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Belfast learning from UNESCO

14 Sep 2017
Lord Mayor, Nuala McAllister, wished ‘bon voyage’ today to local delegates travelling to Cork for the Third International Conference on Learning Cities after she signed Belfast’s application to join the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities.

The UNESCO network is an international policy-oriented network for inspiration, know-how and best practice for developing learning cities. It will provide Belfast with access to experts from across the world and also allow it to showcase how we are using learning to address inequalities and make life better for everyone in the city.

The Belfast Strategic Partnership, made up of Belfast City Council, the Public Health Agency and the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust is taking forward the application as a follow-on from its previous work focusing on learning to address inequalities which includes the Learning Charter for Belfast and the Belfast Festival of Learning.

Four delegates from the city have been invited to the first International Learning Cities Conference to take place in Ireland and are hoping to establish links that will boost Belfast’s ability to develop as a Learning City.

“Life is getting better in Belfast, but inequalities in the living experience mean not everyone is benefitting from that improvement. We have to work together to address these inequalities and ensure that opportunities are open to as many people as possible,” said the Lord Mayor.

“Learning can help us develop emotional resilience allowing us to cope better in difficult times, create access to more and better jobs, build good relations, support a more inclusive society and empower individuals to reach their full potential,” added Councillor McAllister.

The International Conference on Learning Cities taking place in Cork between 18-20 September is the first time the event has been held in Europe.

Speaking on behalf of BSP, Danny Power, Chair of Lifelong Learning Group said: “We are sending a delegation to the International Conference on Learning Cities so that we can build contacts and learn as much as possible as we go forward with our application to join the network.

“It is an opportunity to hear about best practice and really examine first-hand what works best and what might be adaptable for Belfast. We also want to showcase what Belfast has to offer as a Learning City and perhaps form partnerships with other cities to allow us to take forward more Learning projects.

“Collaboration to address inequality is important not only on a local basis but internationally too it is important to benefit from the research and work that is being done across the world.”

Belfast learning from Unesco Belfast learning from Unesco group signing application