GNLC Webinars: UNESCO learning cities' response to COVID-19


Many of the 174 UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities (GNLC) members around the world face severe challenges due to the coronavirus (COVID-19). These challenges include a record number of children and youth who are not in school or university because of temporary or indefinite closures mandated by governments in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus. 

In order to exchange solutions, discuss contingency plans and share distance-learning approaches, members of the UNESCO GNLC convened webinars organized by the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL). Non-member cities were also invited to join the online events, share their experiences and learn from other cities.

Presentations, recordings and summaries of webinars

10 June 2020
Topic: Human & civil rights protection
Region: World
Time: 13:00-14:00h CET
Webinar recording


Ioannina, Greece
Ms Dionysia Ampatzidi, Advisor to the Mayor of Ioannina on social and migration policy

Organization of Ibero-American States (OEI) – Bogotá, Colombia
Mr Carlos Hernando, coordinator, Human Rights Institute

10 June 2020
Topic: General response to COVID-19
Region: Arab countries
Time: 11:00-12:00h CET
Webinar recording

Overview on the education and learning response in the United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Mr Jamal BIN HUWAIREB, Chief Executive Officer Mohamed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Governing Board Member of the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning

UNESCO learning city of Aswan, Egypt
Ms Ghada ABOU Zeid, Deputy Mayor of Aswan, Ms Mervat AL SAMMAN, Focal point Aswan Learning City

Jubail, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia- Candidate of the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities
Mr Anwer Al Zahrani, Managing Director English Language and preparatory Year Institute, Jubail Industrial City

3 June 2020
Topic: Culture and education in cities during the COVID-19
Region: World
Time: 13.00-14.00h CET
Webinar recording

Puebla, Mexico
Mr Luis González-Arenal,  Commission for Innovation and Design, Puebla, Mexico

UNESCO learning city of Wyndham, Australia
Ms Diane Tabbagh

UNESCO learning city of Pécs, Hungary
Dr. Balázs Németh, Associate Professor of Adult and Lifelong Learning
University of Pécs, Hungary, Global Learning City Programme of Pécs

27 May 2020
Topic: Economic and social and education recovery
Region: World
Time: 13:00-14:30h CET

Webinar recording

C40 Cities
Ms Caterina Sarfatti, Programme Manager, The Global Mayors COVID-19 Recovery Task Force

University of Florence, Florence, Italy
Mr Paolo Federighi, professor for adult learning and education

Tataj Innovation
Ms Daria Tataj, Founder and CEO Tataj Innovation

City of Milan, Italy
Mr Piero Pelizzaro, chief resilience officer

City of Goyang, Republic of Korea
Mr Kim HoSeok, Chief of Lifelong Learning Centre team, lifelong education department

20 May 2020
Topic: New ways of governance, partnership and education
Region: World
Time: 13:00-14:15h CET
Webinar recording

Opening address
Julie Reddy, Deputy CEO, South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA)

United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG)
Sara Hoeflich de Duque, Director of UCLG Learning

UNESCO learning city of Seodaemun-gu, Republic of Korea
Mun Seok Jin, Mayor of Seodaemun-gu

13 May 2020
Topic: Prison population: Challenges and measures taken in the pandemic time
Region: World
Time: 13:00-14:00h CET
Webinar recording

Justice Defenders
Matteo Cassini, Community Development Manager

Paal Christopher Breivik, Senior Advisor, County Governor of Vestland, Department of Education and Guardianship

The role of libraries in prison
Lisa Krolak, Chief Librarian,  UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning

6 May 2020
Topic: Distance education
Region: World
Concept note and agenda
Webinar recording

Open and online learning for marginalized youth and adults in Thailand
Ms Kamolrat Intaratat, Director & Founder, CCDKM, Thailand

UNESCO learning city of Limerick, Ireland
Ms. Eimear Brophy, Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board, Chairperson of the Learning Limerick Steering Group

29 April 2020
Topic: Mental health, health, and well-being
Region: World
Webinar recording

Cities and COVID-19: mental health and well-being at the heart of healthy cities
Monika Kosinska, Regional Focal Point, WHO European Healthy Cities Network

UNESCO learning city of Swansea, United Kingdom
Julia Pridmore, Director Health & Wellbeing, Academy College of Human & Health Science, Swansea University

UNESCO learning city of Manizales, Colombia
Mr Camilo Younes Velosa, Vice Rector, University of Manizales, Colombia

23 April 2020
Topic: Francophone countries General response to COVID- 19
Region: Francophone countries
Time: 14:00-15:00h CET
Webinar recording

UNESCO learning city of Evry-Courcouronnes
Ms Danielle Valero, Deputy Mayor

City of Chefchaouen - candidate for the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities
Mr Mohamed Sefiani, President of the Municipality

22 April 2020
Topic: Migrants and refugees: Measures taken in the pandemic time
Region: World
Time: 13:00-14:00h CET

Webinar recording

Inclusive Cities. Education COVID Responses
Ms Jacqueline Strecker, Connected Education Lead, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

Baalbeck stands up to COVID-19
Ms Abir Jbeily, International Affairs Consultant, UNESCO learning city of Baelbeck, Lebanon

Measures developed by cities for migrants andrefugees during the COVID-19. The case of Larissa.
Mr Dimitris Deligiannis, Chairman of Larissa City Council, UNESCO learning city of Larissa, Greece

Response of Medellin in relation to the population of migrants and COVID-19
Ms Luz Ángeles Álvarez Henao, Programme Leader, Special Social Programmes Unit, Ministry of Social Inclusion, Family and Human Rights, UNESCO learning city of Medellin, Colombia

15 April 2020
Topic: Higher education, role of institutions in the response to COVID-19
Region: World
Time: 13:00-14:00h CET
Webinar recording

Responses of Higher Education Institutionsin face of COVID-19
Mr Francesc Pedró, Director, UNESCO International Institute for Higher Education in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNESCO-IESALC)

The American University in Cairo: Supporting local communities and promoting lifelong learning during COVID-19
Ms Malak Zaalouk, Professor of Practice, Director of the Graduate School of Education, Middle East Institute of Higher Education, The American University in Cairo, Egypt

Bahir Dar University: Supporting local communities during COVID-19 in the context of a learning city
Mr Abiy Menkir Gizaw, Lecturer and Community Service Director, Department of Adult Education and Community Development, Bahir Dar University, Ethiopia

University of Glasgow: Supporting local communities during COVID-19 in the contextof a learning city
Mr Mike Osborne, Professor of Adult and Lifelong Learning and Director of Research, School of Education, University of Glasgow, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile: Supporting local communities and promoting lifelong learning during COVID-19
Mr Patricio Donoso, Provost for Managerial Institutional Affairs, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Chile

9 April 2020
Topic: General response to COVID- 19
Region: Latin America / Caribbean
Time: 16:00-17:30h CET
Webinar recording

Presentation "Ciudades del Apprendizaje"
Secretaría de Educación, Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación de la Ciudad México

Presentation "Medidas implementadas por la ciudad de Bogotá para mitigar los efectos causados por el COVID-19"
Laura Querubín, Asesora, Dirección Distrital de Relaciones InternacionalesAlcaldía Mayor de Bogotá

Renata Teodor, Municipale de Lima

8 April 2020
Topic: Family, community support, intergenerational learning and the parental role
Region: World
Time: 13:00-14:00h CET
Webinar recording

Presentation "Gdynia, a learning city ... at home"
Ms Katarzyna Ziemann, Deputy director of the Social Innovation Laboratory, Poland

Presentation "Cork during COVID-19"
Ms Deirdre Creedon, Access Officer, Cork Institute of Technology, Ireleand

1 April 2020
Topic: "Equity and inclusion"
Region: world
Webinar recording

Presentation "Equity in distance learning and inclusion measures"
Deputy Mayor Mayor Harri Rinta, UNESCO learning city of Espoo, Finland

Presentation "The Practices of the UNESCO learning city of Chengdu"
Yan Wang, Chengdu Research Institute of Education Science, China

24 March 2020


Opening address
Mr Henrique Lopes PhD, Healthcare Sciences Institute, Universidade Católica Portuguesa 

Osan, Republic of Korea
Mr Kwak Sang Wook, Mayor

UNESCO learning city of Turin, Italy
Mrs Isabella Calvagna, Education Department for the city of Torino

19 March 2020


UNESCO learning cities of Wuhan and Beijing
Mr Ronghuai Huang, Co-Dean, Smart Learning Institute of Beijing Normal University, China

UNESCO learning city of Shanghai, China
Mr Jiacheng Li, Director, Shanghai Municipal Institute of Lifelong Education, East China Normal University

UNESCO learning city of Fermo, Italy
Professor Carlo Nofri, Coordinator of the Scientific Board City of Fermo

UNESCO learning city of Kashan, Iran
Ms Ferestheh Nouri, Municipality of Kashan, Department of International Affairs


Webinar series “Learning Cities’ COVID-19 recovery: from research to practice” – June to December 2020