This year’s International Conference on Learning Cities (ICLC) will take place from 1 to 3 October in Medellín, Colombia, where government officials, city representatives and education experts from around the world will meet to identify, exchange and discuss effective lifelong learning policies and practices that lead to inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable cities. The theme of the 2019 conference is 'Inclusion: A principle for lifelong learning and sustainable cities'.
Learning cities offer people of all ages and from all educational backgrounds an opportunity to develop their skills, knowledge and ideas using formal, non-formal and informal delivery mechanisms, and multiple and flexible learning pathways, entry points and re-entry points. They play a significant role in promoting social inclusion, economic growth, public safety and environmental protection. Additionally, they revitalize learning in families, communities and the workplace.
Thus, learning cities are guided by the principle of inclusion: local governments have the power to engage diverse communities and social actors in the development of policies and strategies that lead to lifelong opportunities for everyone. The 2017 ICLC in Cork, Ireland, closed with the adoption of Learning cities and the SDGs: A guide to action, which presented concrete approaches to the development of green and healthy learning cities, equitable and inclusive learning cities, and decent work and entrepreneurship in learning cities, topics that are integral to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. This year’s conference will look at inclusion and its importance for lifelong learning and sustainability.
This year’s host city, Medellín, boasts attractive landscapes, pleasant temperatures and a commitment to education and lifelong learning with initiatives such as the ‘El Buen Comienzo Programa’ and school graffiti. The event promises to set another milestone in ensuring lifelong learning for all and promoting the UN Sustainable Development Goals at local level.