Espoo Learning City Festival: Strengthening collaboration in and across learning cities
Espoo, Finland, has taken the initiative in enhancing cooperation between learning cities in Europe. As part of the first-ever Espoo Learning City Festival, held from 21 to 23 September 2016, Espoo organized a conference inviting several learning cities from across Europe to join a discussion on how to strengthen cooperation. Given the similarities in cultural settings and composition, Espoo sees great potential in establishing stronger cooperation across learning cities in Europe.
Espoo has put people at the centre of its development as a learning city, working with stakeholders and citizens to co-create the ‘Espoo Story’, which is defining the future of the city. The festival provided a setting for Espoo to strengthen collaboration between stakeholders locally, while also enhancing dialogue on stronger collaboration across learning cities in Europe with other participating members of the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities, including Sonderborg (Denmark), Cork (Ireland) and Swansea (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland). As an outcome of the meeting, the Espoo Statement on Learning Cities was formulated, helping create a foundation on which to establish sub-regional partnerships across learning cites in Europe.