Events-at-expo-2020-Page-Banner-1 Sarah Gavinala with her husband Witinesi and their son
Bashil outside their home in Zomba, Malawi. Credit: CRS

Events at Expo 2020 Dubai

Dignified Storytelling is featured across Expo 2020’s rich calendar of specialist programming, which reflects and celebrates the spirit of Dignified Storytelling throughout the 6-month event.

Encompassing cultural, social, economic, environmental and UAE-based themes, the program series has been curated in close collaboration with Expo’s International and Non-Official Participants, International Organizations, Commercial Partners, as well as various UAE entities, and seeks to garner solidarity around global challenges, spotlight areas of mutual interest and importance, and ensure the emergence of a meaningful legacy at the national, regional and international level.

Working Together to Safeguard our Collective Future


Date: 5 October, 2021  Time: 16.00 – 17.30  

Venue: Opportunity Forum, Opportunity District, Expo 2020 Dubai


Dignified Storytelling will celebrate stories that promote knowledge, provide solutions, and drive action towards a healthier environment during Climate & Biodiversity Week at Expo 2020 Dubai.


Join us at this spoken-word poetry performance spotlighting youth poets that are helping empower individuals and their communities to mitigate climate change and promote biodiversity.


This session features original poetry by Guam poet John “Meta” Sarmiento , Ghana’s finest poet and spoken word artist Chief Moomen, and a special guest intervention by Ireland’s Climate Envoy Dr.Sinead Walsh. Moderated by Ragy Saro, Head of International Organisations at Expo 2020 Dubai this session will include an open discussion with the poets on their use of art to address the pressing environmental issues of our times and the importance of working together to safeguard our collective future.

    Register your Interest

    Please select which Dignified Storytelling Expo events you want to attend:

    Stories of Great Ambition and Hope


    Date: 18 October, 2021  Time: 15:00 – 17:30  

    Venue: Terra Auditorium, Sustainability District, Expo 2020 Dubai


    This event engages storytellers and communication experts working with space agencies to talk about big blockbuster space missions and share hopeful and exciting experiences. The speakers will highlight the role of dignified storytelling in communicating with the world the mysteries of space and what is possible through STEM and technological advances. 

    Join us at this exciting exploration of space – the final frontier – through a panel featuring astronauts and storytellers who are at the forefront of space exploration.


    Moderated by Maisa Eid, an upcoming Journalist and current student at American University in Dubai, this session features UAE Astronaut Hazza Al Mansouri; Astronaut and Senior Communications Specialist, NASA Elizabeth Landau; and special guest, Aeronautical Engineer and JAXA Astronaut from Japan, Mr. Soichi Noguchi.  

    Local Stories that Empower, Improve and Transform


    Date: 1 November, 2021  Time: 16.30 – 19.30  

    Venue: The Nexus for People & Planet, Opportunity District, Expo 2020 Dubai


    Dignified Storytelling plays an important role in ensuring that storytelling within rural and urban contexts maintains the voice, integrity and dignity of people and the communities they live in. With the world’s population increasing, rural exodus and urban expansion are inevitable. The urbanization of rural areas and the creation of cities – with expanded access to employment and education – often result in youth leaving rural hometowns to pursue economic opportunities in larger population centers.


    Join us for this insightful session that will provide a platform for storytellers as well as urban and rural development experts to discuss how stories from urban and rural areas can challenge stereotypes, amplify local voices, unpack nuances and complexities, and build empathy and understanding.


    Moderated by UN Habitat’s Asa Jonsson, this session features Co-founder of Voices of Rural India Shivya Nath; Urban Design Artist, Bruce Ramus; and the Director of IFAD’s Communication Division, Hélène Papper. In addition, special guests Neel Shukla will provide a historical perspective on Dubai’s transition from a rural community to urban centre, and Sanjive Khosla will share plans for Expo’s legacy, District 2020 

    Placing Human Dignity at the Heart of Storytelling 


    Date: 19 November, 2021  Time: 15:00 – 17:00

    Venue: Terra Auditorium, Sustainability District, Expo 2020 Dubai


    Storytelling is a powerful tool that helps shape narratives and define cultures. It can help foster empathy and connection, serving as an important tool for promoting tolerance and inclusivity.


    Tolerance and inclusivity are core pillars of Dignified Storytelling and its 10 Principles. Dignified Storytelling unites the voices of content makers, editors, journalists, photographers, filmmakers, storytellers, and contributors and equip them with the awareness and hands-on knowledge that will enable them to capture moments and tell stories without compromising human dignity. 


    This session features 11-year-old published author, Diaco Taaeb; Surinamese actor, writer and filmmaker, Ivan Tai-Apin; Friendship’s Founder and Executive Director, Runa Khan; and Disability Empowerment Consultant Fatma Al Jassim. In addition, excerpts of two films focused on tolerance and inclusivity will be shared with the audience.