Dublin City of Learning received the Learning City Award from UNESCO – The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation – at its Annual Conference of Learning Cities in Yeonsu, South Korea, 27th October 2021.
According to UNESCO, a Learning City embodies a culture of lifelong learning, promotes quality and excellence of learning, facilitates learning in the workplace and fosters an atmosphere of inclusion for all members of society at every level of education.
Speaking at the conference, Denise McMorrow, co-chair of Dublin Learning City commented ‘’We couldn’t be more delighted with the news. It’s a very prestigious award that recognises how much work has gone into creating an inclusive educational environment in our city, not just for those who can afford it, but for people from all walks of life such as early school leavers, lone parents, members of the travelling community and refugees.’’
‘’We in Dublin Learning City are committed to lifelong learning and we put the learner at the heart of all of our initiatives. I can assure you that the UNESCO Learning City Award will have huge significance to Dublin.”
The Award recognises the significant strides that Dublin Learning City has made to create an inclusive learning environment by implementing UNESCO’s Guiding Principles and Sustainable Development Goals into its best practice. In particular the fourth goal – ‘Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.’
Speaking on how UNESCO came to the decision of awarding Dublin city with the prestigious honour, Mr David Atchoarena, Director UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) stated ‘’It is Dublin city’s culture of lifelong learning, the numerous universities, the range of learners from a diverse range of cultural and ethnic backgrounds and the opportunities that are available for anyone wishing to continue their education or learn a new skill, that make Dublin Learning City the perfect candidates to receive the UNESCO Learning City Award for 2021.’’
Co-chair of Dublin Learning City, Sean Delaney also commented ‘’This is a fantastic achievement for both Dublin city and the institutions of learning that call this city home. It just shows the work that has gone into creating an inclusive and accessible environment for all when it comes to their education, even if it’s not the traditional academic route of third level education and instead takes place through other means such as the workplace or an apprenticeship.’’
Dublin Learning City, as an organisation, was established as part of a collaboration between six of Dublin’s universities – Marino Institute of Education (MIE) and Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology (IADT), University College Dublin (UCD), Trinity College Dublin (TCD), National College of Art and Design (NCAD) and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI). The organisation also collaborated with several others such as Dublin City Council, City of Dublin Education and Training Board (CDETB) and Dublin Dún Laoghaire Education and Training Board (DDLETB).