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From the outset, with the 1851 Great Exhibition of all nations held in London, World Expos have always been about big ideas. Expo 2020 Dubai is no different. It seeks to push the boundaries of inspirational thinking, and to bring the future to life. It will also create a legacy that will last well beyond the six-month duration of the Expo itself, one that is rooted in the pursuit of positive change for humanity.

The World Majlis is a series of global conversations that are taking place in the run-up to, and throughout, Expo 2020 Dubai. They too reflect this ethos, bringing together some of the world’s greatest thinkers and innovators to collectively address society’s most pressing challenges.

The majlis is a cornerstone of our Emirati culture — a place where society comes together to share ideas, grapple with difficult problems, and find answers. Since November 2017, when we held our first World Majlis in the museum where the union of the emirates was born, we have discussed these topics in diverse places around the world, from Shanghai to Rwanda, New York to London.

Our first book, Conversations About The Planet And Our Future, has grown out of these extraordinary meetings, which have drawn experts from far and wide. It is the first of four editions, each intended to share important thinking with the world. And it reflects the values Expo 2020 Dubai holds dear: values of partnership, innovation, empowerment, and of the seismic shifts that can occur when new ideas and people connect. In this book we explore the theme of the planet through a series of remarkable essays crafted by thought leaders and experts, many of whom have participated in the World Majlis conversations.

Inspired by the spirit of free conversation and expression the World Majlis empowers and encourages, they address issues ranging from the urgent need for action on climate change, how — and why — mankind must urgently find a way to live in harmony with its surroundings, and even the existence of life on other planets. The series will help set a global agenda for Expo 2020 Dubai and beyond: thought-provoking ideas and new approaches that may be critical to the future of the planet, together with insights that will form an intellectual legacy for Expo 2020 Dubai.

The issues that have impacted the past, shaped the present and, ultimately, will dictate the future of our world, occupy a critical position at the very heart of the Expo 2020 Dubai story. As citizens of the world, it is vital that we use this global event as a springboard for engaging in conversations and forging connections that address the most important topics from every angle, perspective and viewpoint to find and deliver solutions. These conversations are now more important than ever.