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Storytellers, communication experts and advocates to convene at Dignified Storytelling Forum on Human Rights Day – Emirates News Agency

Sun 05-12-2021 22:53 PM
DUBAI, 5th December 2021 (WAM) – Marking a key milestone in its journey to place human dignity at the heart of storytelling, Dignified Storytelling, an initiative by Dubai Cares, Expo 2020 Dubai and the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MoFaIC), is set to host its flagship Dignified Storytelling Forum on the 10th of December, 2021 at Dubai Exhibition Center (Hall 1A) at Expo 2020 Dubai, under the theme: “A story can change the world.”
Since its launch in May 2021, Dignified Storytelling has served as a powerful platform that unites the voices of content makers, editors, journalists, photographers, filmmakers, storytellers, and contributors, equipping them with the awareness and hands-on knowledge that will enable them to capture moments and tell stories without compromising human dignity. This global network of individuals and organizations today is actively advocating for a global commitment towards the Dignified Storytelling Principles and storytelling practices characterized by deep respect, full transparency, and social responsibility. These principles have been agreed upon by a diverse group of stakeholders from UN agencies, INGOs, local NGOs and civil society through a consultative process.
The one-day forum, which is part of Expo 2020 Dubai’s rich calendar of specialist programming, will bring together key stakeholders – including members of civil society organizations, governments, the private sector, and international agencies as well as advocates, activists, and storytellers – to collectively agree on a way forward in validating, adopting and integrating the Dignified Storytelling Principles.
The agenda for the forum includes six technical sessions that will take place before the main program and are co-curated with key partners of Dignified Storytelling and represent a combination of interactive workshops, talks, and discussions. Topics range from ‘Role of Media in Advancing Dignified Storytelling for a Better World’ to ‘Promoting Youth-led Storytelling for Social Change’.
The main program includes three plenary discussions featuring high-level speakers such as Maher Nasser, Commissioner-General of the UN at Expo 2020 Dubai and the Director of Outreach Division in the UN Department of Global Communications; Dr. Rebecca Swift, Senior Director and Global Head of Creative Insights, Getty Images; Chief Moomen, Ghanaian poet, playwright and creative entrepreneur; Joung-Ah Ghedini-Williams, Head of Global Communications at UNHCR; Nassib Boueri, CEO, Wunderman Thompson MENA; and Tracey Corbin-Matchett, CEO, Bus Stop Films, among others. Participating leaders and experts are set to contribute their insights to discussions focusing on topics such as ‘Dignified Storytelling in Policy and Practice’ and ‘Dignified Storytelling with Historically Marginalized Communities’.
“As the United Nations joins the world at Expo 2020 in Dubai, we, as is the case with all storytellers, have a responsibility to ensure that the stories we tell are anchored in human dignity. For us to achieve a more equal, sustainable and peaceful future for everyone, in addition to achieving the SDGs by 2030, we have to protect the integrity of the most vulnerable amongst us. In a digitally connected world, we have the tools to share stories on multiple platforms and with that ability comes a responsibility – a responsibility to ensure that stories are told with a dignified storytelling perspective – a perspective that avoids the dehumanization and marginalization of subjects intentionally or unintentionally,” said Maher Nasser, Commissioner-General of the UN at Expo 2020 Dubai and the Director of Outreach Division in the UN Department of Global Communications.
“As someone who is passionate about the importance of the visual language, I have seen how the marginalized and vulnerable can be exploited in the pursuit of the visual message. I believe we all need to take conscious steps to ensure we uphold human dignity in the visual stories we tell. At the Dignified Storytelling Forum, I will be sharing my personal experiences, highlighting the gaps that still exist in visual standards and discussing how we can drive change towards more authentic and diverse representations of people,” said Dr. Rebecca Swift, Global Head of Creative Insights, Getty Images.
In addition, the agenda will feature the launch of the Dignified Storytelling Handbook, which builds on the foundational Principles for Dignified Storytelling and offers ‘how-to’ guidance and concrete best practice case studies. Cross-sectoral perspectives and insights from a diverse group of storytellers and experienced stakeholders from governments, UN agencies, international and local NGOs, and civil society have informed this valuable framework and resource that storytellers around the world will benefit from when embracing dignified storytelling in their work. To define and agree on the future course of the initiative, Dignified Storytelling partners will also announce the next steps that include legacy plans to ensure its long-term impact.
“Stories, bereft of human dignity are weapons to maim and destroy, but when centered around human dignity, are tools to mend and build. As a storyteller interested in the interconnectedness of the human experience across time, places, and cultures, the 10 principles of Dignified Storytelling are the essential bedrock on which one must treat the stories of others with truth and respect. My poetry at the forum will seek to immerse audiences in experiences of how stories can be weapons or tools depending on how dignified the storytelling is. I am really excited about this and I look forward to an engaging and inspiring forum that would strengthen our resolve to tell stories with dignity and respect,” said Chief Moomen, Ghanaian poet, playwright and creative entrepreneur.
Human Rights Day, which is celebrated each year on December 10th, was particularly chosen as the date to host the Dignified Storytelling Forum as a reminder of the equal rights that all individuals are entitled to regardless of their race, ethnicity, religion, or gender. This also includes their right to have their stories told in a manner that upholds their dignity.

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