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  • In Cabo Delgado, Mozambique, the Aga Khan Foundation works with mothers on preparing enriched porridges to ensure better nutrition and growth for their children. (Photo taken prior to COVID-19).
AKDN and Expo 2020 Dubai partner to highlight critical challenges and opportunities facing humanity

Dubai, UAE, 29 October 2021 – Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) staff from countries around the world are collaborating in Expo 2020 Dubai’s Programme for People and Planet. This partnership is founded on a shared commitment and recognition that the most pressing challenges facing humanity can best be addressed through social, economic, cultural and environmental initiatives.  

The Network’s contributions to the Expo draw upon its experience in establishing best practices from integrated, comprehensive projects and interventions in over 35 countries. As a partner in association with Expo 2020’s Urban and Rural Development week, the AKDN has worked together with UAE government ministries as well as with Siemens and UN Habitat to inform the week’s vision, direction and content. It has also contributed to the Expo’s initiatives on Climate and Biodiversity, Tolerance and Inclusivity, and Knowledge and Learning.


In the mountainous Gorno-Badakhshan region of Tajikistan, the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat works with communities to map natural disaster hazards and risks as an important step to building them safer habitats.

Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director General of Expo 2020 Dubai said: “Sharing ideas and knowledge is crucial and nations and organisations must work together on collaborative solutions to global challenges that affect us all. The UAE welcomes the active participation of organisations such as the Aga Khan Development Network as we seek to build a cleaner, safer, healthier world for everyone.”   

Working with UAE government ministries and local and international civil society organisations, the Network is coordinating numerous presentations at Expo 2020 Dubai, including on sustainable and climate-resilient mountain development, promoting livelihoods and economies in the face of climate change, a World Majlis on engineering a balanced city, best practices in urban and rural development, music for peace and development, catalysing teacher-led innovations in education at scale, and innovating philanthropic financing – how to invest in education during times of uncertainty.

Michael Kocher, General Manager of the Aga Khan Foundation said: “The United Arab Emirates and the Aga Khan Development Network have worked closely together for many years in areas of common interest, including architecture, culture, education and health care. The AKDN’s collaboration with Expo 2020 Dubai is a reflection of this abiding partnership, which is founded upon a shared commitment to addressing key concerns relating to human development, to improve the quality of life of the world’s most vulnerable populations.”


Historic restoration in Lahore, Pakistan. The AKDN operates with the belief that cultural heritage can catalyse a community, helping to raise incomes, enhancing urban spaces, and restoring pride and hope.
In describing the partnership, Nadia Verjee, Chief of Staff for Expo 2020 Dubai Programme for People and Planet explained: “Expo 2020 Dubai is bringing together a variety of voices from around the globe to help spur collaborative action towards solving some of the world’s most pressing issues. Ideas and solutions can come from everywhere, and the Aga Khan Development Network’s expertise across topics from urban and rural development to knowledge and learning as well as climate and biodiversity issues, will enhance and strengthen our extensive programme of events and drive towards stronger and more meaningful outcomes.”


For more information please contact:

Sconaid Mcgeachin at         

Semin Abdulla at

Nazma Rashid at (mobile: +971 55 950 9557)

For more information about AKDN

For more information about Expo 2020 Dubai (1 October 2021 - 31 March 2022)

Watch this 1-minute teaser Expo 2020: Spotlighting the Aga Khan Historic Cities Programme or view the complete 1-hour presentation here