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.

Empowering female storytellers

27 March 2022  Time: 11:00 – 18:00

Venue:  Dubai Cares Pavilion, Opportunity District, EXPO 2020 Dubai

Join Canon, UN and Dignified Storytelling, in the Dubai Cares pavilion at the Dubai World Expo, to find out more about the human value of storytelling and how female storytellers connect us to our world. Hear first-hand accounts of the attitudes and experiences of three female Canon Ambassadors and learn directly with them how you can be empowered to tell your own story.

Canon Inc. is a global supporter of the x17 UN SDGs, and through the Canon Miraisha programme and the Canon Young People Programme enables young people across Europe, Middle East and Africa to tell the stories that matter to them, empowering storytelling and driving gender equality for the next generation

The Weight of Water

Date: 24 March 2022  Time: 17:30 – 20:00
Venue:  Spain Pavilion, Sustainability District, EXPO 2020 Dubai

Water connects all aspects of our lives, from education, women empowerment, health and economies. Accessibility to sanitation and safe water can instantly transform problems into potential, poverty into possibility, and time spent into time saved.


This year for Water Week, Dignified Storytelling has joined forces with We Are Water, a foundation dedicated to breaking the barriers between people and access to safe water and sanitation, to help us advocate and bring awareness around Sustainable Development Goals and the Dignified Storytelling Principles, goals and aspirations which are severely dependent on the global communities’ equal access to clean water.


As part of the United Nations Water Day theme for 2022 – Making the Invisible Visible – Dignified Storytelling and We Are Water will be showcasing the intricate links between global access to clean water as a fundamental human right, and as a pivotal component in protecting individual and communal dignity in all parts of the world. “The Weight of Water” was created as a result of our collective passion for creating a sustainable and dignified future for the people and planet, and our common objective of working together to create solutions and strategies that address water scarcity and access to clean water through dignified storytelling, by sharing stories of these communities in a manner that supports, and allows them to thrive through a deeper and more connected narrative.

Food from the Roots

Date: 24 February 2022  Time: 17:00 – 19:30
Venue: Mexican Pavilion – Meshico Restaurant | Alkebulan Terrace – African Dining Hall
EXPO 2020 Dubai

A substantial portion of our cultures and traditions circulate around the memories we create around the dinner table, a place where we celebrate milestones, mend conflicts, nurture relationships, and find gratitude for life.Food is the agent that nurtures and unites us all, regardless of cultural differences and language barriers, it is the element that allows us to embrace the many dimensions of our heritage and roots.

Cooking techniques and culinary knowledge passed down through generations are of the oldest human rituals. As these culinary traditions are handed down, they become inherently ingrained in the way we interact and understand each other, allowing us to develop more compassion and awareness in our interactions with one another.

Dignified Storytelling has joined efforts with the African Union and the Mexican Pavilion to co-curate “Food from the Roots”, an experience designed to create intimate and interactive conversations around the significance of food and nutrition security in different communities and cultures and how we can change the existing narratives across Africa and Latin America.  

Unlocking the Mind

Date: 1 February 2022  Time: 9:30 – 11:30
Venue: Poland Pavilion, Mobility District, EXPO 2020 Dubai
During the course of this pandemic, we have been experiencing increasing ambiguity around our physical, mental and financial futures.  In order to transcend beyond these uncertainties, many turned to mental health exercises such as mindfulness, using the practice as a buffer to counter pandemic related distress. By practicing mindfulness we can give attention to our present moment and thoughts as it rewires our minds to adopt more compassionate and empathetic responses to manifest the world we want, a world that values Truth Over Headlines.
As EXPO 2020 Dubai marks Health & Wellness week, we present “Unlocking the Mind”.  We are joined by Omar Shehadeh, Chief International Participants Officer at Expo 2020 Dubai who will touch on the stigmas created during the pandemic and the role of media in mitigating or fuelling these threats. Followed by Edyta Satchell, Founder & CEO of Satchelle Global Wellness and Christine Kritzas, Psychologist and Education Director of Lighthouse Arabia, who will shed light on the importance of nurturing the mind, body and sould, especially during uncertain times. The event concludes with Abeer Ayash, Wellness Professional at Home of Wellness who will engage participants in a guided meditation session.

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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