2015 Press Releases

UNESCO Learning City Award for Cork

2 Oct 2015
Cork City (Photo: Fáilte Ireland/Brian Lynch)

Cork City is to receive a UNESCO Learning City Award at the UNESCO International Conference on Learning Cities in Mexico City. UCC is one of four partners in the Cork Learning City initiative. 

11 other international cities will also receive the award, with 600 political leaders, mayors, city education executives and civil society representatives from more than 90 countries set to attend the conference.

In July 2015, UCC President Dr Michael Murphy signed a memorandum of understanding to advance the UNESCO Declaration on Building Learning Cities with Cork City Council, Cork Institute of Technology and Cork Education and Training Board.

In committing UCC to working with all parties in Cork City to promote Cork as a UNESCO Learning City, Professor John O’Halloran, Vice President for Teaching and Learning at UCC said:

“We fully support lifelong learning and putting the citizen at the centre of both formal and informal learning.”

This initiative builds on the 2014 decision of Cork City Council to formally adopt the UNESCO Beijing Declaration on Building Learning Cities, which was passed during the first UNESCO Conference on Learning Cities in 2013.

Sonja Hyland, Ireland’s Ambassador to Mexico is to formally welcome the Cork delegation. Cork has been selected as one of only three European cities (along with Swansea in the UK and Espoo in Finland) to be showcased in a book entitled Unlocking the Potential of Urban Communities: Case Studies of Twelve Learning Cities, which will be launched during the conference (available here as pdf).

In Cork, a steering group called Growing Learning in Cork (GLiC) is driving the project, which includes representatives of the institutions that signed the memorandum together with statutory, private and civil society groups.

The Cork delegation attending the UNESCO conference includes: Dr Séamus Ó Tuama, Director of Adult Continuing Education (ACE) representing UCC; Willie McAuliffe of Cork Education and Training Board, co-chair of GLiC and Tina Neylon, Co-ordinator of the Cork Lifelong Learning Festival, who was involved in the drafting of the UNESCO Beijing Declaration.

The initial stages of the UNESCO designation were laid in 2002 when Cork City Council adopted the Imagine Our Future strategy. Since 2004, Cork’s Lifelong Learning Festival has proved to be one of the most powerful means of implementing that aspiration.

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