PARIS — The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has included the Armenian city of Dilijan among its Global Network of Learning Cities (GNLC), the organization said in a statement.
Dilijan thus joins a dynamic network of cities worldwide that support and accelerate the practice of lifelong learning in the world’s communities, while promoting policy dialogue and peer learning among member cities through forged links and fostered partnerships that promote the progress of the learning cities, says a press release by the organization.
“It is a great honor for all Dilijan residents to receive such a coveted recognition from UNESCO as Dilijan continues to offer pioneering educational programs for preparing our citizens for the 21st century learning,” said Dilijan community center program director, Rubina Ter-Martirosyan, who was instrumental in Dilijan’s selection as a GNLC member.
“Dilijan has become the designated site for such local and international learning centers as UWC Dilijan College, Central Bank of Armenia’s Training and Research Center, American University of Armenia, Tumo Center for Creative Technologies, the Dilijan Community Center as well as many artistic venues. All this culminated in the launch of the first Dilijan Arts Observatory this year,” Dilijan Mayor Armen Santrosyan added.
Arne Carlsen, Director of the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning, commended Dilijan’s “vision, planning and implementation of the learning city concept” in a letter of recognition and expressed eagerness to learn about Dilijan’s future developments.
Veronika Zonabend, co-founder of UWC Dilijan and the Dilijan Development Foundation which supports Dilijan Community Center and other regional projects, stated: “The goal of our foundation is to return to Dilijan its fame and further develop it into an educational, cultural and recreational regional hub. And this international recognition is an important step towards this goal.”
Inclusion in the Network will help Dilijan achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education while promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all its citizens. Additionally, Dilijan will be listed amongst other world cities recognized as a UNESCO GNLC.
Gagik Adibekyan, co-founder of the Dilijan Development Foundation and founding-partner of UWC Dilijan College stated, “We live in a complex, fast changing world, in which the competitiveness and economic growth of the country depend heavily on the quality of education. I am certain that Dilijan’s entry into the Global Network of Learning Cities will contribute to solving the important task of turning Dilijan into the educational hub of Armenia.”
Currently, there are more than 1,000 cities and communities worldwide that have become or are in the process of becoming learning/educating cities. These cities benefit from participating in international policy dialogue, action research, capacity building and peer learning, and effectively using learning city approaches to promote lifelong learning for their citizens. UNESCO established the Global Network of Learning Cities (GNLC) to encourage the growth of learning cities, accelerating the practice of lifelong learning in the world’s metropolitan areas.