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Three day UNESCO conference in Cork comes to a close

Mayors and representatives of cities worldwide, education experts, UN representatives, the private sector, and regional, international and civil society organisations from 92 countries assembled in Cork over the last three days for the UNESCO third International Conference on Learning Cities. The conference is dedicated to achieving global goals, such as the Sustainable Development Goals, through local actions.

Cork City Council, Cork Education and Training Board, University College Cork and Cork Institute of Technology also announced the launch of a series of 'How-To' learning guides for learning cities across the world.  The Cork partners explained the theme and rationale behind these two publications - 'How to Organise a Lifelong Learning Festival' and 'Cork’s Learning Neighbourhoods'.

However,  one of the lasting memories for the 650 attendees will be the appearance on the stage of special guest, 101 years old, Cork native Mary McGrath, and the launch of the Cork Call to Action for Learning Cities Conference document .

This document, put together by the conference drafting committee, chaired by Tina Neylon (of the Cork Lifelong Learning Festival), identified actions for delegates to roll out in their home countries and cities to ensure lifelong learning for all in 2030. 

UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova said: "We need to place lifelong learning at the heart of all our work to build inclusive knowledge societies.  This is the way to unlock the potential of every society.  This is the way to bring sustainability to all development efforts. Cities have a unique role to play here".

During the closing ceremony, Lord Mayor Cllr. Tony Fitzgerald said: "It has been fantastic having this temporary community of learning cities here in Cork where we have learned together and from each other.  It is only through sharing both our successes and our failures that we can benefit from the lessons learned. During the conference, we learned about exchange as a means of increasing tolerance and reducing the divides between our cities".

Cork City Council Chief Executive, Ann Doherty said: "Cork is proud to have been the first European country to host this crucial conference on learning cities.  The conference outcomes will really set the compass to navigate the next stage of UNESCO’s lifelong learning agenda. They will inform how those cities set about meeting their targets to create sustainable cities through lifelong learning".






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