UNESCO's conference on learning cities opens in Incheon's Yeonsu-gu

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UNESCO’s conference on learning cities opens in Incheon’s Yeonsu-gu
Representatives from the host city of Yeonsu-gu and UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning sign a memorandum of understanding on Wednesday.(Yeonsu-gu office)The fifth UNESCO International Conference on Learning Cities, hosted by Incheon’s Yeonsu-gu, began its four-day run Wednesday.

The international event is being held at Songdo Convensia in Yeonsu-gu under the theme of “From emergency to resilience: Building healthy and resilient cities through learning.”

The conference comes at a critical juncture with an aim of discussing global health education in cities, their responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, and actions to improve resilience in the face of future crises.

Participants will shed light on the significance of distance education in the post-pandemic era and share their views on ways to provide global health education and respond to crises, the Yeonsu-gu office said in a press statement on Wednesday.

Experts will also discuss how to bring about a shift in the educational paradigm in the COVID-19 pandemic era during the conference, which comprises 24 sessions covering diverse topics.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, around 200 local and foreign personnel, including David Atchoarena, director of the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning, and officials representing cities from 24 countries, are participating in in-person events.

The fifth International Conference on Learning Cities officially commenced Wednesday morning with a press conference attended by director Atchoarena and Ko Nam-seok, mayor of the host city Yeonsu-gu.

Director Atchoarena said he hopes the international conference can contribute to improving the current situation where the COVID-19 pandemic has created challenges to providing education.

In his opening remarks, Mayor Ko underscored the importance of building a new paradigm to improve the resilience in the cities vis-a-vis wide-ranging global issues.

“We need to establish a new paradigm to create resilient cities based on continuous learning and exchanges,” Ko said, explaining that the conference will provide a platform for participating learning cities to move forward.

On Wednesday, UNESCO learning cities from the Asia Pacific gathered for a regional meeting. Foreign officials and South Korean representatives also took part in the Mayor’s Forum physically and virtually.

The opening ceremony will be held on Thursday with South Korean Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Yoo Eun-hae and former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon delivering a speech.

On the same day, participants will discuss ways to establish a new paradigm of health education in the post-pandemic era and strengthen the resilience of cities during the plenary sessions.

Yeonsu-gu was selected to host the UNESCO’s fifth International Conference on Learning Cities in December 2020, after being approved to join the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities in 2018.

The biennial conference is organized by the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning and held around the world, with the goal of promoting lifelong learning at a local level to stimulate the sustainable development of participating cities.

By Ji Da-gyum and Lee Hong-seok (dagyumji@heraldcorp.com) (gilbert@heraldcorp.com)

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