Learning cities in Greece: Lesbos joins the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities

30 June 2016

Lesbos Municipality, which is working to provide learning opportunities for all its residents, has joined the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities (GNLC). The Municipality is one of an increasing number of thriving learning cities in Greece.

Lesbos is a Greek island famous for its stunning scenery and rich cultural heritage. The island’s beautiful Petrified Forest, which records the geological history of the Aegean basin of the last 20 million years is UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Lesbos municipality, with its capital Mytilene, came into existence after 2010, when thirteen municipalities were combined to create the largest municipal area in Greece and is home to 86.436 inhabitants.

In recent years, the numbers of refugees trickling into the city has grown, meaning that the city has to work on new strategies that include refugees in the social welfare system, education and health. This in combination with the ongoing Greek economic crisis has prompted Lesbos to seek innovative strategies to work towards social inclusion and reduce unemployment. A central strategy to achieve this, is the building of Mytilene/ Lesbos Municipality as a learning city.

Ensuring the right to learn for all members of the society

It is of great concern for the municipality to ensure the right to learn for all members of the society. In building a learning city, Lesbos aims to launch a variety of initiatives to promote culture, science and communication. Its key goals are:

  1. to improve its educational infrastructure in order to strengthen quality of education;
  2. to host events celebrating education, culture, theatre and science;
  3. to offer learning activities like summer schools, music contests, workshops, seminars and foreign language clubs and particular activities for refugees;
  4. to link with other cities and participate in national and international activities as a means of sharing experiences

In joining the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities, Lesvos aspires to expand its learning programmes and encouraging the participation of all its stakeholders to help ensure the right to learn for all members of society. Lesvos hopes to contribute to the growing number of learning cities in Greece and to the UNESCO GNLC.