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Miguel A. San Joaquin, founder and CEO of POLO Stories

Miguel A. San Joaquín is the Founder and Film Director of POLO Stories. He is also the author of “Reflections on Love” and “The Inspiring Mile”. Miguel is a former scholar at the University of Oxford, and diplomat at the World Bank, where he worked as a Senior Economist, spending over a decade in Africa and Asia. All revenue generated through his novels will be used to finance the POLO Stories Foundation.



Farwiza Farhan


Leuser was a challenging landscape to work in, and even more difficult to film in – location were spread across the province and connectivity are incredibly limited. Yet albeit all these challenges, Miguel was patient, wise and wonderful to work with. He is respectful of the conditions, the communities we are working with and the team that supported the work. I am thoroughly enjoyed working with Miguel and delighted to have our stories featured in this series.

Laura Babahekian

Underwater film director

It has been a pleasure to be a part of Polo Stories. I have come to realize the importance of sharing the story I carry with me. I spent two wonderful weeks there. Together, we braved strong rains, winds, and waves, even when going diving. Working with Miguel was fantastic. He has a great sense of humor, is respectful, and highly professional. He is also flexible. What truly makes him different is his passion for what he does, and it shines through. He inspired me to keep sharing my story and to believe in my dreams.

Pushpa Palanchoke


We had a very shaky start in the filming. Some fifteen of us were prepared for the film, dressed in our traditional attires, just before sunrise in a temple. However, we had to postpone the scheduled filming upon the passing of one of our masters in the community. This was not a good sign for the first day of shooting our POLO documentary. But Miguel supported us morally and, playing down the importance of the filming, actively partook in the mourning process. I was very intrigued by Miguel’s dedication, so I asked him about the meaning of ‘POLO Stories’. Smiling, he told me that – as far as he was concerned that day – it meant ‘made for Puspha’. In the days that followed, I really did begin to feel like POLO Stories had been made just for me. The filming gave me an opportunity to reflect on my work, my personal relationships, my values and aspirations, and it gave my community the chance to voice its concerns strongly. I already see in myself an added confidence, enthusiasm and faithfulness in the work that I’ve been doing.

Ncazelo Ncube

Global leader in mental heatlh therapy

My journey with POLO stories was a real adventure. I was quite anxious because I had never been involved in the making of a professional film. But from my first meeting with Miguel I learnt how much he values each project and how meticulously he plans each detail to ensure the filming runs smoothly. On a personal level I felt quite connected to Miguel right from the start. His 15 years living in Africa helped much in that: he has an African soul! He is so warm, respectful and kind… What stayed with me the most is his sense of humor. Our evenings after the filming were filled with laughter. POLO Stories helped make my activism visible in a world where many women can go unnoticed. I felt honored and validated and got inspiration to keep journeying forward and to continue to contribute to making the world a better place. I am confident that through this project the world will see us and support us to do more for women and children affected by violence and abuse.

Hasina Kharbhih

Global leader against human trafficking

The film made by POLO Stories perfectly captures my 32-year journey as a social entrepreneur in the human rights space, with artistic cinematography and narratives that stick in the hearts and minds of the viewers. Miguel´s ability to communicate social issues by appealing to the emotions of his audience is exceptional. His artistic process possesses the magic of humanizing issues in ways that are often difficult to put into words. It has been a pleasure knowing Miguel, who is truly dedicated to using his professional and artistic experience to amplify women’s stories, and I continue to work alongside him to conceptualize new projects long after the release of our film. It is a real honor for me to be featured in the first POLO Women Stories documentary, and the film has indeed reached out to many audiences and created more interest on the value and impact of our work.

Gloria Bermudez

Librarian and entrepreneur

The documentary has been the gateway for many people to learn about our projects in the midst of this deep area of Colombia. We are very grateful to see how POLO Stories captured all this with the lenses of magical realism, which resonates so much with us and Colombia. Thanks for bringing color and new opportunities to our endeavors!

Zerka Tahir


When Miguel said he wanted to tell my story I had the urge to look over my shoulder. I thought he must have meant someone else. I never considered myself as doing something remarkable. Well… that was what I thought until Miguel showed it to me through his own lens. We talked for hours on FaceTime and then in person. His extensive experience in global development meant he offered articulate, probing questions and observations that helped improve my work substantially. Just like the bird taking flight from the domes of Badshahi Mosque captured by his camera, I too have felt this need to take flight and introduce the world to Communal Hubs. POLO Stories has given the Communal Hubs a global platform that we did not have access to before. And I feel this is only the prologue. There are many more tales to follow and I hope POLO Stories will be there to capture them mid-flight.

Tina Chertova

Graffiti artist & activist

I was very happy to be a part of this amazing project showcasing inspiring and powerful women. Since I was filmed, many more people around the world know about my work. The film was a great experience that has connected me with many more people.

Baia Abuladze

Wine producer & entrepreneur

Interacting with Miguel and POLO Stories was a very stimulating process for me. I love Miguel´s inner motivation for doing this: his mother. It resonates much with my own inner drives for doing what I do in life. Working with Miguel was a lot of fun. He has plenty of experience and made me feel very comfortable. We not only spoke about how to film all this but about the process of creating wine, as he is a producer himself in Mallorca. Since the film was made, we are getting more calls and visits from clients all over the world, who were fascinated by the documentary and want to visit Georgia and try our wines.

Manana Tevzadze

Cultural heritage conservationist

I feel very privileged to be chosen as one of the POLO Inspiring Women for Georgia and to be given the opportunity to raise visibility of my work preserving the cultural heritage of Georgia. I am happy that through this film the wider global audience will get to know more about Georgia and its culture and heritage, but most of all, that it conveys the aspiration of the Georgian people, both historically and presently, to return to the European family. The process of filming and the preparation for it was a lot of pleasure and fun, as it allowed for self-reflection, and creation of cherishable memories with new friends – Miguel and all the wonderful women featured in the film.

Maia Tskhvaradze

Director of Climate Change, Ministry

Being filmed by POLO Women Powered Stories was an amazing experience and an honor for me. It was interesting to see how five women with such different backgrounds are all striving towards building a new Georgia, so far mainly male-dominated. Before meeting Miguel, I did not think of myself as someone doing something remarkable in life. But he showed us all that every story matters, if you do it with love and dedication.


The trailer of

Echoes from the Himalayas

Filmed in Nepal

Pushpa, the first ethnomusicologist of Nepal, is exploring every corner of the Himalayas in search of the most ancestral music in her country.

The trailer of

Painting the Walled City of Lahore

Filmed in Pakistan

Zerka is transforming a red light area of Lahore, Pakistan, and bringing light where there were shadows before.

The trailer of

G for Georgia

Filmed in Georgia

Five inspiring women are transforming Georgia, steering the country towards modern times in the most colorful way.

The trailer of

El Laboratorio del Espíritu

Filmed in Colombia

Gloria and Mirella, victims of the war against Pablo Escobar, are nowadays revolutionizing the way young people in Medellín live.

The trailer of

Two Trains

Filmed in India

Hasina Kharbhih is an Indian activist that has risked her life since the age of 17 to free women and children from human trafficking.

The trailer of

The Caravan of Joy & Tears

Filmed in South Africa

Ncazelo worked for Nelson Mandela and is now using extraordinary approaches to help entire communities combat gender-based violence.