The Irish Network of Learning Cities is a five city joint initiative to promote learning across the cities, the city regions and the island of Ireland.
At the heart of a vision of a learning city is the commitment to using learning to improve the lives of all citizens, regardless of age or background. Learning can be used to create a more equitable and inclusive society, a more sustainable and healthy society and create inclusive opportunities for decent work and entrepreneurship.
A shared commitment to learning under-pinned by a Memorandum of Understanding
In 2019, the Lord Mayors of Cork, Dublin and Belfast and the Mayors of Limerick and Derry City and Strabane Region formally signed an agreement to commit each city to work together and provide mutual support to help deliver on the vision of a Learning City for all citizens.
The Memorandum of Understanding between Cork City, Dublin City, Limerick City and County, Belfast City and Derry City and Region highlighted “a shared dedication to strengthening friendly relations and enhancing cooperation between the peoples of the cities and city regions… to carry out Learning City exchanges focused on the principles of the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities. (See appendix 1.)
Irish Learning Cities Day 2020 and 2021
In 2020 the Network held an innovative “Irish Learning Cities Day” on September 30th, when the five learning cities and regions worked together to show how the Network benefits all cities and adds value to the efforts of individual cities. Irish Learning Cities Day will be held on September 30th.
Irish Learning Cities joint online events
One of the positive outcomes of 2020 is that now, more than ever, it’s easier to access the learning opportunities provided by other cities, and cities have actively contributed to and supported each others online events.
During the past two years INLC member cities jointly participated in:
- The world’s first Virtual Festival of Learning, hosted by Derry in July;
- Limerick online Lifelong Learning Festival in September;
- Belfast’s ‘Learn Well-Live Well’ Report on Adult Learning, Health and Well-being launched Feb. 2021
- Dublin’s virtual Learning City Festival in March 2021;
- Cork Learning City Celebrations week-long Webinar series in March 2021 when all five cities shared best practice.
International joint presentations
- The work of the INLC was jointly presented during 2020 when the Learning Festivals of all five cities formed the theme of an event during the Global Festival of Lifelong Learning co-ordinated by Wyndham, Australia.
- A UNESCO Global Webinar on Health and Well-being hosted by Cork in Dec 2020 included a presentation by Belfast Learning City among 14 Learning City best practice case studies.
Communicating the Learning City message together
As a network we want to work together to celebrate learning, highlight what’s on offer across the cities and city regions and we want to celebrate the achievements of learners. We use our social media channels, facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep up to date with what’s happening, and we are open for our citizens to join in and to share their stories and tell us about the opportunities in their area/organisation. We want to put some fun back into learning and encourage everyone to try something new!
Memorandum of Understanding
Cork City, Dublin City, Limerick City and County, Belfast City & Derry City and Region
Cork City, Dublin City, Limerick City and County, Belfast City & Derry City and Region, with a shared dedication to strengthening friendly relations and enhancing cooperation between the peoples of the cities and city regions, have agreed to carry out Learning City exchanges focused on the principles of the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities.
AREAS OF EXCHANGE
By way of this Memorandum of Understanding, the undersigned agree that it is of mutual benefit to promote collaboration between Cork, Dublin, Limerick, Belfast and Derry in the area of Lifelong Learning.
Through the cities’ and city regions’ participation in the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities and through involvement in related activities, Cork City, Dublin City, Limerick City and County, Belfast City and Derry City and Region are committed to sharing best practices on matters of lifelong and life-wide learning.
Through this Memorandum of Understanding, each of the cities /city regions commit to support The Irish Network of Learning Cities for sharing support, inspiration, know-how and good practice.
Each city /city region commits to the implementation of UNESCO Learning City policies as defined in the Beijing Declaration on Learning Cities, the Mexico Statement on Building Sustainable Learning Cities, the Key Features of Learning Cities – to effectively mobilize resources in every sector to promote:
- Inclusive learning from basic to higher education;
- Revitalize learning in families and communities;
- Facilitate learning for and in the workplace;
- Extend the use of modern learning technologies;
- Enhance quality and excellence in learning, and
- Foster a culture of learning throughout life.
And in the Cork Call to Action on Learning Cities – to implement lifelong learning strategies pertaining to the personal, social, civic, environmental and economic dimensions of the SDGs that promote:
- Equitable and inclusive learning and living environments;
- Green and Healthy learning and living environments;
- Opportunities for decent work and entrepreneurship.
In identifying and carrying out exchanges in these areas, the cities and city/regions aim to enhance:
- Individual empowerment;
- Social inclusion;
- Economic and cultural prosperity;
- Health and wellbeing, and;
- Sustainable development;
- with an approach based upon using learning as a tool to tackle inequalities and to strengthen communities as the active foundation of a learning society.
Done in multiple on this day, 25th Oct. 2019, each text being equally authentic.