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Cork- A Learning City- Awarded by UNESCO October 2015

Cork is one of twelve cities in the world awarded ‘Learning City’ by UNESCO in October 2015.

Others include;

Melton (Australia), Sorocaba (Brazil), Beijing (China), Bahir, Dar (Ethiopia), Espoo (Finland), Amman (Jordan), Mexico City (Mexico), Ybycuí (Paraguay), Balanga (Philippines),Namyangju (Republic of Korea), Swansea (Wales).

Cork City is committed to creating an inclusive, sustainable Learning City for everyone, throughout their lives. Through strategic partnerships, long term planning &
multi agency cooperation these efforts have been recognised by UNESCO, as the only Irish city to achieve Learning City status. Under the guidance of GLLIC, (Growning Lifelong Learning in Cork) Cork City Council, Cork Education and Training Board, UCC, CIT and Healthy Cities has been committed to developing Cork as a learning city. The process commenced in 2002. Cork has developed many initiatives that work towards this aspiration. One of these is the Lifelong Learning Festival, which runs annually and has grown each year since its establishment in 2004. Furthermore, Cork enjoys an international profile as a learning city thanks to its membership of PASCAL International Exchanges (PIE), a project that fosters exchange on lifelong learning between local, community and city organizations throughout the world. In 2014, the City Council formally adopted the Beijing Declaration on Building Learning Cities. The main motives behind Cork’s decision to become a learning city were to encourage investment, increase employment and improve the lives of the city’s residents by reducing inequality and social exclusion.


Cork Learning Cities Group - Our plan:

  • Set up a cross-sectoral learning city steering committee to oversee the development and implementation of a learning city plan.
  • Consult widely in the development of a learning city plan.
  • Promote an awareness and understanding of the concept of ‘learning city’ across all sectors through the media, hosting of learning seminars and international exchanges.
  • Build accessible technological platforms across all forms of education and learning.
  • Link this work and strategy to other Cork city strategies, e.g. green, smart and learning – taking an EcCoWeLL approach, which offers a creative means of integrating, thinking and planning across the fields of economics, the environment, health, learning and social inclusion.
  • Network with other learning cities around the globe.

Benefits of working & living in a Learning City:


  • The Cork City Development Plan 2015 - 2021 identifies the enhancement of skills and human, capital as critical for stimulating the city’s economy.
  • Building a learning city across sectors and partnerships plays a key role in meeting the city’s economic and developmental goals.
  • A learning city is one which harnesses and integrates economic, political, educational, social, cultural and environmental structures towards developing the talents and human potential of all its citizens.

What we hope to achieve:


  • A well developed learning city 3 year plan that is SMART.
  • Increase awareness and engagement of all sectors in Cork as a learning city.
  • Increase awareness and on-line, interactive access to information related to all education, training and learning opportunities for Cork.
  • Contribute to greater integration of economic, educational, cultural, environmental and social development for all of Cork’s citizens and residents.
  • Share learning and good practice with other learning cities.

How you can get involved?

GLLIC is conducting an audit of all the formal & non formal education & training courses availabile to citizens in Cork. We want to identify the learning pathways your organisation uses. Sign up to our Lifetime Learning Charter. Demonstrate that your organisation supports & promotes the professional & educational development of your members, staff and users of services.

More information can be found on