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All-Island Network of Learning Cities

2019-05-13-Signing-Cities-of-Learning-32-8995

Symbolic signing of All island Learning City Charter an act of solidarity and peace building at a time of political challenge 

The Learning City Charter involves cities from across the island of Ireland in Dublin, Cork, Limerick & Derry

Dublin, 13th May 2019  Lord Mayor of Dublin, Nial Ring, joined counterparts from Limerick, Cork and Derry in signing the Learning City charter to work together and to support each other through a programme of exchanges between their Learning Cities. Each of these cities, together with Belfast, is committed to following the UNESCO programme for Learning Cities and has in the past six months formed an all island network to support each other in these efforts. 

This charter is in the form of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and is a form of voluntary commitment, signed by the mayors on behalf of their cities.

‘The Irish Network has been a great help to us in Dublin and a great way to get advice, to motivate us, and a safe place for us to share the challenges we faced in our first year of being involved and in the running of our first Learning Festival’ Dublin Learning City Co-Chair Trevor Purtill remarked. 

The timing of this initiative is significant in that it provides for city to city co-operation and links across the island at a time of uncertainty across the European Union caused by Brexit, and by the recent renewal of violence in the North, 21 years since the Good Friday Agreement.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor John Boyle, said the new all-Ireland charter would place the focus on creating new opportunity and a brighter future through learning.

“I’m delighted to see the establishment of a national network of cities committed to the UNESCO ethos of promoting learning. While there are many cities around the world involved in the wider network, this MOU will strengthen our ties on a more localized level, creating new partnerships and fostering a culture and standard of skills and education that is consistent and appealing to people who wish to study and work closer to home. Our aim is to promote lifelong learning for all, mobilizing resources in every sector to promote inclusive learning right through from basic to higher education.”

‘This MOU signing is an important step along the road that we all share, as it brings political support at the highest levels to our shared work to develop our cities as places where all learning, lifelong and lifewide, for all ages, interests and abilities is promoted and celebrated’ Cork Learning City Co-ordinator Denis Barrett said.

We in Limerick see this as an important way to continue the work to implement the UNESCO Beijing Declaration on Building Learning Cities’ Deputy Mayor Eddie Ryan of Limerick City and County stated.

The signing, which took place in the Dunamaise Arts Centre in Portlaoise, a neutral venue in the centre of the island was described by Willie McAuliffe, Cork Learning City Co-Chair as a symbolic event.

All of these cities, with Belfast, as members of the Irish Learning City Network endeavour to create an island of learning, ensuring opportunities for accessible, life-long learning throughout Ireland.