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At the recent COP28, the Jameel Arts & Health Lab, in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO), New York University, and CULTURUNNERS, brought to the forefront the significant role of arts in addressing climate change and global health issues.

The Lab hosted the COP28 Healing Arts Week from December 1 to 3, showcasing a series of events aimed at highlighting the arts’ contribution to human and planetary health. This included a high-level panel discussion in the COP28 Green Zone, a youth-centered live dialogue at the Jameel Arts Centre, and a private reception held by Community Jameel and the WHO Foundation to honor the Lab’s efforts in integrating arts, health, and climate concerns.

At the reception, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of WHO, praised the intersection of arts and health, noting the arts’ potential in enhancing community well-being and emphasizing the need to understand this impact scientifically to benefit people from diverse backgrounds.

The culmination of the Lab’s COP28 program was part of a three-month series of ‘listening sessions’ focused on arts, health, and climate. These sessions began at the Lincoln Center in New York City during UNGA Healing Arts Week and included participation in various global forums.

A key event was the live recording session of the Community Jameel x Afikra Conversation Series, where stakeholders discussed the arts’ impact on health and climate, emphasizing the arts’ role in translating scientific knowledge into compelling narratives that can reshape values and behaviors.

Panelists at various sessions included notable figures like Stephen Stapleton, co-founder of the Jameel Arts & Health Lab; Dr. Nisha Sajnani, Associate Professor at New York University; and various artists and researchers. Discussions ranged from leveraging artistic expressions to address climate change’s health impacts to coping with eco-anxiety and fostering a culture of sustainability.

Significant discussions also took place on December 2nd and 3rd, featuring panels on biodiversity and the role of arts in communicating climate science effectively.

The Jameel Arts & Health Lab’s participation in COP28 was a significant part of WHO’s 75th-anniversary celebrations, marking a series of global events under the WHO75 Healing Arts programme. This program has been instrumental in integrating arts into health discourse, with events held worldwide throughout the year.

The establishment of the Jameel Arts & Health Lab in January this year marks a collaborative effort between WHO, NYU, Community Jameel, and CULTURUNNERS. The lab is focused on researching and promoting the effectiveness of arts in improving health and well-being, particularly in overlooked and underserved communities. This initiative represents a novel approach in global health policy, integrating artistic expression with scientific research to address pressing health and environmental challenges.


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