UNESCO Learning City Awards 2021 go to 10 cities worldwide for their outstanding achievements in lifelong learning, with 3 located in the Asia-Pacific

UNESCO Learning City Awards 2021 go to 10 cities worldwide for their outstanding achievements in lifelong learning, with 3 located in the Asia-Pacific

Ten cities with outstanding achievements in the implementation of UNESCO’s learning city strategies will receive the UNESCO Learning Cities Award 2021 on 27 October 2021, the first day of the fifth International Conference on Learning Cities, in Yeonsu, Republic of Korea. Whether they be a megacity or a small urban area, each of the awardees has shown how learning opportunities empower citizens of all ages when suitable policies and programmes are in place to sustain them.

The ten awardee cities are the UNESCO Learning Cities of Al Wakra (Qatar), Belfast (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland), Clermont-Ferrand (France), Damietta (Egypt), Dublin (Ireland), Huejotzingo, (Mexico), Jubail Industrial City (Saudi Arabia), Osan (Republic of Korea), Shanghai (People’s Republic of China), and Wyndham (Australia). They were selected by the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL), in Hamburg, Germany, upon the recommendation of an independent jury of international experts.

Speaking to the distinguished nature of this year’s awardees, David Atchoarena, Director of UIL, commented ahead of the awards ceremony, ‘With more than half of humanity living in urban areas, cities have a central role to play in providing learning opportunities. This year’s UNESCO Learning City Awardees enable their citizens to adapt to a rapidly changing world and acquire the knowledge necessary to act jointly to solve global challenges. Through lifelong learning they pave the way for fairer, more just and sustainable societies and a better future for all of us’!

Join the UNESCO Learning City Awards Ceremony on 27 October 2021, 18.00–20.00 GMT+9 via the Livestream: English French Spanish

The three UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities Awardees 2021 from the Asia-Pacific are:

Osan: Republic of Korea

Osan’s objective is to serve as a place ‘where citizens and learning are united’. With contributions from a broad range of learning institutions, young and old benefit from learning opportunities that focus on health and well-being, entrepreneurship, equity and inclusion, literacy, global citizenship, and sustainable development. The city’s Stepping Stone initiative is at the heart of its lifelong learning strategy: offices, churches and university spaces are used off-hours to provide citizens with venues for learning activities that are no more than a 10-minute walk from their homes. In the pre-COVID-19 period, 41,824 learners per year benefited from this initiative, as they participated in lifelong learning programmes held in 216 locations across the city.

Access the multimedia story to learn more about the UNESCO learning city of Osan

Video message by Sangwook Kwak, Mayor of Osan, Republic of Korea

Shanghai: People’s Republic of China

Shanghai has always been committed at a high level to the learning city concept. It has formed a learning city construction model characterized by ‘government promotion, department collaboration, social support and citizen participation’, providing various lifelong learning opportunities for the city's 24.8 million residents. Based on the principles of inclusiveness, openness, excellence and sustainable development, Shanghai focuses on implementing public health education, education for the elderly, vocational education and training (VET) for adults, education for sustainable development (ESD), and reading for all.

Access the multimedia story to learn more about the UNESCO learning city of Shanghai

Video message by Chen Qu, Deputy Mayor of Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

Wyndham: Australia

Lifelong learning in Wyndham is implemented by a broad network of stakeholders, ranging from the city administration to learning institutions, the private sector and the general public, among others. The City’s Learning Community Strategy 2018-2023 promotes a learning culture for more than 270,000 citizens from 162 countries, emphasising equity and inclusion as drivers of planning, engagement and delivery. With a focus on celebrating learning, Wyndham has not only hosted its own Wyndham Learning Festival for six years but also works with the Australian city of Melton to coordinate a Global Learning Festival, and has successfully collaborated with five other local governments to host a ‘Learning for Earning Festival’ with activities that help people acquire the knowledge they need to find employment and ultimately contribute to the economic and social well-being of the community. 

Access the multimedia story to learn more about the UNESCO learning city of Wyndham

Video message by Adele Hegedich, Mayor of Wyndham, Australia


These three Asia-Pacific cities join fellow awardees Al Wakra (Qatar); Belfast (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland); Clermont-Ferrand (France); Damietta (Egypt); Dublin (Ireland); Huejotzingo (Mexico); and Jubail Industrial City (Saudi Arabia).


About the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities

The UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities (GNLC) is an international, policy-oriented network providing inspiration, know-how and best practice. Members benefit from the sharing of lifelong learning policies and practices, the production and exchange of knowledge on key challenges and solutions, capacity-building and training initiatives, and participation in global events such as the International Conference on Learning Cities.

For further information:

Media contact: Katja Römer, k.roemer@unesco.org, +49 (0) 40 44 80 41 54