Dubai: Expo 2020 Dubai launched the first of a series of World Majlis discussions at Manarat Al Saadiyat, Abu Dhabi, on Monday, with a session focusing on a sustainable future.

Thought leaders from government, professional, academic and cultural backgrounds gathered to discuss the lessons and values of Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan’s vision of a sustainable future under the title Sustainability Through New Eyes.

Reem Al Hashemi, Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director General of Dubai Expo 2020 Bureau, chaired the majlis. The session brought together 17 thought leaders, as well as 14 students and two professors from local and international universities.

Al Hashemi said, “Through the World Majlis, Expo 2020 Dubai wants to create a global dialogue by gathering people with diverse perspectives to engage in meaningful conversations that encourage them to look differently at challenges and create a real impact.

“Today, more than ever, we need to place humanity at the heart of our future. In doing so, we bring to life important subjects of global relevance.

“From the outset, Expo 2020 has been about so much more than the six months of the Expo; our aim is to support the UAE’s long-term strategic vision and the UAE Centennial 2071 plan. The World Majlis is aligned with this objective to inform a strong legacy by inspiring positive impact, throughout our journey to 2020 and beyond.”

Focus of conversations

Topics discussed included how industry can mitigate its environmental impact while pursuing economic growth; how consumers can be transformed into responsible citizens by changing the way we think about consumption; and how the power of art and culture can help shift the focus of conversations about sustainability from loss to opportunity.

Sass Brown, Founding Dean, Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation (DIDI), who attended the majlis, said, “Topics like sustainability can be quite divisive but the World Majlis is a great platform to encourage conversation in a way that is not controversial. The tradition of the majlis allows that open conversation.”

In Arab and Emirati culture, the majlis is a meeting space where people gather to gain different perspectives and share informed opinions to help shape decisions on matters affecting their communities.