Belfast has been honoured with a UNESCO Learning City Award for 2021 in recognition for its work promoting lifelong learning across the city.
This award acknowledges the vast spectrum of work that is underway in our schools, colleges, and universities as well as in our community organisations and our social spaces.
Lord Mayor of Belfast Councillor Kate Nicholl accepted the award on behalf of the city and said: “I am delighted that Belfast has been recognised globally for the commitment the city has in the promotion of education at every age.
“Learning has the potential to transform lives for the better, to enhance quality of life, build better relationships and to create economic prosperity for all. There are many excellent learning opportunities in Belfast but not everyone can avail of them – many people face barriers to accessing opportunities including poor health, lack of confidence, lack of childcare or poor support networks.
“In 2018 when we joined the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities, we had a vision to use learning to tackle inequalities. As a learning city, Belfast has committed to work in partnership with our city stakeholders to develop a learning city plan which will address barriers to learning and extend opportunities to all citizens in the city, regardless of age or background, and deliver a better city for all.
“It is really encouraging that our progress so far has been recognised and we look forward to progressing the lifelong journey for everyone in our city with the support and guidance from the UNESCO network and the models of good practice.”
Director of UNESCO, David Atchoarena congratulated Belfast and said: “Congratulations to Belfast for the outstanding progress made in providing lifelong learning opportunities to citizens. Belfast uses learning to tackle inequalities and improve quality of life for all citizens in an excellent way. Under the umbrella of a Learning Charter, employment training academies offer support for unemployed and hard to reach groups. A culture of lifelong learning is what we need in a rapidly changing world where it is essential to give all citizens a chance to contribute to serving local and global issues. Congratulations again to Belfast- I am delighted for the city!”
The UNESCO Learning Cities Award was established to further promote lifelong learning for all age groups and showcase good practices in building learning cities. It is conferred on cities who have demonstrated outstanding progress in this area.
FALNI wishes to extend its congratulations to all those who have worked so hard and tirelessly over the years to build a learning city in Belfast and whose efforts are now rightly recognised by this award.