By Hermoine Macura-Noble
Special to The Times Kuwait

Thousands of youngsters took over Expo 2020 at the world’s biggest-ever celebration of World Children’s Day on 14 November. Organised by Expo 2020 Dubai, in partnership with the UAE Ministry of Community Development and UNICEF, the packed agenda included inspiring talks and a concert with the acclaimed Lebanese singer and UNICEF Regional Ambassador Yara.

From innovations driving progress on child-related Sustainable Development Goals to hone in on education, mental health, climate, and youth leadership, Expo’s World Children’s Day welcomes both young and adult thought leaders to reimagine a better future for all and mobilise collective action to make that vision a reality.

“World Children’s Day is UNICEF’s global day of action for children, by children. It is an opportunity to elevate children and young people to global stages as advocates for their own rights. This year, which coincides with our organisation’s 75th anniversary, we are pleased to partner with Expo 2020 Dubai and the UAE Ministry of Community Development to bring children and adults leaders together and use Expo’s platform to connect minds, reimagine the future and rebuild a world we want our children to grow up in,” said Ted Chaiban, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

Visitors were invited to join in the action by attending the flagship events at Al Wasl Plaza, including a concert featuring performances and talks from children, youth, and leaders bringing about positive change through arts and innovation. Musical trio and UNICEF Ambassadors Vazquez Sounds, vocalist, instrumentalist and UNICEF Youth Advocate Abigail Chamungwana, the Emirates Youth Symphony Orchestra, violinist Elli Choi, TIME Kid of the Year Gitanjali Rao, young Emirati poet Mazna Al Ameri; as well as members of the UAE Youth Paralympic team are just some of the performers who were on stage. Celebrated Lebanese singer and UNICEF Regional Ambassador Yara closed the flagship concert with an inspiring musical performance later.

A key date in the Programme for People and Planet, Expo 2020’s World Children’s Day activities will gather agents of change and unconventional voices in a Specialist Event showcasing the international community’s efforts to reimagine and build a child-friendly post-COVID-19 world and examine ways to overcome the barriers children face.

Her Excellency Hessa Bint Essa Buhumaid, Minister of Community Development, emphasised how we all need to seek to provide a happier and better wellbeing for children worldwide. “Celebrating World Children’s Day prompts us to think, plan and work hard to achieve the best possible reality of the world’s childhood.”
Reinforcing a commitment to amplifying the voices of young individuals to the world to promote intergenerational understanding, a Youth Circle hosted in partnership with the UAE Federal Youth Authority will drive interactive dialogue among Emirati and global youth representatives to discuss the future of children, including critical issues of education, mental health, and technology, to inform future policy decisions.

World Children’s Day — a day for children, by children — was established to promote international togetherness and awareness among children worldwide and improve children’s welfare. The international day offers an inspirational entry-point to advocate, promote and celebrate children’s rights, translating into dialogues and actions to build a better world for children.

By Hermoine Macura-Noble
The first Australian English speaking News Anchor in the Middle East. She is also the Author of Faces of the Middle East and Founder of US-based 501c3 charity – The House of Rest which helps to ease the suffering of victims of war. For more from our Contributing Editor, you can follow her on Instagram, here.

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