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Saudi city of Jubail to host UNESCO’s 6th International Conference on Learning Cities

RIYADH: Jubail in Saudi Arabia, a member of UNESCO’s Global Network of Learning Cities, will host the sixth International Conference on Learning Cities between Dec. 3 and 5.

“UNESCO learning cities are uniquely positioned to instill climate consciousness and equip local residents with the green skills essential for a sustainable society,” Isabell Kempf, the director of the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning said during the announcement on Thursday.

“The sixth International Conference on Learning Cities in Jubail will pave the way for impactful climate action.”

The international event will be hosted by Jubail Industrial City at the offices of the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu. It comes as the commission, which was founded in 1975, prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary. King Salman will serve as patron of the event, in keeping with his views on the importance of international cooperation in efforts to confront global challenges and achieve sustainable development through education, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

“Hosting this international conference confirms the pioneering role of Jubail Industrial City as a role model in the field of education for sustainable development,” the SPA added.

“Hosting the conference also represents an important opportunity to exchange experiences and ideas with cities around the world, and develop joint action plans to enhance the role of learning cities in facing global challenges, especially climate change.”

The Global Network of Learning Cities said Jubail was chosen to host the conference in recognition of its commitment to the event, the initiatives it has developed to enhance lifelong learning opportunities for all, and its active participation in the network since joining in 2020.

Jubail Industrial City received the UNESCO Learning Cities Award in 2021 for its efforts to enhance sustainable development, boost entrepreneurship and improve skills, in keeping with the spirit of the network.

The theme of the conference will be “Learning Cities at the Forefront of Climate Action,” which officials said is in line with the aims of the Saudi and Middle East Green Initiatives launched in 2021 by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, chairman of the Supreme Committee for Green Saudi Arabia.

“The UNESCO Learning City pointed to national programs launched as part of the Saudi Vision 2030, such as the Human Capability Development Program, aimed at building a national strategy for the development of citizens’ capabilities,” the Institute for Lifelong Learning said.

“Adopting a lifelong-learning perspective and involving the participation of government agencies, the private sector and the non-profit sector, this strategy stretches from early childhood through to general education, university education, technical and vocational training, and continuous training.”

The conference in December will offer an opportunity for municipal officials, those with an interest in the field of learning and education, and representatives of the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities to come together to exchange information, ideas, solutions and best practices related to the promotion of lifelong learning.

The network, which includes 356 cities in 79 countries, says it aims to encourage learning within families and communities, and facilitate learning in the workplace, through the use of modern technologies, the promotion of quality and excellence in learning, and by fostering a culture of lifelong learning among member cities to help promote individual empowerment, social inclusion, economic development, cultural prosperity and sustainable development.

“During ICLC 6, participants, including policymakers, learning city mayors, lifelong learning and sustainability experts, private-sector representatives, nongovernmental organizations, civil society, researchers, educators and United Nations entities, will work together to identify and strengthen lifelong learning policies for climate action, resilience and the establishment of sustainable cities,” the Institute for Lifelong Learning said.

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