On September 15th and 16th, Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane and Engage AI are jointly organizing the First International Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Development. The conference begins on Thursday, September 15th at 9h00 with welcome speeches from President Amine Bensaid, Emad Tenawi, Executive Director at Engage-Ai, and Professor Driss Kettani, PhD. Over the course of two days, experts in AI technology will be giving several plenary keynote addresses, panel discussions, and workshops on the subject. The conference will be held at the Conference Center of Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane with more than 30 experts in AI and more than 80 participants who will be able to meet with leaders in the field and discuss key questions related to AI and development.
Although AI is frequently discussed nowadays, the Artificial Intelligence of this conference is not the mainstream AI used for the creation of software and revenue in business, it is Artificial Intelligence for Development (AI4D). AI4D is a way for technology to empower marginalized groups and act as a catalyst for sustainable development. It is the culmination of many years of technological advancement, and it should be supportive as well as a goal to reach for those who may not yet have the technological foundations for AI. In Morocco, the New Development Model (NDM) is a concrete step being taken in technological advancement.
The NDM is a document compiled by leaders in development and technology at the behest of King Mohammed VI for the improvement of Morocco. It offers a clear picture of Moroccan problems and creative solutions for them. It aims to create a framework for citizen-centered sustainable growth along with a modern and responsive government. The intention of the conference is to explore how AI can be used to accelerate the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) proposed by the United Nations (UN) as well as to solve problems proposed in the NDM.
Members of the Special Commission for the Development Model (SCDM), those working on the NDM, previously visited Al Akhawayn in February 2020. This visit gave students and alumni an opportunity to draw on their experience gained both at the university and outside of it in order to discuss relevant ideas with the visitors. Al Akhawayn has many programs that inform this type of learning including a Bachelor of Computer Science and more recently, the Bachelor of Science in Artificial Intelligence and Robotization. Since applications of AI are rising exponentially, these types of programs are necessary in creating a generation of those who can work to advance technology. If technology and development grow in tandem, then AUI is at the forefront of technology in development. AUI teaches problem-solving which is the basis on which the NDM was created. AUI does not just teach for today, but it teaches for the future benefit of all people. These programs are just a small part of what qualifies Al Akhawayn as a leader in technological development and the education that students receive at AUI qualifies students to communicate their ideas in high-level discussions, such as with the SCDM.
While organizing this conference is in line with the University's Strategic Plan and aims to help with the development of our country, knowing that Al Akhawayn University has a long history of being a leader in technology for development. The university's focus on impact-based research has led to its extensive work with organizations such as the United Nations and European Union. The goal of AUI as an international impact-based research institution is to implement practical and effective research for the benefit of the local, national, and international communities. This conference is the first of its kind and Al Akhawayn University is excited to see the lasting impacts of this intellectual gathering.