December 2022
Dear Reader,

Welcome to the winter edition of the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities (GNLC) newsletter. 

We are delighted to share with you the recent activities and events that demonstrate the progress and dynamism of the network, including a visit by mayors from the Republic of Korea to UNESCO learning cities in Germany and France and the key messages arising from the side event, ‘Greening TVET, adult learning and education’ organised by UIL at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 27). In addition, we share information about the upcoming International Day of Education, which we hope you will celebrate with us. 

In this newsletter, you will also find information on recent publications, updates on the work of the UNESCO GNLC, and upcoming events.

Wishing you an enjoyable read and a happy holiday season!
Call to action: Celebrate International Education Day with us!
We warmly invite all UNESCO learning cities to mark International Day of Education on 24 January 2023 with us. This year’s theme is ‘to invest in people, prioritize education’, and aims to remind the world that education must become a primary focus if we are to accelerate progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
We encourage you to commemorate this important day by, for example, organizing a local event, publishing a press release about the importance of lifelong learning for your city, launching a photo competition or publicly showcasing your learning city’s programmes.
Don’t forget to inform us about your city’s initiatives for this day as soon as possible so that they can be featured on UNESCO and UIL communication channels ( The concept note for this year’s International Day of Education, and a draft press release and social media posts can be found on the GNLC Trello Board.
Learn more
Mayors from the Republic of Korea visit UNESCO learning cities in Germany and France for strategic exchange
In November 2022, mayors from seven Korean cities travelled through Germany and France for a strategic exchange with UNESCO learning cities, and the Learning Planet Institute and UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. Coordinated by the Korean Association of Lifelong Learning Cities (KALLC), the Chair of the Korea Foundation for Lifelong Education Un Shil Choi and UIL, the visits to the UNESCO learning cities of Bonn, Hamburg and Évry-Courcouronnes enabled mayors to learn about the lifelong learning strategies and programmes being implemented there and provided them with an opportunity to share their own expertise. A partnership agreement between UIL and KALLC was signed to further strengthen collaboration between the Institute and the Republic of Korea’s learning cities.
Learn more
Lifelong learning essential for climate action, COP27 side event underlines
‘Lifelong learning is key to climate action,’ underlined Niels Annen, Parliamentary State Secretary to the German Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, at the beginning of the COP 27 side event, ‘Greening TVET, adult learning and education’, on 9 November 2022. The event, organized by UIL, the UNESCO Cairo Office and the UNESCO-UNEVOC International Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training, brought together speakers who shared insights on their strategies and programmes to promote youth and adult non-formal and informal learning for climate action.
Learn more
Launch of UIL’s Making Lifelong Learning a Reality: A Handbook

UIL launched Making Lifelong Learning a Reality: A Handbook, during this year’s International Conference on Adult Learning and Education (CONFINTEA VII) in June 2022. It provides information, evidence, and basic conceptual models to facilitate the implementation of lifelong learning in national and local settings.  The local level is discussed through a presentation of the learning city approach. This should be an interesting read for all members of the UNESCO GNLC. Learn more.
Webinar series on ‘Lifelong learning for health: Enacting the Yeonsu Declaration for learning cities’
On 16 November 2022, in collaboration with the UNESCO Chair on Global Health and Education (GHE), UIL organized the third webinar in its three-part series entitled ‘Lifelong learning for health: Enacting the Yeonsu Declaration for learning cities’. The webinar, ‘Lifelong learning for health policy implementation and visibility’, drew over 100 participants and examined how lifelong learning for health (LLLH) policies can be promoted by building intersectoral taskforces as well as LLLH outreach programmes. It featured presentations from GNLC member cities Al-Rayyan (Qatar), Nairobi (Kenya) and Yeonsu (Republic of Korea), who have been at the forefront of LLLH policy implementation. The UNESCO Chair on GHE and the webinar’s keynote speaker, Didier Jourdan, Professor and Chair holder, highlighted the importance of strengthening the monitoring and evaluation of LLLH and enhancing policy visibility.
The third webinar can be viewed here. This three-part webinar series will result in a final co-created roadmap for the enactment of the Yeonsu Declaration for Learning Cities.
Learning cities celebrate World Cities Day with a high-level meeting of mayors
Over 200 representatives and mayors of learning cities from around the world took part in a highly successful webinar event to mark World Cities Day on 31 October 2022. As part of the programme, new cities were welcomed into the GNLC and were given an overview of the network’s activities and members’ experiences. The one-day event comprised four webinars across four regional time zones. Each webinar started with welcome messages from selected mayors, after which the mayors of the newly added GNLC members presented their visions to promote lifelong learning in their cities. Participants also learned more about the GNLC clusters and shared examples of best practice in online breakout rooms divided by cluster themes, namely education for sustainable development, planning, education for global citizenship and inclusion, and health and well-being. You can watch the event on UIL’s YouTube channel, here.
From the GNLC coordination team
Progress Reports 2020-2022
GNLC Members prepare a progress report every two years detailing the implementation of their learning city strategy. This year, this provision concerns the 54 cities that joined the GNLC in 2020.  These reports highlight cities’ achievements and document effective policies and programmes. The full list of GNLC members who are requested to submit their reports can be found here. The deadline for submission has been extended to Friday, 13 January 2023.
Learn more
Learning cities in action 
Communal Learning Days
Mayo-Baléo  (Cameroon)
7 November-2 December 2022

From 7 November to 2 December 2022, the City of Mayo-Baléo (Cameroon) organized ‘Les journées communales d’apprentissage’ (communal learning days), offering all citizens the opportunity to learn with local artisans, covering skills including basketry (weaving baskets, traditional henhouses, mats), pottery, as well as heritage music (handling and maintaining traditional instruments and learning traditional dances). This event aimed to encourage the transfer of craft experiences between generations but also to promote the notion of living together, recognizing the value of local materials, and to stimulate employment. A ceremony marked the end of this month of learning, during which the results of the final tests of each workshop were published and symbolic rewards were distributed.
Arab States
National technical workshop for lifelong learning strategies in Egyptian cities
Aswan (Arab Republic of Egypt)
3-5 October 2022

From 3 to 5 October 2022, the UNESCO Regional Office for Science in the Arab States, together with UIL, Egypt’s Ministry of Local Development, and with the support of Aswan City, organized a hybrid national technical workshop, which was attended by four Egyptian members of the GNLC: Aswan, Giza, Damietta and Fayoum. The workshop’s aim was to enhance local capacities to embed lifelong learning practices through the development of comprehensive city strategies and action plans that respond to learner and community needs. Through a series of training activities, the cities’ representatives worked collaboratively in groups to map their cities’ characteristics and challenges and to determine appropriate lifelong learning priorities to overcome the latter. The outcomes of the group work shaped a forward-looking strategic document, which will be used as a basis for follow-up activities. Learn more.
Europe and North America
Larissa’s (Greece) participation in the Global Learning Festival
Vannes (France)
6-7 November 2022

The municipality of Larissa, Greece, organized two events as part of the Global Learning Festival hosted in November by Melton and Wyndham, Australia (see below). The first of these, held in collaboration with Thessaly Theatre on 6 November, explored how to understand democracy through ancient tragedy, and how this relationship speaks to the modern context. A day later, the municipality presented a short video on the topic of ‘How can I become an active citizen in my city?’, which was proceeded by an open discussion on local government and active citizenship. Learn more.
Latin America and the Caribbean
New Learning Cities membership award event 
Queretaro (Mexico)
30 November 2022

On 30 November, the City of Queretaro held a celebratory event wherein it and the City of Pachuca de Soto were recognized by UNESCO as new members of the GNLC. Together with General Escobedo (Nuevo León, Mexico), Queretaro and Pachuca de Soto are now part of the GNLC’s 294-strong network across 76 countries. The event was attended by Mr Raúl Valdés Cotera, who leads UIL’s Skills Throughout Life programme. He noted during his presentation that one of the Mexican GNLC members’ primary strengths is that stakeholders work collectively and learn from each other, with a clearly articulated participatory approach carried out by the municipality, academia and social organizations in order to build a more inclusive and sustainable society. We are excited for the contributions of these new members to the GNLC. Learn more.
Asia and the Pacific
The Global Learning Festival 
Melton and Wyndham (Australia) 
6-9 November 2022

Between 6 and 9 November 2022, the GNLC cities of Melton and Wyndham, Australia, hosted their annual Global Learning Festival. This digital festival featured a variety of learning cities and organizations, connecting individuals from across the world to experience first-hand the benefits that lifelong learning can bring. Topics ranged from twenty-first century learning skills to inspiring young entrepreneurs, and a number of these sessions can be re-watched on the Global Learning Festival website. Learn more.

2022 UNESCO GNLC Webinar
Goyang (Republic of Korea)
15 December 2022

On 15 December 2022, a webinar looking over the past year’s GNLC activities was hosted by UIL in collaboration with the City of Goyang, Republic of Korea. Welcome addresses by the Mayor of Goyang, Dong Hwang Lee, and UIL Team Leader Raúl Valdes Cortera were followed by presentations on UNESCO GNLC activities in 2022. UIL’s Skills Throughout Life team members Alex Howells, Edith Hammer and Marie Macauley were joined by Cadi Ayyad University Professor Fatima Zohra Iflahen (Marrakech, Morocco); Wyndham City Council’s Sharyn Wheatcroft (Wyndham, Australia); and Head of Larissa Municipality Lifelong Learning Department’s Kleoniki Tsiougou and Member of Larissa Municipality Lifelong Learning Department’s Vicky Goutha (both Larissa, Greece). The webinar was a celebration of the variety and nature of GNLC progress over the past 12 months and was widely attended by members of the network.
Upcoming Events
Regional conference in Queretaro, Mexico 
22 to 24 February 2023
International Education Day 2023
24 January 2023
Learn more
External articles

COP27: Equipping Today’s Cities for Tomorrow’s Climate Crises

Sustainable Cities With a Soul 

Needing No Less Than a Revolution – Building For a Sustainable Future Climate

Smart cities will be smart if they bridge the digital divide
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