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.

Unlocking the Mind

Date: 1 February 2022  Time: 9:30 – 11:30
Venue: Poland Pavilion, Mobility District, EXPO 2020 Dubai

During the course of the pandemic, the world experienced a period of ambiguity concerning our physical, mental, social and financial futures. In order to transcend beyond these pressures, many turned to adopting mindfulness in our daily routines, using the practice as a buffer to counter pandemic related distress. Mindfulness is an exercise we can cultivate by giving attention to our present moment, thoughts and emotions as it helps rewire our minds to adopt more compassionate and empathetic responses to manifest the world we want.


As we celebrate Marking Health and Wellness week at Expo 2020 Dubai, Dignified Storytelling presents a session titled “Unlocking the Mind” to help participants revisit the significance of maintaining mental health in order to achieve optimal physical health. Through a series of talks and a guided meditation session, participants will learn how to rewire and recreate  their thought processes as we end with a refresh session focussing on a meditation session.


Join us as we feature Edyta Satchell, Founder & CEO of Satchelle Global Wellness,       

Dr. Christine Kritzas, Psychologist and Education Director at Lighthouse Arabia, and will conclude with a guided mediation session by Seva Experience.

SDG Storytelling Lab

Date: 19 January 2022  Time: 13:00 – 17:00
Venue: Business Connect Centre, 2020 Club Premium Lounge, EXPO 2020 Dubai
Addressing the world’s greatest challenges, from climate change and biodiversity loss to gender inequality, requires action from all sectors and all individuals. The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are humanity’s blueprint to tackle these challenges – in many ways they are the world’s ‘to do’ list – but progress towards them needs to rapidly accelerate.

Programme for People and Planet at Expo 2020 in partnership with Dignified Storytelling, United Nations Department of Global Communications and Edinburgh Science is bringing together creatives and change-makers to explore opportunities for progress and look for solutions that uphold human dignity. Join a masterclass by industry leaders including Melissa Fleming, Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications at the United Nations, Philip Thomas, Cannes Lions Chairman and President of Ascential’s Marketing Division and Till Hohman, Chief Creative Officer MENA Region at Ogilvy who will share their thoughts on creating  impactful campaigns that expand on the principles of Dignified Storytelling. This will be followed by  a collaborative design sprint that will enable you to discover and share creative ways to tell stories that empower, inspire and help to achieve the global goals


Teaching Information Literacy in the age of Digital Media


Date: 14 December 2021  Time: 15:30 – 16:15

Venue: Future Hall at RewirEd Summit, Dubai Exhibition Centre


Digital media is a powerful influencer of social change as a tool for communications and a channel for the wide dissemination of information and knowledge. The rise of digital media has added new complexity to the relationship between schools and media.

This event will explore the important role of education in fostering the skills needed to critically examine the digital stories and information that we consume daily.  It will also explore the question of how media sources, social media corporations, and educational institutions can collaborate more effectively to ensure that information literacy is central to education – towards the creation of more just, open societies built on accurate information.

This event highlights the role of education systems and global media corporations in teaching the skills needed to analyse the many types of stories that we consume daily in our increasingly digitised world. 


Moderated by Phil Noble, Founder of World Class Scholars and Politics Online from UK, this session features Niamh Spelman, GM, Microsoft Solutions, Michail Bletsas a Greek research scientist and the Director of Computing at the MIT Media Lab, Mikaela Jade, CEO and Founder of Indigital as well as  Derek Murray Wyatt, former British politician who served as Member of Parliament (MP) from the U.K.

Placing Human Dignity at the Heart of Storytelling 

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.

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 

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.  

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.

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