Mayors from the Republic of Korea visit UNESCO learning cities in Germany and France for strategic exchange


30 November 2022

In November 2022, mayors of seven Korean cities travelled through Germany and France for a strategic exchange with UNESCO learning cities, the Learning Planet Institute and UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. Coordinated by the Korean Association of Lifelong Learning Cities (KALLC), the Chair of the Korea Foundation for Lifelong Education Un Shil Choi and the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning, the visits to the UNESCO learning cities of Bonn, Hamburg and Évry-Courcouronnes enabled mayors to learn about the lifelong learning strategies and programmes implemented at local level, while sharing their own expertise. A partnership agreement between UIL and KALLC was signed to further strengthen collaboration between the Institute and the Republic of Korea’s learning cities.

Education for sustainable development in Hamburg

At the UNESCO learning city of Hamburg’s town hall, city representatives explained how they developed an Education for Sustainable Development Masterplan for the city, engaged with stakeholders, generated broad political support and funding, and began implementation. Engaging in the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities is key to Hamburg’s further development of lifelong learning activities.

'The Global Network of Learning Cities, coordinated by the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning here in Hamburg city, is essential for us here in Hamburg to learn from others and share our own expertise.'
Corinna Nienstedt, Head of Office, State Secretary and Plenipotentiary of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg to the Federation, the European Union, and for Foreign Affairs

International partnerships key to the success of Bonn city

In the UNESCO learning city of Bonn, Deputy Mayor Ursula Sautter and other learning city representatives shared their lifelong learning strategy and programmes and explained how international partnerships are key to the success of the city. After a visit to the town hall, the delegation was led through the city’s House of Education, including the library and adult education facilities, among other things.

Knowledge exchange at the Grand Bazar in Évry-Courcouronnes

In the French UNESCO learning city of Évry-Courcouronnes, the delegation learned about the city’s practices as a learning city, including the Grand Bazar des Savoirs (Grand Bazaar of Knowledge), where enthusiast got to present their passions to citizens. While in Évry-Courcouronnes, the Korean representatives also had the opportunity to visit the Genopole, a site dedicated to innovation in biotechnology, with a focus on genetics, where they learned about Genopole’s annual Science Festival hosted in partnership with the University of Évry.

'Lifelong learning for all is the future of our cities. I was very honored to welcome the group of mayors from seven South Korean cities that are members of the UNESCO learning cities world network, accompanied by a team from the [UNESCO] Institute for Lifelong Learning. Our meeting was full of presentations, exchanges of practices, links to build and projects to develop.'
Pascal Chatagnon, Deputy mayor, Évry-Courcouronnes

In addition to visits of UNESCO learning cities, the delegation visited the Learning Planet Institute in Paris. They were also able to visit the UNESCO Headquarters building and meet with the Ambassador, Permanent Delegate of the Republic of Korea to UNESCO

The visiting learning cities from the Republic of Korea

UNESCO learning city of Eunpyeong-gu

Eunpyeong-gu pursues a sustainable future and a people-centred community. Since being selected as a lifelong learning city by the government in 2012, the city has built a lifelong learning ecosystem for all that brings together its local ecology, history, cultural resources and educational infrastructure.

Mayor Me Kyung Kim

UNESCO learning city of Gwangmyeong

Gwangmyeong’s goal is to become ‘a happy lifelong learning city where anyone can learn anything they want, anywhere, anytime’. Each learning stakeholder may have a different vision of how to achieve this; however, together, their efforts help the city evolve into a place where lifelong learning is championed.

Mayor Seungwon Park

UNESCO learning city of Suwon  

Suwon’s nearly 600 lifelong learning centres are open to all members of the community and offer opportunities to learn and share information. They promote the concept of ‘enjoyment from learning and happiness from sharing’ and provide learning opportunities for people of every age. To foster an open learning society, Suwon offers customized learning information and continuously expands life-learning support.

Mayor Jae Joon Lee

UNESCO learning city of Gongju

The city has a focus on citizen learning about local identity, humanities, history, and art and regional studies. It seeks to use heritage sites as learning sites and focuses on craft learning. It maintains numerous district lifelong learning centers open to all citizens.  

Mayor Won Cheol Choi

Seo-gu City

Seo-gu adopts a structured approach when it comes to lifelong learning, focusing on planning and monitoring and equity and inclusion. In this regard, key projects are designed to support senior citizens and people with disabilities, promoting their social and economic integration into society.   

Mayor I Gang Kim

Anseong City

Anseong City aims to implement lifelong learning policies through government-academic cooperation, promoting diverse and systematic education using the infrastructure of universities around the city. Moreover, it carries out the Customizing Lifelong Learning Markets project, providing citizens with a space for innovation and lifelong learning in traditional markets.

Mayor Bora Kim

Anyang City

Anyang aims to build lifelong learning communities through systematic learning delivery to small towns and villages. It implements ‘Happy Learning’ and talent sharing learning activities, linking them with community activities.

Mayor Won Cheol Choi

Buan-gun City

Buan-gun promotes lifelong learning at the local level through well-established institutions: 28 Adult Literacy Education Centres, the Dream Youth School, 24 visiting service centres to teach the Korean alphabet and the Happy Learning Centre. The Senior Citizen Health Learning Centre Gymnastics, which promotes healthy leisure and the prevention of chronic diseases through movement, should also be highlighted.

Mayor Ig Hyeon Kweon

Korean Association of Lifelong Learning Cities (KALLC)

KALLC promotes the growth of lifelong learning cities by facilitating cooperation and information exchange among them. It helps enhance the capabilities of each learning city for the successful implementation of lifelong learning city projects and promotes lifelong learning so that it becomes a part of citizens’ daily lives by raising awareness on lifelong learning and helping lifelong learning culture take root not only for residents of local cities but also for citizens across the entire nation.

Chairperson, Mr Seungwon Park, Mayor of Gwangmyeong City