The second annual Time100 Gala and Impact Awards took place at Dubai’s Museum of the Future on Sunday night.
Held to spotlight, recognise and honour leaders and creatives working for innovative and tangible global change, the event had celebrities and cultural figures from across the region and around the world walking the red carpet.
They ranged from award-winning South African architect and curator of the first Islamic Arts Biennale, Sumayya Vally, to rapper and philanthropist will.i.am; and from Egyptian actress and UN aid ambassador Salma Abu Deif, to Lebanese basketball player Fadi Al Khatib.
Hosting the event was Lebanese TV presenter Raya Abirached, who as a UNHCR good-will ambassador understands the importance of recognising and highlighting people creating global change.
“We live in the Middle East and it's not always in the conversation,” Abirached told The National.
“If we don't talk about it how will our public know? We have a voice as public figures, it's important for us to use it for good. If we're not the advocates of the good messages, not a lot of people will be."
The four recipients of the Impact Awards, selected by Time, came from all over the world.
They have either been creating a real difference in their chosen fields or are notable personalities using their platform to bring awareness to pressing issues affecting the world.
Mozambican politician and humanitarian Graca Machel was honoured with an Impact Award for her social justice work and her advocacy for the global rights of women and children.
A former freedom fighter and the first education minister of Mozambique, Machel is also the widow of Nelson Mandela, with whom she co-founded The Elders, an international non-government organisation of public figures and global leaders whose goals are to work together for peace and human rights.
While still working as deputy chair of The Elders, she is also an international advocate for women's and children's rights, and was made an honorary British Dame in 1997 for her humanitarian work.
Indonesian environmentalist Farwiza Farhan was also honoured at the event.
Farhan has been fighting to protect, restore and conserve the Leuser Ecosystem in Sumatra, Indonesia, through her non-profit NGO Haka.
Standing for Hutan, Alam dan Lingkungan Aceh, which translates to Forest, Nature, and Environment of Aceh, its work delves deep into engaging and empowering the local community to protect the environment.
The recognition and award was completely “unexpected” for Farhan, who was none the less pleased that her work will highlight the importance every person has in saving the environment.
“It is not just me, it is not the work for ecologists and conservationists alone,” she said.
“It is not just work for people who love the environment. All of us need to be involved in the protection of the environment.
"I want the public to know that we own all of this together. We own this planet together, and our future is together. It's up to all of us.”
Celebrated actor Idris Elba and his wife, model, actor and presenter Sabrina Elba, were together honoured for their work as UN good-will ambassadors, and creating awareness around sustainable agriculture and climate action.
Over the years the couple have been passionate about championing efforts that are tackling issues around climate crises and food insecurity.
Filmmaker and co-founder and chief executive of Dreamworks Animation, Jeffrey Katzenberg, who is behind the animation studio's greatest franchises including Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, Madagascar and How to Train your Dragon, was honoured for his story-telling and philanthropic endeavours, chiefly as a donor and board member of WndrCo.
He was a founding partner at WndrCo in 2016, a company that invests in, acquires, develops, and operates consumer technology businesses.
Katzenberg believes that creating awareness around global challenges “has been part of the history of story-telling" and credits Walt Disney as inspirational storyteller.
“One of the lessons I learnt was from Walt Disney, in which he said that his movies were an opportunity to talk to values that he thought were important for children and the next generation,” he says.
“And I certainly have tried to do it in all of my story-telling and the movies we've made. And when you think of the impact that has had culturally is extraordinary.”