Roof design at the Expo2020 in Dubai.
Credit: Sasha Pritchard, Canva Images

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Local Stories that Empower, Improve and Transform

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.

This insightful session provided 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.

Click below to watch the full event

Speakers of the Day

Moderated by UN Habitat’s Asa Jonsson, this session featured 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 guest Neel Shukla provided a historical perspective on Dubai’s transition from a rural community to urban centre, while Sanjive Khosla shared plans for Expo’s legacy, District 2020.  

Shivya Nath

Travel Writer and Blogger

Neel Shukla

Founder of IV-Four

Hélène Papper 

Director of the IFAD Global Communications and Advocacy Division

Bruce Ramus

Light Artist


Rapper and artist

Asa Jonsson

Acting Chief, Strategic Planning, Monitoring and Reporting Branch, UN-Habitat


Sanjive Khosla

SVP – Transition Unit at Expo 2020 Dubai