Unesco has included Qatar’ Al-Sheehaniya, along with 54 other cities from 27 countries, in its Global Network of Learning Cities (GNLC), it was announced.
Unesco’s Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) director David Atchoarena told Gulf Times that the municipality seeks to provide a nourishing environment for all of its citizens, contributing to the development of society.
Al-Sheehaniya was recognised as an outstanding example of how lifelong learning can become a reality at local level.
According to Unesco, all new GNLC members have proven that effective lifelong learning policies and practices can support the development of inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable cities and contribute to the 2030 Agenda.
“A particular feature of Al-Sheehaniya surely is its work on environmental education for citizens of all ages. Various projects such as the plant a tree initiative, environmental awareness raising programmes in educational institutions and via mass media and much more are truly exemplary,” he said, stressing that many GNLC members will learn from such initiatives.
“Al-Sheehaniya Municipality applies the strategy of Qatar National Vision 2030 aiming to build a prosperous and developed society, and seeks to promote a culture of lifelong learning that helps the community to face challenges,” director Jabir al-Jabir said in a statement.
The inclusion of the new cities to GNLC brings the total number of members to 230 in 64 countries. UIL, as co-ordinator of the network, admitted the new members following their nomination by the National Commissions for Unesco in the countries concerned.
Once admitted, cities are expected to participate in the activities of the network and to produce a biennial report outlining their achievements as learning cities. The new member cities will be presented in an online event on September 23.
“With unprecedented urgency, the Covid-19 pandemic has underlined the necessity to build more resilient education systems for the future. With more than half of humanity living in urban areas, cities must be at the centre of this undertaking”, Atchoarena said.
“During the pandemic, Unesco learning cities from around the world have shown that they are well placed to make lifelong learning a reality, also under harsh conditions. I warmly welcome the city of Al-Sheehaniya and the further new members of GNLC and very much look forward to working with them on further advancing our goal of ensuring lifelong learning for all,” he added.
The Unesco GNLC is an international policy-oriented network geared towards knowledge production and sharing, peer learning and capacity-building. The members benefit from sharing lifelong learning policies and practices with other cities in the network, developing and exchanging knowledge on key challenges and solutions, taking part in training initiatives, and participation in regional and global events.
Within the framework of the strategy for 2019–2021, the activities of the network focus on seven key priorities: education for sustainable development; equity and inclusion; educational planning, monitoring and evaluation; education for global citizenship; entrepreneurship; learning for health and well-being; and literacy.