of its kind in the Middle East, is one of many pioneering programs that encapsulate the forward-looking spirit of Dubai. For us to achieve our ambition for Dubai’s creative economy, we need to ensure that the infrastructure and the right programs and institutions are in place for future and current creatives to develop, grow and flourish. This is not just for our community in Dubai, but for the region and beyond. DIDI is an example of a successful effort in Dubai to develop the offer of the local creative and cultural ecosystem, starting with our young people, who are the future of the sector.

The ceremony was also attended by high dignitaries and government officials, including His Excellency Malek Al Malek, Managing Director of the Dubai Development Authority (DDA) and Chairman of DIDI; Hala Badri, Director General of the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture); Mohammad Abdullah, president of DIDI; Dr. Rachel Schreiber, Executive Dean of the Parsons School of Design; Hani Asfour, Dean of DIDI; and members of DIDI’s board of directors as well as high-level 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 classroom curriculum world. A milestone for everyone involved at DIDI, the graduation ceremony celebrated students graduating after an immersive four-year course who were part of the university’s first class when it opened in 2018.

DIDI offers the first and only course in the region exclusively dedicated to design and innovation. Its Bachelor of Design (BDes) is the first multidisciplinary program of its kind in the Middle East, offering four design disciplines: product design, multimedia design, fashion design and strategic design management. The program has been specifically designed and curated to meet the ever-increasing demand for talented and forward-looking designers and innovators regionally and globally, and combining technology proficiency, visual literacy and strategic competence.

His Excellency Malek Al Malek, Director General of the Dubai Development Authority (DDA) and Chairman of DIDI, said: “Our leaders’ focus on building a knowledge and innovation driven economy is based on a robust and agile education system that prepares students to take advantage of the opportunities and jobs of tomorrow, a vision we share at DIDI. In a world transformed by digital capabilities and technologies, the need for skilled and enterprising professionals and innovators is greater than ever.

“The future belongs to ambitious and dynamic creators, innovators and entrepreneurs who can help advance economic strategies and strengthen vital industries. From the start, we have laid the foundation for a program that elevates design thinking and equips students with technical and practical skills, as well as the principles of entrepreneurship in key sectors”.

Commenting on the first graduates, DIDI President Mohammad Abdullah said, “This is an extremely proud moment for DIDI and everyone involved at the university. Tonight seeing our first graduates is truly a privilege that supports the university’s efforts to accelerate growth in creative sectors and contribute to the development of a diverse and innovation-driven economy for Dubai, the United Arab Emirates and the region at large. The ceremony is both inspiring and appropriate, as our graduates have hope and curiosity for the future.

“Design is woven into many facets of our lives and matters more than ever as it holds the key to innovation. As Dubai and the United Arab Emirates continue to make their presence known in the global dialogue on innovation and creativity, we at DIDI will continue to challenge thinking and take the skills and capabilities of design and innovation in the UAE and the region to new heights, with the skills needed for the careers of the future, We look forward to seeing where our graduates will go from here as they pursue impactful careers and avenues for the positive advancement of society.

DIDI is a springboard to prepare the next generation of innovators. DIDI’s rich, design-driven DNA is in keeping with Dubai’s status as a global hub for creative talent. Dubai has just ranked first in the MENA region and second in the world for attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) in the cultural and creative industries (CCI) in 2021. Last year, the emirate was reported to have 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 preparing students for a world where the jobs of today may not exist in the future, DIDI is leading the charge to sustain the next generation of creative talent in the UAE and the wider region. .

Showcasing the remarkable talents of graduating students, a dozen impressive graduation projects were also featured on the site last night. These were selected from the university’s first graduate exhibition, held at the Dubai Design District (d3) for the past two weeks, showcasing students’ work, ideas and concepts.

The exhibiting students presented the culmination of their unique academic journey at DIDI over the past few years. From creating an NFT fashion collection that will be tied to a charitable foundation by one student to a phygital companion that helps children develop emotional regulation skills by another. Other concepts presented by the students include an app that aims to support patients with early to mid-stage dementia with reminiscence therapy using artificial intelligence and augmented reality; a speculative system and projects built for a bicentric plant and human society on Mars; an interactive physiotherapy solution for children; and an option to customize high heels using a three-step process involving pressure identification testing.

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